Baby’s Got Bac(ne): Stop Pesky Spots From Shagging Up Your Social Life

Calm down, there's no need to root out the muu muu: we'll have you back in strappy tops in no time.

Girl with her back facing

Picture the scene: you’ve got a brand new, slashed-to-the-ass and open-to-the-elements top that’s super-sassy, and you’re gonna own that scrap of material like there’s no tomorrow. You’ve got tit tape, attitude and you’re damn well gonna use ’em. Until, that is, you try it on, do the 360 mirror twirl and realise, much to your horror, that your back is in serious need of some urgent TLC.

Cos you’ve got bacne. But, um, what is it? Put simply, you’ve got a blemishy back, and you need to sort those spots, STAT. “It’s caused by an over-production of oil and skin cells and delayed shedding,” says Aisling Cleary, Registered General Nurse at River Medical. And why God, why does it happen so frequently on our backs?

River Medical’s resident derm, Dr Gursharan Bedi, has the science bit. “Acne occurs when glands in the vicinity of hair become overactive. These glands produce sebum; someone with acne produces too much sebum, which forms a plug with dead skin cells and blocks the follicle. The face, upper back and chest house the maximum number of hair units, which explains why acne tends to occur in these regions.”

Aha, so now we know that – and Aisling points out that anyone can get acne – how can we sort our bacne issues? “A good skincare regime’s a must, as is a healthy diet and reduction in stress levels,” she says. Other things that can lead to a spotty back are not washing conditioner out of your hair properly, (or overloading on styling products), using fake tan, and just plain not giving your back a good enough scrubbing on the reg.

It’s a hard auld area to reach, we know. So investing in a long-handled back brush should be your first port of call. We like The Body Shop’s Bath Brush, €14.95, which has super-soft bristles that’ll clear blockages without the ouchies. Use alongside Avene’s Cleanance K, €15.99, an exfoliating cleanser that contains blemish-busting glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids, and which’ll bust out gunk faster than you can say, “pop that spot!”

Want to do more? If you can rope in help from a willing boyfriend, flatmate or sister, then a Clarisonic Aria, €199, is an ideal zit-zapper, as are Waxpert’s brilliant Ingrown Hair Pads, €7.95. Designed for reducing the redness from waxing, they’re just as good at bringing down sore spots, thanks to the inclusion of blemish-banishing salicylic acid. Put your back into a skin-clearing routine, and you’ll have show-off worthy skin in no time. Promise.