Wedding Prep — Chapter 1: Here Comes the Bride’s Back
As my wedding date approaches (curtsy) — T-minus 9 weeks and 3 days to be exact — you can imagine all I have been doing beauty-wise is placing more and more emphasis on preparing myself for the big day. And therefore, I decided to write a series of pre-wedding posts focusing on different topics, covering everything from head to toe.
Ever since my fiancé proposed in August last year, my perspective of weddings has shifted ever so slightly. When I attend friends’ weddings (five of them this year alone, and still counting!), I notice the floral displays, take note of table settings, pay attention to how food is served at cocktail hours etc. And of course, I would look at what the bride is wearing, how her hair is done, and what her makeup is like. One thing I didn’t realize before, however, was how long guests actually spend staring at the bride’s back as she stands at the altar.
(Gasp!) And then it hit me — I've got to make sure my back is spotless! For someone who suffers from the occasional bacne (i.e. back acne), I sure should be spending quality time and effort to beautify and maintain clear skin. It is difficult for those born with beautiful, clean backs to relate, but if you’ve gone through the horror of dealing with body acne and having to lighten scars like I did, you would know what I'm talking about.
Because it is harder for us to see and reach our backs, the process becomes a bit more challenging than caring for our faces. And because the surface area is larger, it also takes longer to manage; hence, Chapter 1 is dedicated to back beauty care.
After trying dozens (and dozens) of various products and methods, I have now narrowed it down to the most essential ones that are helpful and effective for me.
In the Shower
Acne Aroma Body Wash by ETTUSAIS ($24.99): A clear, oil-free liquid body wash that features floral scents and fruity aromas to give a calming effect to the mind and body. I use this on a daily basis with a body sponge just on my back. I love lathering it up into a fluffy foam; it makes my skin squeaky-clean after a rinse-off.
Blemish Buffing Beads for Face and Body by Peter Thomas Roth ($38): This is by far my favorite. Designed for blemish-prone skin, the body wash contains jojoba beads that may seem rough on the skin, but is in fact quite gentle. It works wonders as it scrubs away dead surface skin cells to unclog pores. One of the product’s main ingredients is the acne-fighting salicylic acid (BHA), which prevents future breakouts. There is also glycolic acid complex (AHA) that helps support natural cell turnover. Imagine your skin being polished – that’s how I feel when I use this body scrub. I tend to have several pimples in the summer, but I started using this product in March 2016, and I hardly have any new spots since!
The Body Scrub by frank body ($16.95+): I simply fell in love with “Frank” the coffee scrub, frank body's social media persona who speaks to you in first person, since the first time I “met” him. There are several choices to pick from, but my go-to is the Original Coffee Scrub, which features natural ingredients, such as Robusta coffee beans, almond oil, and sea salt; it is packed with Vitamins A, E and D. The scrub removes dry skin, and nourishes your skin at the same time. If you check out #thefrankeffect, you will see how the scrub helps with scars, as well as cellulite and stretch marks. Because the grounded coffee does make a mess in the shower, I only use it once or twice a week. Yet, my skin is already noticeably smoother! And just FYI, I recently tried out the Coconut Coffee Scrub as it contains jojoba beads to help keep pores clear, and I am loving it, too.
Out of the Shower
CLEAR Acne Body Spray by Paula's Choice ($25): This spray is my recent best friend. It is a very easy way to further treat acne on your body. The liquid dries fast, so it allows me to use it in the morning before I change, after shower, and before I go to bed. The formula with 2% BHA exfoliates the skin and prevents acne breakouts, as well as blackheads (yes blackheads can be formed on your back too). Sometimes, very harsh products tighten your skin and leaves skin to flake and peel, but because it is alcohol-free, it does not dry or irritate your skin.
White Body Mist by ETTUSAIS ($24.99): This spray lightens scars, functioning somewhat like a whitening moisturizer for the body. Personally, I do see pimple marks becoming less visible, but this product requires patience, as you won’t see results immediately.
Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum ($60): This treatment serum fades dark spots and provides the skin with a brighter complexion. It was originally meant for lightening age spots and freckles, but I discovered this to be very helpful when it comes to preventing pigment formation. I only massage the serum on specific dark spots, however, and not across the entire back, as I simply wanted to target the scars.
Turn It Up a Notch
Go for a Back Facial: Like facials for your beautiful faces, there are facials for your backs too. I recently went to two different spas in New York for back facials, and I highly recommend them! But do keep in mind that after a session, you are more likely to see pimples popping out the following week, as the facials help open pores to extract the dirt trapped inside. I have to admit, it does hurt a little when they are working on your spots, but it’s totally worth it! Following the cleaning and extraction is often a calming back mask that soothes the skin. You may also go for a peel that helps re-generate your skin, lightening dark spots and scars.
Protect Your Back from the Sun: Putting sunscreen on your back is one of the simplest, yet greatest tips I’ve ever gotten from a professional. It is so matter-of-fact and straightforward, but often neglected. As sunlight darkens scars and spots, protecting your back with SPF from sun exposure becomes crucial. Off the shoulder tops, for example, leaves the upper part of the back open. There are a lot of sunscreen options out there to choose from; I’ve been using Urban Environment UV Protection Cream by Shiseido ($32) and I find the light cream not too oily for my back.
Tie Your Hair Up: I have long hair and I like leaving my hair down, but I was recommended by a dermatologist to avoid direct contact between my hair and my back, especially if it hasn't been washed in a while! We want to keep our backs clear and let it breathe, instead of having it buried under oily hair.
These tried and true methods work not just for brides-to-be, but anyone who wants to flaunt a beautiful back with a backless dress. Try out the listed products and some of the tips, and hopefully they’ll work wonders for you as they did for me!
Please note that Key To Radiance is not affiliated with any of the listed brands in any way.