Think of this sensitive skin as an extension of your face, and skip more intense soaps or body washes you might use elsewhere in favor of your face products, says Gilmore.
Try: “I recommend a cleanser like SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel, which contains glycolic and salicylic acids to exfoliate skin and decongest the pores, reducing breakouts,” says Kate Roach, regional spa manager at Equinox in New York City.
Your choice of workout clothes can lead to new breakouts and exacerbate existing ones. “I’ve seen an epidemic of the ‘yoga pant acne’—which is when tight pants occlude the skin and cause pimples to develop on the buttocks and posterior thighs,” Carqueville says. Mitigate this by removing your leggings immediately after exercise.
Try: Alternate between a benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid body wash every other day in the shower, Carqueville advises. The benzoyl peroxide will kill acne-causing bacteria, while the salicylic acid will reduce oil and buildup clogging the pores. Try Murad Body Wash, which contains salicylic acid along with green tea and licorice root extracts to soothe inflamed skin.
In addition to washing with the same benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid body wash, Gilmore suggests using an exfoliating wash cloth, since the back contains very deep pores that hold more oil and sebum. (Skip the loofah, since it can trap water and grow bacteria, which can lead to more breakouts.) “Gently exfoliating the skin regularly helps to remove build up of dead skin cells," she says.
Try: Since the area in question can be difficult to treat, regular trips to an esthetician can be especially helpful. Gilmore recommends the Cleansing Back Facial at The Spa, which includes a deep cleanse and exfoliation, as well as extractions of black and whiteheads on the whole area of the back, followed by a treatment mask to further clarify. Microdermabrasion, an exfoliating treatment that removes dead skin cells with micro-crystals, can also help. (These services are offered at most Equinox Spa and EQX Body Lab locations.)