I still remember the first time I became self-conscious about my back.
I'm not the type who'll head to the beach in a bikini but some part of me still dreamed of having a strapless dress on my wedding day.
Yes, that's me 10 years ago.
What I didn't realize is that it'll show off quite a bit of my back, which was horrifyingly full of acne years ago. In fact, it was then I started exploring salons to treat my back acne problems and stumbled upon salons that didn't successfully treat my back but instead tried to hardsell a package to me halfway through. >> yes, that was a trigger for me starting Beauty Undercover.
Long history aside, back acne has always been on my mind. In my wardrobe, you'll find some LBD (little black dress) I couldn't resist buying but you won't see me wear because.. my back is just CMI.
Back pimples, like the rest of back acne, are formed when excess sebum and dead skin cells build up and block skin pores and bacteria. This causes the hair follicle to swell, creating a whitehead. When the clogged pores get exposed to hair, blackheads and acne then result.
People can get pimples all over the face and body but pimples at the back can be among the hardest to treat... simply because it is just so hard to reach. That is the reason why back acne can sometimes grow to ginormous sizes.
According to research online, the causes of back acne are pretty much the same as normal acne
Interestingly, both my back and my facial acne actually got better after getting pregnant and giving birth. I can't guarantee that that's the case for everyone but I'm not complaining. Still, there are some residual acne that made it difficult to be confident about wearing bare-backed outfits. So yes, you'll always catch me wearing one with a cardigan of some sort.
I had almost given up dreaming about having a clear, smooth back when a recent conversation with Acne specialist, Apple reignited this desire.
Actually, removing back acne is not impossible.All you have to do is to be more conscious of what you do and maybe change the way you do a few things and it can go away~ Apple, Apple Queen Beauty
She shared the following tips with me:
Shampoo and conditioners often leave an oily residue, so try to minimize contact with the conditioner as far as possible by rinsing your hair forward.
You may also consider swapping out your conditioner for something that is not as oily to minimize your back acne outbreaks.
Certain types of clothing can trigger a breakout — and your workout clothes (plus the act of exercising) is a particularly perfect recipe. That's because tight clothing can push oils or bacteria deeper into pores, and the friction from tight-fitting workout clothes like sports bras or leggings can further irritate hair follicles and cause red bumps.
If you can, reach for breathable materials like cotton with moisture wicking properties! These apparel are made of material that is able to quickly transfer sweat to the fabric's top layer and drying it out quickly so that it doesn't soak through the fabric. For Nike, they call it dry-fit and for Adidas, Aeroready.
We know how some people would recommend you to wait a while and cool down before showering but running around in sports bra or gym shirts is a recipe for acne as it creates the perfect reservoir for bacteria to thrive.
If you can't shower immediately, at least dry yourself to minimize bacteria growth.
Like facial acne, some body acne occurs because they are irritated by body cleansers which are too harsh. It may be tempting to choose a body cleanser that dries your skin and giving you a clean feeling but change it up for something more gentle and you may be surprised by how much less acne there is.
This particular one has gotten loads of good reviews particularly on Amazon for treating Keratosis Pilaris and back acne.
This may seem like a no brainer, but there are some of us who don't exfoliate our back. It's pretty common since it is not easy to reach or see despite it being one of our most acne-prone areas. Hence, it is a good idea to give it a good scrubbing to keep the follicles clean and unclogged.
Make sure you don't use body scrubs that contain too much oil. Instead of unclogging your pores, the oils can cause even more acne, so choose your products wisely.
Being more conscious about your back and doing the above will definitely help you see a clearer back. Do however be patient as your skin takes some time to clarify the acne on your own. If there is an important day coming up, you can consider speeding up the process by seeing a beauty professional like Apple; she will extract the blackheads and whiteheads so that your body can resume the journey towards a clearer, healthier back at a faster speed.
How does it actually work though? Agent G investigates by going down for a back facial of her own.
There are a number of salons that offer back facials but my first negative experience at a salon F****** years ago taught me that I really have to select the right one. On top of hardselling me nonstop while half-naked, my back actually became worse after that first back facial.
That was why the first thing I did before going to any salon is to read reviews. Student ZP as well as the testimonials of so many customers at Apple Queen Beauty showed me that Apple appears to be one of the best facial therapist for acne in Singapore thus far... so guess where I went?
Apple Queen Beauty of course! Yes, her extractions are painful but from what the many testimonials I see, they WORK.
But how many times does it take for me to see results?
My budget is not high and TBH, I don't know if I can find the time to consistently come every month. Apple, is it possible for me to see results in just like 2-3 sessions? ~ Agent G
Understanding that I have many things going on right now, Apple knew that I don't have much time to commit to another lengthy treatment course. Still, she was able to say this with confidence.
我不能保证全部的痘痘不会再生长,可是你一定能看到效果.I may not be able to make sure that new acne won't grow out again - that requires consistent maintenance, but I'm sure you'll definitely see a difference.~ Apple
She then proceeded to outline what she was going to do for me in these 3 sessions based on what she could see from my back. Knowing that she is someone I could trust, I embarked on this journey with her.
Very much like a normal facial, the back facial started with double cleansing. She used the cactus and apple stem cell cleansing foam to gently remove dirt and impurities without stripping my back of moisture.
The difference is that it is now on my back so I had to lie down throughout the process.
Changing into this sarong also gave her easier access to the back. After cleansing, Apple proceeded to wipe my back clean and dived straight into the highlight of every facial: extractions.
First, Apple turned on a special light to check where the whiteheads and blackheads are hiding.
She then scanned the entire back systematically and remove the whiteheads / blackheads whenever she sees them. As you can see the whiteheads and blackheads were residing deep beneath the skin, so she had to exert quite a bit of pressure to remove them.
When the occasional "ripe" pimple appears, Apple will disinfect the area with alcohol wipes and squeeze it with the wipes in her hand.
So satisfying just to see her popping this pimple!
Putting this on repeat!!
Maybe because my back hasn't gone through a facial in YEARS, there were quite a lot of clogs to be cleared. The whiteheads and blackheads was also very deep beneath the skin, so the extraction was honestly, pretty painful.
I couldn't help but let out an OW quite a few times.
Still, seeing my back cleared of all these clogs made the pain all worth it!
Call me weird but i find it fascinating to see that the clogs on the back was different from the clogs on my face. When the clogs were removed, they often came out with hair follicles!
After the extraction, Apple wiped my back with alcohol wipes again to disinfect the back before applying a series of concoction to calm the back.
This includes a hydrating serum mask. As the pores are open right after the extraction, my skin absorbed it really quickly.
Next, she applied a purifying serum that helps to kill bacteria and stops it from spreading.
Apple then followed up by applying a Tea Tree mask, mixed with her signature Oat Mask. Ingredients within the tea tree mask would kill residual bacteria on the skin and also makes the sweat glands less active over time. Less sweat, less oil, less clogs!
The oats, on the other hand, helps to remove moisture from the body to help reduce water retention all at the same time.
I loved this part the most, not just because it is so relaxing but also because of the aroma of the oats that fill the room.
I'm a big fan of oats and it just feels so good knowing that the oats are helping to calm down the skin and eliminate toxins in the body.
To let the body heat enhance penetration of the nutrients into the skin, Apple proceeded to put a cling wrap over the mask.
She then used the high frequency stick to run it over the mask. This helps to once again kill any bacteria on the skin.
After she was done, the mask was left for yet another 10 minutes before it was removed.
Just before I left though, she applied rosewater to calm the skin further.
Here's how my back looked immediately. It looks bad now but I assure you that the inflammation stopped really quickly in less than a day.
It may look jialat now but look at how my back looked like in subsequent visits:
It looked reddish immediately after extractions but look!
My back looked really clear once the mask was removed.
I also found extractions to be MUCH LESS PAINFUL the second time compared to the first.
Possibly because most of the deep whiteheads / blackheads were removed the first time?
In just 2+ months, I'm back for my 3rd and final back facial with Apple.
Compared with what I had the first time around, my back is much much clearer than before.
My back is still plagued with uneven skin tone there but... that's another problem for another day.
The back facial process on the other hand remained the same as it started with cleansing, followed by extractions.
Extractions on my 3rd visit, if you notice, was much easier and faster than my first.
There were also much fewer blackheads and whiteheads to be removed.
As you can imagine, this means no pain and barely any redness.
Seeing that my skin is less sensitive than before though some pimples remain, Apple added Bergamot oil into the mix.
Apparently, bergamot oil contains several antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it an effective spot treatment for acne in people who do not have sensitive skin.
She left it on for 15 minutes for absorption...
And ta dah!
It is not flawless for sure but I can definitely tell you that it is clearer than before. My back also felt a lot smoother with the blackheads and whiteheads removed and my skin rehydrated and revitalized.
Thank you Apple for making me more confident about my back. While I'm still not going to the beach anytime soon, I'm happy that I can now wear spaghetti tops or clothes with a low back without worrying too much. I'll also try to remember the tips she shared earlier e.g. rinsing hair forward, not backward, showering immediately after and even changing my workout clothes.
Most importantly, I know who to go to next time I have a back issue.
For those who're keen to solve their back problem, Apple Queen Beauty is having the following promotion for back acne treatment.
54% off Back Acne Treatment NOW $169 (UP: $369)
Check out reviews on Apple Queen Beauty to find out more.