Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Monday, August 15, 2005

This Body Flaw? Totally Fixable!

Ok, so today’s entry may not be the most scrumptious, glossy product-related post ever, but for some, it’s totally, totally necessary. This problem? It’s a bad one. Not quite hair-falling-out, beet-red-sunburn, gained-100-pounds bad, but darn ewwy enough to provoke a grimace. And at least one desperate, heartfelt cry for help.

Dear Real Girl,

Hi! First off, thanks so much for your awesome advice. I hope you forgive me for writing you anonymously. You’ll understand why when you hear my problem. Real Girl, please help me. Please!! I’ve got…Backne. I’ve got red bumps all on my back from the summer heat, and it’s so, so gross. What can I do to make it go away? It needs to go away!

Girl Who Wants Her Back Back

And…here we go into the confessional. Once again, I confess my secrets to you, completely shattering the myth that I wake up all coifed, clear-skinned, and undereye-concealed. As if.

So what happens when you have a sheet of hair that’s basically your security blanket? And it’s so humid outside that you can drink the air? Yeah, there’s gonna be some pore blockage there. My back pores, in fact, sent me a letter early this summer. “Dear Real Girl,” they said—much like you did, Girl Who Wants Her Back Back—“CLEAN US THE FUCK OUT.” And instead of signing it “Your divinely clear back pores,” they signed it “Red zits on your back. Hello, we said on Your Back!

But my back now? Silky smooth. Clear as a daisy. A clean-pored, exfoliated, benzoyl-peroxided daisy. I pet her and call her Fluffy.

Ok, GWWHBB. Listen here. If you’ve got a light-to-moderate case of the backne, you want to start by exfoliating every day. I usually try to promote gentle products that don’t irritate sensitive facial skin. But we’re talking about your back here. Rough it up. St. Ives Medicated Scrub for Oily or Acne Prone Skin absolutely saved my back. I do not recommend this product for sensitive facial skin, but start using it on your back (and chest, if needed) in every shower as your step 1.

Step 2: Benzoyl peroxide. Start with 5% and see how that works. If you’re not happy after a week or so, try 10% (but expect that to be more drying.) My faves? Oxy Balance Vanishing for Sensitive Skin (5%) and Oxy Balance Vanishing Maximum Acne Treatment (10%). Use this every night before bed. It can cause sun sensitivity so beware of daytime use!

Step 3: Wait. God, I wish this were an instant cure. But give it two weeks. If your back ain’t clear by then? You might want to consult a dermatologist for a prescription acne medication.

Real Girl Notes:
  • If your backne is large and sore, start with the benzoyl peroxide to clear it up a bit before moving to the exfoliation.
  • If you’ve just got tiny, clustered red bumps (these most often on the upper arms), just do the heavy exfoliating and forgo the acne treatment. Acne’s caused by bacteria; tiny red bumps are only pore blockage.
  • Try to avoid moisturizing the affected areas.

If you’re smart, unlike La Real Girl, once your back's crystal clear, you won’t go blabbing about your sordid backne past all over the internet, and no one will ever be the wiser!

Feel like confessing your deepest beauty flaw secrets? Got backne advice of your own? Questions, love, despair, joy? Share, my dearies, share!

And I remain your,
Real Girl