Dealing with zits on your face is one thing but back acne is another level of annoying. At least when you’re wrestling with an angry blemish in your T-zone you can see what you’re doing. Not so when pimples pop up on your back. It’s hard enough just getting soap back there, applying zit cream between your shoulder blades is like a pulled muscle waiting to happen. And it might not work anyway, because the skin on your back doesn’t respond well to many of the acne treatments you use on your face. Though acne and back acne are caused by the same things, you need to treat them differently. Acne is caused by increased oil production, bacteria, pore blockage, and irregular skin cell turnover. Sebaceous glands in the skin produce oil, which can collect along with dead skin cells in the pores, plugging them up and giving bacteria a perfect breeding ground, all of which can lead to redness, whiteheads, blackheads, and sometimes infection. Hormones can play a large role, which is why you might break out more around your period, for instance. And if you’ve noticed that your breakouts pop up in similar places as other family members, that could be acne’s genetic components at work.
While the root causes of acne are basically the same in both places, the skin on your face is very different from the skin on your back, which has its upsides and downsides. The skin on the face has more blood supply, which helps acne heal faster and reduces scarring. But the skin on the back is much thicker than the skin on the face. That means that the back is more resilient, and can handle stronger treatments that would be considered too harsh for the face. The ingredients doctors most commonly recommend for body acne are generally the same as what you’d use on your face, but the products themselves are usually stronger. Salicylic acid is attracted to the oil in the sebaceous glands; and once there, it helps to loosen the sticky cells and oil to clear clogged hair follicles. Benzoyl peroxide is a topical antibiotic that will work to kill bacteria and clean pores. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide products with concentrations over 2 percent can dry out the skin on the face. But since the skin on the back is a bit thicker and less sensitive, you can use formulas with higher percentages. Any benzoyl peroxide above 5 percent is unnecessary; it’s no more effective but causes more side effects.
Because back acne tends to cover a large swath of skin, and because it’s harder to reach your back to apply spot treatments, many products will come in the form of body washes and face scrubs that you can put on in the shower. It is recommended to leave these cleansers on for a few minutes before washing them off to give the products time to truly treat the acne. In addition, try using products with retinol, which helps loosen up dead skin cells and regulate cell turnover. Retinoids not only treat the acne you have today, they also change the way the cells turn over, reducing your development of acne tomorrow. To make sure you don’t miss a spot when applying topical creams and gels, it is recommended that you use an applicator to help you get to those hard to reach areas. Sulfur is another lesser known ingredient that works by killing acne-causing bacteria. Choose a cleanser with the active ingredient, rather than creams, many of which can have a rotten egg smell.
Back acne scars can be worse than acne scars on the face. Pimples on the back are more likely to scar than those on the face. The face will heal better because it has better skin cell turnover, more healing potential, and better blood supply. What’s more, the back is more prone to getting keloids, which are raised, overgrown scars. Antioxidant-rich formulas are key to getting the redness left behind to fade quickly. It’s important to start treatment right away. When scars have healed but are still red or pink, it is recommended to use topical antioxidants twice daily. Remember to apply morning and night, and you’ll be ready to rock that backless dress in no time.
When it comes to prevention, here are some pro tips, and rookie mistakes to avoid. Just like on your face, there are bad habits that can lead to breakouts on your back. You wash your face when it gets dirty and sweaty, right? For the same reason, you’ll want to change out of your sports bra soon after a workout, so that the sweaty clothing against your back doesn’t become a breeding ground for bacteria. In general wearing tight clothing with body-hugging fabrics can trap natural oils and shedding skin in pores, which can lead to breakouts. If you’re prone to back acne, you might want to avoid tight fitting fabrics, and instead opt for breathable materials that wick moisture and keep your skin as dry as possible. The way you wash your hair can have an impact on back acne. While the oils in hair treatments might be good for nourishing your hair, they can be bad news for the skin on your back. That’s why you should rinse conditioner off to the side instead of letting it run down your back. Also, try waiting until you’ve completed all of your hair treatments before washing your body. That way you can wash off any oily residue, clearing the way for your acne treatments to do their thing.
Beauty Brands are Now Turning Focus on the Home
Work-from-home (WFH) arrangements and stay-at-home routines are now preventing many from using their makeup collections. These days, most do not have the opportunity—and need—to wear those red lipsticks or smoky eyeshadows that used to drive women in droves to boutiques, salons, and other beauty stores. In fact, many beauty brands have been experiencing a drastic decrease in sales due, especially, to the prolonged onslaught of the epidemic.
Just last week, Ulta Beauty Inc. reported an 8.9% decline in sales during this last quarter. For the upper echelons of beauty brands and products, the NPD Group reports an unfortunate drop of 17% in sales during this year’s third quarter as compared to that of the same period last year.
Nevertheless, the waning of foot traffic and walk-in clients are only some of the reasons why many beauty brands are experiencing massive setbacks. Experts believe that the reasons are more intricate and convoluted that these mere numbers stipulate. Fortunately, these beauty brands including their retailers and resellers understand the root of the problem.
While it is understandable that most people have no reasons to purchase these beauty brands during this time—due, of course, to the lack of opportunities to dress up during this pandemic—many of these beauty brands draw a bulk of their sales from having prospective clients try on their lipsticks, eyeshadows, pencils, liquids, and creams.
Because of the necessity of heeding the anti-COVID-19 protocols, however, many customers are not provided with this age-old activity. So, the less opportunity to check out this makeup implements in person, the less sales are made.
As it happens, several beauty brands like Sephora and Ulta were forced to label their testers as “For Display Only.” This means, then, that customers are hindered from outrightly experiencing these products first-hand, which causes a huge fall in potential sales. Key selling strategies like open conversation between salesperson and client, for instance, have been made limited as well. To that effect, many of the beauty meccas have become ghost towns since the onset of the pandemic.
However, there is hope for these beauty brands—they can cater to stay-at-home individuals, increasing their products for people who are forced to work from home. Because, beauty and self-care are not only needed outside of the home. It is essential for people to maintain a sliver of their beauty regimen even as they are driven to remain within the enclosures of their houses.
Nail care products saw a 13% increase in sales as compared to last year’s third quarter. Body exfoliating products witnessed a 48% climb as well. Hair colors, masks, and other treatments also saw a 48% sales increase.
There is still hope for these beauty brands, then, if they turn their focus on products that can be utilized within the safety of the home. In truth, these cosmetics can even provide psychological and mental health improvement especially for those who are used to being in beauty salons regularly. These do-it-yourself beauty treatments can help.
A Guide to Better Scalp Care
It is frequently easy to disregard the things that we cannot see. With scalp care, for instance, most people simply adopt the habit of shampooing their hair regularly. Some wash their scalps—and hair—daily while others prefer to do so every other day. Depending on your preference, you might even do the washing only once a week.
Nevertheless, beauty experts assert that it is essential to have a better scalp care routine. The scalp is a literal extension of your face and disregarding its condition can easily lead to several conditions including itching, dryness, and irritation—and dandruff. A dirty, uncared-for scalp can potentially become a breeding ground for unwanted parasites like lice, or even cause unnecessary hair loss.
But what does the scalp do for us and why do we need to take better care of it?
The scalp is not different from the skin in the body. Although it grows thicker and longer hair than all the other parts of the body, it is anatomically the same as all the other areas in the human body. The scalp, however, has more oil glands, 100,000 hair follicles, and five levels—or layers—of tissue.
The scalp’s sebaceous glands produce sebum or oil which, then, helps determine the condition of the hair and the scalp’s skin. The specific production of sebum is different from individual to individual. The scalp does not simply provide us with hair. It also protects our skull from infection and trauma. Regular scalp care, then, is important as this promotes both the healthy hair growth and scalp protection.
When questioned about the best scalp care routine, Michelle Henry, a dermatologist, says that a healthy scalp must not have any problems. “We shouldn’t see redness, we shouldn’t see irritation, and we shouldn’t see a lot of scales or buildup. It should not feel tender and it should not have an odor,” she shares. Henry adds that it is always best to consult a dermatologist if you experience any of these scalp conditions.
Scalp care is similar to the overall skin care regimen. The scalp must always be clean, replete of dirt, debris, and oil. Nonetheless, it is also essential to let it stay hydrated. Like with skin hydration, hydrating your scalp must be dependent on the type of scalp you have. For instance, if you have dry scalp, it is recommended that you avoid over-stripping it with scrubbing.
Shampoos and hair conditioners are dependent on the type of scalp you have. If you have an oily scalp, you can use sulfate-free shampoos. You can even purchase a shampoo that exfoliates your scalp. One with sea salt can work wonders. Those with dry scalps, however, must use a scalp toner which helps moisturize the scalp. A moisturizing shampoo and conditioner can also help.
Scalp care is as important as overall skin care. Longer and thicker hair can be achieved when the scalp is allowed to remain healthy, clean, and moisturized. Depending on the type of scalp you have, however, you should only choose products that are entirely right for you.
Masks Take the Fashion Industry by Storm
Masks are now taking the fashion industry by storm. Instead of the normal-looking masks of old, more and more people are now donning various styles. Aside from the light blue surgical masks and white N95 masks typically worn by doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners, many people are now wearing masks with different styles and colors. In a sense, these masks are now fashion statements, permitting the wearers to showcase their tastes, personalities, and even identities.
Before, disposable light blue surgical masks were the regular ones worn by health workers especially when on duty in various clinics and hospitals all around the world. Now, these masks have been replaced by homemade and store-bought alternatives. Due to the earlier scarcity of surgical and medical-grade masks earlier this year, people were forced to make masks at home. Different text guides and video tutorials even gradually appeared online, instructing viewers on how to sew their own. By using different materials including used cotton-based clothing and other breathable implements, many were encouraged to create their versions of the anti-COVID-19 shield.
A recent survey done by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) involving more than 90,000 respondents showed that 92% prefer wearing masks when in public places. The said survey also quantified that most respondents support the wearing of face masks over following the other mandated guidelines including frequent handwashing and social distancing. Thus, these significant results stipulate that face masks such as the light blue surgical masks, N95 masks, and alternative ones have now become essential, everyday accessories.
Subsequently, Musa Widyatmodjo, an Indonesian fashion designer, predicts that facial masks will be a far lengthier fashion trend. Although an effective vaccine against COVID-19 may be in sight, these masks will stay with us for longer than we think. Widyatmodjo supposes that fashion masks, if not light blue surgical masks or even N95 ones, will still be fashionable even when the present pandemic finally ends. He, then, thinks that this period can be a great opportunity for designers and artists to develop trendy masks innovations.
“In the past, we made face masks [without considering other features],” he says, as he relates the widespread availability of different mask designs in the market. He mentions that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can further capitalize on this current trend and hopefully find an excellent livelihood opportunity during this dragging pandemic. Widyatmodjo, however, stresses that there is a need to create safer and more durable face masks, noting the rapid spread of the infectious disease.
The production of these face guards, including light blue surgical masks and N95 ones, has aided various businesses as they strived to save themselves from the massive recession brought about by this deadly pandemic. At present, more and more designers are seen to be producing various face mask styles. Big designers are now selling stylish face masks, as well. A more diverse selection of face masks can be browsed online, although many purchase the good ole’ light blue surgical masks still.
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