This is a bit embarrassing but I have always gotten little blackheads and white bumps between my breasts. They’re tiny, and they’re not even red, but is there anything I can do about them? — Kate, Co. Mayo
Kate, I’m glad to say that plenty of people get congested between their bosoms. This area can actually be more prone to congestion for a number of reasons: our bras can trap sweat and oil against the skin, we put fake tan there, our hair, depending on length, might be brushing off the skin again and again, or our shower gel might be actually causing it.
Opting for a bra that doesn’t rub against the skin as much may help, especially if you can see clusters of congestion where wiring or bands are. Bralettes tend to be the best option for this.
Although some fake tans don’t clog pores, we find that many do and certain types of people are going to be more likely to develop spots from even mildly clogged pores. If you’re more prone to congestion in general, try to opt for an oil-free fake tan or a fake tan specifically marked as non-comedogenic, like the La Roche-Posay Autohelios Gel Cream Self Tan (€16.50, available in selected pharmacies nationwide).
After using fake tan, exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate — not with a physical exfoliator like a scrub, glove or grit, which can irritate the skin further, but an acid-based or enzyme-based exfoliator. I wouldn’t suggest doing this directly after tanning, because it basically works to shed off your tan faster, but a day or two after.
Your fake tan still won’t last quite as long, but it’s a good trade-off if you don’t want any lumps and bumps.
Sweat isn’t what actually clogs pores. It’s just that some people have skin that doesn’t like their own sweat. It sounds ludicrous, but it is true. Breathable clothes can help, as can making sure you wash directly after any heavy sweating.
Even if you feel these are plausible, you may not be fully convinced on how your hair could have any effect. If you have long, boob-grazing hair, it is working as a channel for your hair’s oils, bacteria and potentially pore-clogging hair products.
If you’re working with a day or two of grease, tie her up and see what happens when you cut hair care products containing shea butter or rich oils out of your life. You may be surprised to find that they are the culprit.
My answer for any kind of congestion is nearly always the same. It’s salicylic acid. Get yourself a salicylic acid cleanser — I’d genuinely recommend one for the face for this purpose, as there isn’t a huge difference in the skin on your chest and on your face — and use it in lieu of a shower gel in the affected areas. Salicylic acid is exfoliating and additionally dissolves debris in the pores to stop them from becoming clogged.
When it comes to chest spots and body spots, I like to use a salicylic acid cleanser as a mask for just two or three minutes. I personally use Skingredients Sally Cleanse (€25, available from skingredients.com, or selected salons, pharmacies or department stores) but there are tonnes of the market that I rate highly, such as the Cerave SA Smoothing Cleanser (€12.50, available from selected pharmacies).
Cleanse the skin with the cleanser and then apply the same cleanser to wet skin and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly.
I am a long-time user of mineral makeup and I have found my personal favourite in Jane Iredale’s Glow Time Full Coverage BB Cream, but Team Nerd is loving this new creation.
It’s a medium, buildable coverage, semi-matte foundation that merges with the skin for a natural finish that you don’t often find in liquid mineral foundations, so it’s kind of bloody impressive.
To top it all off, it’s vegan, cruelty-free and comes in a recyclable glass bottle.
It costs €52 and is available from selected salons and online at janeiredale.co.uk