Sweat is an inevitable consequence of being active. As an athlete, you rely on your body to sweat in order to cool you down. Unfortunately, all of that sweat can sometimes lead to clogged pores and acne, especially on your back. If you are tired of dealing with back breakouts, here are five tips to help treat and get rid of your acne.
Choose lightweight, breathable clothing.
First, consider the clothing you are wearing when you work out or are active. If you are wearing cotton or another heavy material, your shirt is probably trapping moisture against your back, which encourages breakouts. Look instead for clothing made from lightweight, breathable material. This way, your body will dry off faster, so you won't have to worry as much about the resulting breakouts.
Clothing made from bamboo is an exceptional choice for athletes prone to back breakouts. Not only is it lightweight and breathable, but it also has natural antibacterial properties. Since acne is caused, at least in part, by bacterial growth, switching to bamboo workout attire, like Free Fly clothing, can help ease breakouts.
Wash your clothing in hot water.
Make sure you only wear your workout attire once. This will keep your skin cleaner. After every use, wash your workout clothing in hot water and with plenty of soap. This will get rid of any bacteria on the clothes so you don't recontaminate your skin the next time you wear it. If your clothing gets particularly smelly, you may want to look for a laundry detergent made specifically for athletes. Typically, these formulas do a better job of killing acne-causing bacteria.
Shower as soon as possible.
You don't want to spend hours hanging out in the locker room in your wet attire post-workout. The longer you stay in your wet clothing, the greater your risk of breakouts. Make showering your first priority after you're active. This may mean you need to shower at the gym or in the locker room rather than waiting until you get home. When you do shower, really focus on washing your back. You can use an acne-fighting wash with salicylic acid as an active ingredient for even more relief.
Don't touch your back.
When your back starts breaking out, you may unconsciously start touching and feeling your back. However, your hands are riddled with bacteria, especially if you have recently touched gym equipment or a door handle. When you touch your back, you introduce more of these bacteria to your acne lesions, which may make them worse or lead to additional breakouts. Replace your habit of touching your back with another habit, like pinching yourself or chewing a piece of gum.
Put a towel down on weight equipment.
If you use weight equipment at the gym, consider putting a towel down on any machine that you lay on or lean against with your back. This provides an extra layer of protection between your skin and the machine, which may be covered in bacteria that could cause acne. Never workout without a shirt. Not only does this increase your risk of breakouts, but it can also leave bacteria behind on the equipment, leading other gym patrons to have trouble with breakouts. Disinfect your hands after using gym equipment and before touching your body. (Hand sanitizer works fine.)
If you follow the tips above, you should notice a reduction in your back acne. Keep in mind that the change won't happen overnight. You may have to be patient for a few weeks. If you continue to struggle with back acne as an athlete, reach out to a doctor.