An Embarrassing Question

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Good evening! I’ve had a wild and crazy day, but it’s been a GOOD day and that’s all I can ask for.

 

Maggie hung out with me all day.  One of the best things about working from home is hanging out with my little margarine stick.

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I felt like a BOTTOMLESS PIT today.  I just couldn’t get full!  I had fruit:

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But that didn’t work.  So I tried crackers + hummus:

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But that didn’t work either!

 

Finally I just bit the bullet and ate a really yummy, crunchy, calorie-dense, and filling bowl of granola.  Nom nom nom!

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I don’t really count calories anyone (only on long-run days), but what’s really interesting to me is how much my daily calories needs fluctuate.  This is why I was always miserable when I tried to stick to 1,800.  Sometimes I just need 2,500!  This is why I think chick magazines that recommend 1,400 calorie a day diets are kind of ridiculous.  I am a short and small-framed woman and I would seriously pass out if I ate 1,400 calories in a day. I just feel like a "diet recommendation" like that is setting women up for failure, hunger, and grumpiness.   Rant over.  šŸ™‚

 

I was feeling all sorts of frazzled tonight so I posted myself an Operation Beautiful note on my car visor.  šŸ™‚

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(I meant that I already have all the skills I need to succeed; not talking about materials!)

 

Dinner was simple, but really good!

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Just a grilled cheese and a side salad.

 

An Embarrassing Question

 

Alright, I have a very embarrassing question, but I cannot find a solution, and I know that if I cannot figure something out, my friends in blogland can! 

 

Since I started overworking myself like a horse, I have developed really, really back back acne.  I know… totally gross.  But it’s REALLY BAD.  We’re not talking about a few pimps; it looks like someone slapped at pepperoni pizza on my shoulders (did you lose your dinner yet?). 

 

Totally painful, really unattractive, and super, super embarrassing.  My neighbor saw it and actually SCREAMED because she thought I was having an allergic reaction to something (I’m not; it’s really acne).  I’ve tried my face acne wash (St. Ives) but it’s not really working.  I’ve also tried witch hazel. 

 

Does anyone have any NATURAL solutions to back acne?  I don’t want to slather a bunch of chemicals on my back!

{ 97 comments }

 

  • Stephanie July 28, 2009, 6:43 pm

    Random comment– I just flipped on the TV and "More to Love" was on. I have only watched 5 minutes, but my first thought– it is SO WRONG to list their heights and weights. That immediately degrades the whole thing. On the Bachelor they don't list "5' 9" and 110 lbs"… Ugh.

  • stacey July 28, 2009, 6:47 pm

    I don't have any suggestions, but I will be checking back to see what people say. I have been having the same problem lately! So at least you know that you are not alone:) Not the best look with tank tops!

  • Deva July 28, 2009, 6:48 pm

    I have a similar problem with back acne, what works for me is all-cotton tops as often as possible, changing immediately after workouts, clipping my hair up after I rinse it in the shower and washing my back last in the shower. I've had success in the past with tea tree oil facial cleansers, as well as neutrogena acne-free body wash.

  • Megan July 28, 2009, 6:48 pm

    Yeah, I was having a similar back-ne problem and I used the Burt Bee's grapefruit body wash on it, followed by witch hazel and then cetaphil and it worked great. The cetaphil isn't exactly natural, but I bet any really gentle lotion would work.

    Hope this helps!

  • jenny July 28, 2009, 6:52 pm
  • Sally July 28, 2009, 6:52 pm

    Caitlin

    This may not fit in with your request for 'natural' solutions, but when I started running I encountered a similar problem. My mom said that I should use dish soap (like Palmolive, etc.) just on my back in the shower. It 'cuts grease' and is actually quite helpful. I know it sounds crazy but its cheap and it works!

    Hope it helps
    Sally

  • Stacey July 28, 2009, 6:58 pm

    I've heard that tea tree oil is really good. My boyfriend used to have back acne and he used to use an abrasive-ish back scrubber (like that back scratcher looking thing) in the shower, which he said helped a little.

  • L. Simone July 28, 2009, 6:59 pm

    I used to have horrible backne and I am happy to say its all gone! What worked for me is using the whole foods body wash in citrus graprefruit. It is very cheap (like $3 per bottle), and smells AMAZING as well as it leaves your back feeling dry (not dried out though) and really helps with the backne situation. Also, make sure you scrub your back really well in the shower AFTER you use your conditioner. Oh, and when my hair is drying, I tend to leave it up in a towel cuz if I let it dry down the hair product gets back on my skin and then come the pimples. Hope that helps!

  • vegetarianontherun July 28, 2009, 7:00 pm

    Aw I am sorry about the bacne–I bet it is painful!! I wish I had some solutions for you! Do the hubby's parents have any solutions?

  • Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork July 28, 2009, 7:00 pm

    Try washing with raw honey? It helps my face, but don't know if it will be strong enough for ya.

  • Rose July 28, 2009, 7:02 pm

    Have you tried products from the Body Shop? They saved my skin. Seriously.

  • whitsgettingfit July 28, 2009, 7:03 pm

    Ugh, bacne sucks! I know some estheticians do 'bacials' or back facials. When I was experiencing teem acne facials were all that would help…although I know you are trying to stick to a budget and all, so maybe not the most wallet friendly option, sorry.

  • Still Life in South America July 28, 2009, 7:04 pm

    I think we're on the same wavelength, Caitlin. I just recently started developing back-ne. I was hoping that it was only because Aunt Flo is coming to visit, but I have a feeling that my workout clothes aren't breathing.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone! Hope your condition improves, C. Maybe your hubby could apply witch hazel to your back before bed?

  • Anna July 28, 2009, 7:13 pm

    AGH I know what you mean about those damn girlie mags telling everyone to eat 1200-1500 calories per day. Riiiiiight. Maybe if you were 100% sedentary, but even then, you'd be hungry.

    Bacne BLOWS, I feel your pain. Do you hang around for awhile in your sweaty workout clothes? Cause that's always what makes mine flare up.

  • Brooke July 28, 2009, 7:13 pm

    Homegirl..skin problems have been the story of my life! I've been taking an anti-biotic called minocycline for years now and it has SERIOUSLY controlled my skin and bacne. i know you don't wanna just start taking antibiotics though but I am a stressball and it really has helped! I also use like Clearasil pads and swipe off all the excess oil and it feels amazing and clears it up!

  • lilveggiepatch July 28, 2009, 7:14 pm

    This isn't a "natural" solution, but (and I think I've mentioned this to you before) Neutrogena's Rapid Clear acne pads (it comes in a little round tub) work on both face AND back, and clear up both.

    In the natural department, Burt's Bees blemish stick works well, too (but stings).

  • Stephanie July 28, 2009, 7:16 pm

    I used to have really bad back acne from long runs and I use this to clear it up. I'm not sure if you would like it; it might not be as natural as you want it but I thought I'd try anyway. It works really well!

    http://www.clinique.com/product/CATEGORY21362/PROD11814/Skin_Care/CleansersMakeup_Removers/index.tmpl

  • Meg C. July 28, 2009, 7:16 pm

    ahahah i'm sorry but describing your back-ne as a pepporoni pizza is hilarious! love your humor.

    hmm i don't have any specific recommendations but i know there are certain body washes you can get just for that sort of thing.

    wearing loose fitting, light clothing probably will help, too.

  • emily July 28, 2009, 7:18 pm

    One thing I've read several places in vinegar. Soak a cotton ball in vinegar and give yourself a few swipes before the shower.

    I feel your pain, I don't have body acne but my face has been breaking out like crazy and it makes me really sad šŸ™

  • roseyrebecca July 28, 2009, 7:18 pm

    I totally agree with you about the calorie thing! Some days I feel like I can eat everything in my apartment and other days I'm not hungry at all!! I think the key thing is to listen to your body, not what magazines are telling you!!

    I used to have back acne in my teens, but it's cleared up. I also used to work in Bath and Body Works and Sephora. Depending on your skin type, you need some sort of body wash and a scrub (to use 2-3 times a week). Using your face wash won't work on the skin on your back because it's completely different.

  • Christa July 28, 2009, 7:26 pm

    Must be some sort of Mom-wisdom, because mine suggested the same thing as Sally's – dish soap. And it worked. Also, washing after conditioner, changing clothes after a workout, and putting your hair up. Hope it clears up soon – bacne is the worst!

    (LOL. My first comment on your blog and it's about bacne!)

  • Allie July 28, 2009, 7:27 pm

    i third or fourth on the tea tree oil. i use a cleanser from trader joes (with tea tree oil) for my face and my skin is really great.

    i also agree that changing out of sweaty clothes asap after working out is really important.

  • Meghan July 28, 2009, 7:27 pm

    My best friend actually called me tonight with a product RAVE that might work for you. It is listed as a facial cleanser but she said she has also been using it on her backne šŸ˜‰ with great results.
    http://www.lushusa.com/shop/products/visage/nettoyants/lor-noir

    Good luck!

  • Kori@all things B. July 28, 2009, 7:31 pm

    Caitlin- check out the book The Skin Type Solution. It changed my skin! I had terrible painful breakouts on my chin and realized that most of the acne products I was using were actually causing the problem. Some tips that I can highlight- keep your sheets clean- the oils and bacteria can contribute to the issue, obviously don't hang out in sweaty clothes and don't over dry your skin. Drying out the surface layers actually causes your skin to overreact and produce more oil to get it back to a healthy balance. Acne is a form of inflammation, so treat it with gentle products that keep skin clean, but aren't harsh. Try the cetaphil normal to oily type wash and use coolish water to rinse when possible. I use to use 100 different products and now I use 3 (none for acne) and have no problems. Check out the book- its a lifesaver!

  • ash July 28, 2009, 7:31 pm

    awwwwwwww honey its most likly stress related, i think you should try to make time even just a few minuets a day to just breath and calm dow šŸ˜€ hope it goes away,

  • *One Step at a Time* July 28, 2009, 7:37 pm

    Let us know what works for you!! I would LOVE a solution to acne and have also tried everything in the book!

  • Emily July 28, 2009, 7:39 pm

    I hear you on the 1,800 calories…it doesn't "sound" too bad, but it never seems like enough to me either!!

    And as Stephanie said – I thought the same thing about posting the weights on the More to Love show…totally not necessary.

  • Mica July 28, 2009, 7:52 pm

    Sorry, I don't have any helpful tips for back acne. I wish I had some magic natural cure… :-/

    Maggie is adorable! What a great co-worker!

  • Nutritious is Delicious July 28, 2009, 7:55 pm

    Ohhh girl! I am your source of info because I have sooooo been there and mine is almost completely gone (It's a pain, no?!). First of all, make sure that you are washing your back thoroughly after each workout (my doctor said that if you have long hair, make sure you lift it up after shampooing/conditioning and rinse your back, so it doesnt trap any of the soap on your back). If your doing all of that and don't mind prescriptions, then let me know! I take a pill and use a clear solution that has worked wonders. If you are interested in the names so that you can ask your doctor about it, just email me! Hope you get it figured out!

  • Emily July 28, 2009, 7:56 pm

    I've heard that tea tree oil (diluted) can be used to help acne because it kills bacteria that cause acne. I've used it before on other skin problems, and it seems to help.

  • Jewels July 28, 2009, 7:59 pm

    No solutions but i have known people who mistook bacne for excema and needes special cream.

    loved your OB note today

  • Bevin July 28, 2009, 8:03 pm

    Caitlin have you looked into essential oils?? they have alot of mind/body solutions!

  • Topaz July 28, 2009, 8:06 pm

    Trader Joe's carries tea tree oil pads…might be easier than using just the oil itself and a cotton ball.

    I so want to try out the Palmolive idea!!!

  • earthybrit July 28, 2009, 8:16 pm

    tea tree oil body wash or pads or plain tea tree oil, dessert essence is my choice and is really cheAP AT WHOLEFOODS

  • Anonymous July 28, 2009, 8:19 pm

    Thank you for talking about the need for higher-calorie days. It was great timing, as I just had one today and have been sitting here tonight trying to stave off guilt. It doesn't help that I just checked out that SELF food blog, either, because she seriously seems to eat those 1400 calories/day to which you alluded! Thanks again for being real.

  • Genesis July 28, 2009, 8:28 pm

    neutrogena body wash for acne is a miracle worker for me! I used it before then stopped and when I stopped all my backne came back and the moment i started using neutrogena, it went away. I know its not 'natural' but it works like a miracle!

  • Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) July 28, 2009, 8:36 pm

    Honestly, the best thing I ever did for my skin was eliminate processed wheat. Think more things like quinoa (they even make quinoa pasta), rice, and complex carbs like sweet potatoes. It changed my body and skin completely!!!!

    I also use organic soap and organic raw shea butter (Yep, just the one ingredient!) for moisturizer. Oh, and Apricot Scrub. Love that stuff!

  • Julia July 28, 2009, 8:46 pm

    Showering ASAP after sweating, and slathering on OXY 10% benzoyl peroxide acne medication works for me everytime. (its the stuff i used to get as a teen for my face…but ever since I started running, backne has come back….ggrrrr)

  • HangryPants July 28, 2009, 8:54 pm

    maybe use whatever you use on your face on your back?

  • Mrs. Myers @ Eat Move Write July 28, 2009, 8:56 pm

    Dish Soap. It works and you already have. Try it!!! šŸ™‚

  • Kim July 28, 2009, 9:00 pm

    I haven't had the problem on my back, but I was recently experiencing random bouts of adult acne on my face… nothing helped until I tried the AcneFree line (the ghetto ProActiv available at Target/Publix), which worked like a charm! It's not really natural, though… as far as natural solutions, I have many friends who swear by tea tree oil.

  • Lindsay July 28, 2009, 9:05 pm

    I don't have a solution but I understand. Since I started running I've had butt acne. It's totally embarrassing and now it's starting to spread down to the top of my thighs. I've started to use benzoyl peroxide after my shower and it's starting to go away, sometimes. It seems to come and go. So maybe try that??

  • Valerie July 28, 2009, 9:07 pm

    I know this sounds weird, but what really worked for me was dandruff shampoo. When I switched over to it, my bacne was gone! I didn't even try scrubbing it directly on, I just let it rinse off of my hair and onto my back. I would say try to cut down on the amount of products you DO use on your back though. Good luck!

  • Squish July 28, 2009, 9:14 pm

    I've been using a natural soap with charcoal and zinc in it. It's helped A LOT and I've seen _such_ a difference. Here's a link to the bar which I started with first- http://www.collectivewellbeing.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage1&product_id=33&category_id=13&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=26

    It's black and will leave a black residue on your shower after awhile but is easily cleaned with shower cleaner.

    I now use the body wash on a wash cloth and I've maintained a clear back and should area for 6 months! Good luck. Bacne freaking sucks.

  • MareBare July 28, 2009, 9:23 pm

    i use a mild loofah to keep my skin nice and fresh- especially after a sweaty workout that could clog pores (but only for body not face!). clogged pores from breaking a sweat working out might be causing your problems. also, i know neutrogena has a body wash for acne (knda pricey but you can buy the generic brand next to it) so combining the two might really help depending on how bad u need it.

    also, the longer you wait to take a shower after working out the worse for your complexion, the sweat and toxins you sweat out will just be reabsorbed so you should try and wash off as soon as your done working out. i know if i dont my skin will get little bumps (gross šŸ™ )

    hope that helps!!!

  • Emily July 28, 2009, 9:30 pm

    I have been having this problem under my arm pits. Weird, I know. I do think I sometimes stay too long in my sweaty sports bra. Also, just a word of warning, I was using the benzoyl peroxide which did work, but it bleached all my shirts! So keep that in mind. I'm curious to try the dishsoap…

  • just me July 28, 2009, 9:40 pm

    hear ya about those stupid magazines. i actually threw out a Health mag because all is kept saying was 1200-1400 a day…um, you wanna STARVE AND DIE? no thanks.

    and sorry to hear about the backne, that sucks. my best suggestion is to make sure you're clothes are always dry…i know that being in fl and doing that is a bit hard, but i know that was always my fix when i had it.

  • Domestic Lab Rat July 28, 2009, 9:53 pm

    Hi Caitlin!

    So sorry to hear about your back trubs (I've been there). Neutrogena "Body clear body scrub" worked for me.

    The active ingredient is salicylic acid, which was discovered in the willow tree (the willow tree's Latin name is Salix). Is is a simple beta-hydroxy acid that works inside and outside of your pores. I don't know how its made industrially, but at least it is a naturally occurring substance, too. Hope this helps, and good luck!

  • Anonymous July 28, 2009, 9:58 pm

    Oil of Oregano – from any health food store. It tastes POTENT, but you only need a few drops a few times a day. It works for flus too, as it is a natural antibiotic. I put 5 or 6 drops into a shot class with juice and shot it, and then chased it with another shot of plain juice.

    My brother had bacne, and he used oregano pills, and said it went away fast. Powerful stuff šŸ™‚

    Jolene

  • Rebeca @All Vegged Out July 28, 2009, 10:13 pm

    Hmmm, that happens to me if I switch laundry detergent… I need those free and clear kinds now, whereas before it was never a problem. You could try that.

    Also, an astringent works (think hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice) followed by something to soothe your skin like aloe vera… I'm not sure what a derm would say but it's worked for me!

  • Bek July 28, 2009, 10:25 pm

    I used tea tree oil on my face when I have really bad breakouts and it helps quite a bit, sulfur paste works too. Also, after you work out you might want to run a few cotton balls with astringent or tea tree oil over your back wherever the acne has popped up.

    Hope that helps :]]

  • Emily July 28, 2009, 10:28 pm

    Hi! My sister had the same problem before her wedding and she used a body wash from Kiehls. Here is the link to it: http://www.kiehls.com/_us/_en/body/collection/Superbly-Restorative-Body-Cleansing-Oil.htm
    The only problem is that it is expensive, but it worked! Good luck!

  • Isha July 28, 2009, 10:32 pm

    Re: backne: Are you sure that it's acne and not folliculitis? I had that once – basically when your hair follicles get inflamed – and it looks a lot like acne, but it's not. I had it all over my chest and back. Truly gross. Anyway, my solution was to use Dial "Gold" antibacterial bar soap every day. Not all-natural, but it worked! That might be helpful even if it is acne. You can find it at the drug store.

  • Priyanka loves food July 28, 2009, 11:07 pm

    I use this mix pretty often, but I am not sure if you'll be able to find it!

    I use Sandalwood powder( which you can find at an Indian grocery store) mixed with some cold water or rose water ( also available at Indian grocery stores) and cool them in the refrigerator for a few minutes and then apply them on the acne.Do this for a few days and it will definitely help it healand clear up. Since it is a natural remedy, won't even have side effects. sandalwood powder has a natural cooling effect!

  • Erin July 28, 2009, 11:39 pm

    Caitlin, what kind of soap are you using? I use Gold Dial. Also, Dont let your conditioner drip down your shoulders. Seems like the summer heat/sweat can clog our pores. Don't get mad, but Mario Badescu makes miracle drying potion. Its not natural, but if worse comes to worse!!! And remember, you are still beautiful, and you should not care what others think.

  • Thinspired July 29, 2009, 1:00 am

    Hey Caitlin, I'm sure you've thought of this, but are your workout tops breathable? I was getting bad body acne when I was wearing thick-materialed shirts. I switched to the breathable tops and started exfoliating and it really helped!

  • prinny July 29, 2009, 1:09 am

    Sorry to hear about your problem.

    Witch hazel or tea tree oil might help (eg. in products from Korres).

    If that doesn't work I'm out of "natural" suggestions – try the Clinique Acne Solutions Soap Bar, I know this has worked wonders for a friend of mine.

  • Kicking couture July 29, 2009, 1:56 am

    have you changed your shampoo or conditioner as that could be causing it?

    if not use a bodybrush in the bath/shower and scrub each day as it could be a build up of oil from the heat

    and try and see if you can get a light sunscream as that could be causing it too

  • ~Jessica~ July 29, 2009, 2:37 am

    Yes! I don't understand where this whole '1400 calorie a day' movement comes from either ~ in the UK it's even worse with 'female' magazines and even national newspapers promoting 1200 calorie and 1000 calorie diets. It's insane: I start getting dizzy and faint at anything below about 1700, and cranky/hungry/miserable below about 2200 minimum…and I'm 5ft 3ins!

    I don't think you eat 2500 though! All of your portions look so tiny and the food you eat is low in calories and very healthy so don't be so hard on yourself and overestimate your intake!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 29, 2009, 2:55 am

    oh man!! I WOKE UP TO SOOOOOOOOOO MANY GOOD TIPS! I don't know where to start but one of these has to work!!

    anon- oh hells yes i'll always keep it real!

    jessica- 2,500 cal days probably only happen on long run days. or ice cream days. LOL šŸ™‚

  • Rhianna July 29, 2009, 3:03 am

    Just FYI, Burt's Bees makes a tea tree oil blemish stick. The hubster uses this faithfully and loves it, and it's pretty affordable. Good luck!

  • Anonymous July 29, 2009, 3:30 am

    I think all those suggestions were great but just like anything in life you have to stick with skin care and acne prevention religiously in order to see changes.
    The more important thing, I think, is to fix the problem rather than treat the symptoms…there's the obvious acne causer – stress. But also – do you stay in your workout clothes for a period of time after working out, do you wear a sports bra more than once before washing, have you changed your skin routine AT ALL lately, have you changed detergents, have you started/stopped/or changed birth controls? These are are rhetorical questions…yikes I would never ask you to answer them out loud!!! but all really good ones to think about!

  • Eve July 29, 2009, 3:48 am

    Wow you got quite a few suggestions. I agree look at the root of the problem: maybe stress and exercise clothing not breathing? What has changed in the last few months that may have led to this? I would also recommend seeing a dermatologist, a lot of the time they have great products to use.

  • Susan July 29, 2009, 4:02 am

    I haven't read through all the suggestions – but I second whoever said tea tree oil! It will dry those suckers up. Just be sure to use moisturizer with it. When you use things on your skin that dry it out (like tea tree oil) it can also trap natural oils under your skin. So pairing it with a moisturizer will loosen up the pores and let your skin can breathe.

    Oh, and I 100% agree with your rant. I don't know how people eat 1400 calories and stay really active on top of that. I need my days to go up and down too. That's why I just always go with the flow on my hungry days, because chances are, I won't want so much food the next day so it evens out! šŸ™‚

  • Juli D July 29, 2009, 4:48 am

    My good friend had bad acne on her chest and back. She used a few different things (like Proactive, Acutane, etc.) but what ended up working for her was CETAPHIL! Just your cheap drug store face wash, but she used the face wash in the shower on her chest and back. It's possible they make a body wash now (this was maybe 6 years ago?) but Cetaphil is my recommendation!

  • Cait (Cait's Plate) July 29, 2009, 5:07 am

    I swear by Fresh products. I actually just use a bar of Fresh bar soap and it's amazing!

    My boss says all she uses is a Dove bar soap and it works for her!

    But I know, stress sucks in that way! Your whole body reacts to it.

    PS – I loved your 1400-calories-a-day-fitness-magazine rant. COULDN'T AGREE MORE! šŸ™‚

  • Leah @ Simply Fabulous July 29, 2009, 5:21 am

    Hi Caitlin, I find sometimes my back gets inflamed a bit if I leave my sports bra on too long after I work out and the sweat just kind of sits there. Now that you've started running more and whatnot, do you think this could me an issue? I don't really know what your routine is after you work out, like if you jump in the shower straight away but I know for me, sometimes I make a shake or check my email before the bra comes off! And I can always tell when i've been neglectful in that area.

  • Kate July 29, 2009, 5:22 am

    Hey girl – I had the same problem right after I moved to charlotte from ohio…damn humidity! I switched my body wash to from dove moisturizing to st. Ives body wash and haven't had a breakout since! Its way cheaper and not as thick/oily…give it a go! I love their prodcts!!! Good luck!

  • Leah @ L4L July 29, 2009, 5:31 am

    I feel your pain. I've been breaking out on my neck and chest. Sucks. I think it has something to do with the abnormal heat here in WA. I know it is more than just hormonal but that may be related as well. I am even thinking about going to see a dermatologist. Sucks that I don't feel comfortable wearing a lot of my lower cut shirts or cute summer dresses because of it. šŸ™

  • Katie July 29, 2009, 6:11 am

    Alpha Hydrox lotion really worked for me when I had this same issue last summer when I pumped up my workouts. However I still had trouble getting rid of the last little bit of acne, so my dr. perscribed cleocin pledgettes. I know it's not "natural," but I used a one-month supply and I've been clear ever since!

  • Anonymous July 29, 2009, 6:15 am

    Well, at least know that you're not alone! I've never found anything that completely worked, but it's either due to my stubborn acne or my lack of persistence. I use cetaphil, a buf puf, salicylic acid, and St Ives on my back. I read once to use 91% isopropyl alcohol on a pad once or twice a day on your body (not recommended for face). It's cheap, but I think tea tree oil would be better.

  • Jessie Bea July 29, 2009, 6:24 am

    I have had the same problem, and a friend recommended Lush products to me. They're all natural and they work. I use a facial cleanser on my back and chest called "Coalface" that has actual charcoal in it! http://www.lushusa.com/shop/products/face/cleansers/coalface

  • Mel @ She Runs Brooklyn July 29, 2009, 6:36 am

    Hey Caitlin

    You know, I've noticed that when I'm very active sometimes this happens to me too, thought not in the intensity I think you're describing. THe cause: My Sports Bras!!

    You might want to consider buying new ones! After a while the bacteria from sweating builds up in them and then attacks your back everytime you work out, turning it into a cycle.

    Hope this helps!!
    Mel

  • Graze With Me July 29, 2009, 7:01 am

    Cetaphil (sp?) makes a body wash that works wonders. So does Neutrogena. If you can't find the body wash, try the face stuff….it's incredibly gentle on your skin too.

    Grilled cheese looks yummy! I too had an empty tummy all day yesterday!

  • Kristin P. July 29, 2009, 7:04 am

    I have this problem whenever I start working out more and I know one big cause is that when I get back from a run or back from the gym, sometimes I just want to stay in those clothes to eat dinner, relax etc. But it is very important to take off the sweaty clothes asap (also consider wearing natural fibers to the gym- cotton), and exfoliate (try dry skin brushing!!) and shower. Also I have heard that applying eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil to clean skin will help as they are natural antiseptics, but I have not tried this myself.

  • N.D. July 29, 2009, 7:16 am

    i'm no help on this front, I had iy until i was pregnant and now 6months pp, it seems to be returning…but thank you for posting about calories, i just starting counting (again for the millionth time) yesterday to lose pregnancy weight. Everywhere I look it says to eat sooo much like 2700 but I feel like my genetics does not allow for that …

  • Bec July 29, 2009, 7:21 am

    I agrees completly I am 5'2 and small framed and there is no way I could make it through the day on those 1400 calorie things magazines suggest! My back started breaking out this spring too and while its not perfect I have found exfoliating and taking zinc supplements really helps.

  • Danielle C. July 29, 2009, 7:37 am

    On the college football reference…is it supposed to be a set of uprights? as if to mock FSU's problems with field goal kicking in a game a few years back?

    I'm totally stumped (I'm a huge college football nut).

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 29, 2009, 7:41 am

    danielle – he drew the U like the University of Miami "U". the school is nicknamed the "U" šŸ™‚

    http://www6.miami.edu/studorgs/sg/TheU.jpg

  • Kim July 29, 2009, 7:43 am

    Great post on calorie intakes! I don't know how someone can function on 1400 calories per day! If I didn't pass out, I would be the biggest witch on the face of the earth! Hungry Kim=Cranky Kim.

    No help on the back issue. I did see tea trea oil mentioned and I use that for other stuff and I know there are a ton of uses for it. Trader Joe's has it the cheapest (don't by at Whole Foods….twice the cost of TJ's). If you buy the straight oil, make sure to dilute it some before putting it on your skin (it should say that on the bottle).

    Good luck!

  • eatingRD July 29, 2009, 8:30 am

    I would have to agree about the calorie thing. 1400 just doesn't cut it and leaves us feeling grumpy! When I go on a bike ride I tend to eat a lot more but that's because my body needs it. Then I just adjust other days. I'm sorry I can't help with the back acne, but I get some on the back of my neck too especially when I sweat a lot in the summer.
    I want to work with Maggie!

  • Amy July 29, 2009, 8:36 am

    I second the anti-dandruff shampoo!! I know it sounds crazy, but this recommendation is from my dermatologist. The bacteria that causes bacne usually comes from your head! The zinc in Head & Shoulders kills it. I use the Refresh formula and it's really tingly and fun. I use it a few times a week and let kind of rub the foam on my skin. And it has really helped.

    The conditioner suggestion is good too. I actually wait to wash face and my body until I've rinsed out my hair completely.

    Good luck!

  • Sarah July 29, 2009, 8:39 am

    I have struggled with acne (and bacne) for years. My best fixes were prescriptions (my fave being sulfur cream), but natural solutions that I have used with success include witch hazel or tea tree oil (but be careful cause they are harsh and drying) and the RareMinerals sulfur powder from BareMinerals. It doesn't work if I don't use it every day, however. I mix it in with my makeup or a cream so that I can get max coverage.
    And maybe slow things down a bit?
    Hope that helps.
    P.S. not gross or embarrassing at all–it happens to the best of us.

  • Pigtailed Pundit July 29, 2009, 9:02 am

    Are you sure its acne and not heat boils? Sometimes working out excessively in the heat,the sweat etc may lead to heat boils and some may confuse that with acne.I've heard that aloe vera/aloe vera gel can sometimes help soothe acne/heat boils.Tea tree oil gels may help too. Hope whatever you try works out!

  • Sam July 29, 2009, 9:04 am

    i'm a teenage girl, so trust me, i've dealt with the back acne. the only thing that has EVER worked for me is $0.89 unscented dial soap. (like, the kind old men use.) it dries those icky things right up but doesn't dry out your skin, so it is perfect. i've used it before prom, before senior pictures, and now everyday because i realized how much it really WORKS! seriously, i swear by this stuff. and, at 89 cents, how can you go wrong?

  • Tea Time July 29, 2009, 9:09 am

    What about that body wash from Neutrogena for body acne?

  • Kara July 29, 2009, 11:03 am

    I get horrible back acne every winter from dry skin (ever try to put lotion on your own back?) I know you live in humid flordia, but it could be a result of dry skin. Sometimes your body overcompensates by secreting oil if your skin is too dry, resulting in acne.

    I still haven't found anything to help my acne issue, but please keep up in the loop if you find something that works!!

  • diana by design July 29, 2009, 11:46 am

    my brother gets pretty bad back acne but he uses neutrogena body scrub on it.

    when that doesn't work (it never does in summer because he works outside) he goes to the beach with his fiance. something about the salt water helps to dry it out. so he goes to the beach about once a week and brings home some salt water (weird, i know!) to throw on his back for a little while during the work week.

    ALSO, how on earth do you hit 1800 calories a day? I can barely break 1,000 a day and I know it's awful for me. I try to only eat when I'm hungry but I still manage to only eat about 1,000 a day.

  • Andrea of Care to Eat July 29, 2009, 12:43 pm

    Don't have time to read through all the previous comments, so if I'm repeating, forgive me! Possible causes are new shampoo or conditioner, new body wash or soap, not showering after working out – especially in the FL summer! Those three things are almost always the cause for me. Since this is a new problem, it's probably a clogged pore issue.

  • Christine July 29, 2009, 1:45 pm
  • Megan July 29, 2009, 3:40 pm

    I have stress-related bacne and as soon as I notice a flare up I always try and treat it naturally. But my current flare up just would not go away (and natural scrubs made the bumps worse). I started w/ RX cleansing clothes and gel in the hopes of avoiding an oral RX, but nothing worked and I had to resort to RX. They are strong enough for me that I see results w/in 1 day and I stop taking them once my back clears up (usually 2 weeks) so I figure in the grand scheme of things, 2 weeks is not long to take an RX, especially when the natural options do not work.

  • Stacey July 29, 2009, 5:39 pm

    When my sis was a senior in high school, she got really bad back acne and the derm said it was from stress and lack of sleep, they suggested the neutrogena body wash and it worked after a couple of weeks! I know it isn't natural, just letting you know my experience šŸ™‚

  • Annamarina July 30, 2009, 9:39 am

    I recently had a facial with an esthetician who uses all natural and organic products. I asked her what she recommends to use as a cleanser to help fight breakouts. Surprisingly, she said organic apple cider vinegar! She said to mix it in a bottle with half vinegar and half distilled water. After you cleanse, she suggested mixing jojoba oil with a little tea tree oil and using that to moisturize. Sounds easy and all natural! And fairly cheap! Hope that helps!

  • Anonymous July 30, 2009, 2:36 pm

    Hey, don't feel bad about your embarassing question-we all get stuff like that. I would recommend seeing a dermatologist. I tried all sorts of different remedies that other people swore would work but didn't for me, but when I actually saw a doctor, she was able to figure out the one thing that worked perfectly for me in about ten minutes! Dermatologists rock!

  • Emmanuelle August 1, 2009, 1:36 pm

    Has your dairy intake increased since going vegetarian? Dairy has been linked with acne in several studies. Also, there are ethical reasons to cut out dairy from your diet (impregnation of dairy cows –> veal).

  • Alison August 3, 2009, 12:44 pm

    I have a similar problem when working out in the summer time. First I switched to hypoallergenic dye free detergent because some dyes in laundry soap can make you break out. That seemed to help a lot and so did wearing cotton shirts and changing right away. Good luck!

  • Travel Girl August 9, 2009, 2:43 pm

    Try using dish washing detergent on your back (they have nice scents now) and wearing a fresh sports bra for each run…

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