Though summer fashion trends come and go, one that always sticks around is the backless cut. Whether you’re rocking a halter dress or living in your bathing suit all season long, hanging outside in the summer months usually means that your back is exposed to the elements, and of course, sweat. Sweat is often the main contributor to skin inflammation and back acne (or “bacne”), which is only made worse when you aren’t able to effectively clean your back thoroughly in the shower (an admittedly difficult task without some major shoulder cuff flexibility).
Even if you may not be able to properly clean your back in the shower every single time, there are still ways to maintain healthy skin on your back. Celebrity facialist and Tatcha Ambassador, Yolanda Mata (aka Yoliglo), offers back facials, or “bacials,” to her clients before red carpet events and in the heat of the summer season. I went in for a treatment to find out what the fuss was all about, what the treatment entailed, and how I could properly take care of the skin on my back in the summer and beyond.
Yolanda, or Yoli, as many of her clients call her, says that she started making the bacial available to her clients because, in her words, she’s a “Virgo and a crazy clean freak.” She is known for giving relaxing facials that leave your face looking dewy, plump, and healthy, and her bacial was no different. She structures her bacials similarly to how normal facials go (cleanse, exfoliate, extract, mask, moisturize) so the process was pretty seamless.
The bacial treatment started off with a cleanser. She used Tatcha’s The Deep Cleanse, which is a gel water cleanser that has little scrubby bits of Japanese Luffa fruit for a light exfoliation. The cleanser is oil-free, but is still deeply cleansing to unclog pores and blemishes, while simultaneously hydrating the skin. She rinsed it away with soft wet sponges.
Next, she used her own DIY scrub to further exfoliate the tough skin on my back. The concoction mixed muddled strawberries for brightening, brown sugar for exfoliating, coconut oil for moisture, and lemon juice, which is a great antioxidant to help fight free radicals and other bacteria buildup on your back. The mixture smelled delicious, and felt very gentle on my back. She massaged it enough that I could feel the exfoliating properties, but it didn’t feel too abrasive or rough.
After the scrub, she went in with her own extraction technique that she uses on faces: She gently pricks a blemish with a needle to target only the blemish without disrupting the rest of the skin the way traditional comedone extractor tools usually do. Although it felt a little ticklish, it was relatively painless and my skin instantly felt smoother after she was done.
The mask she used was also a DIY combo, made with Greek yogurt, raw honey, and rose water, as well as rose petals sprinkled along the back for an Instagram-friendly effect, of course. Greek yogurt is great for moisture and discoloration from sunburns and other inflammation, raw honey is also hydrating and has antibacterial properties, and rose water is soothing, especially if you’re sunburned or breaking out. Yoli left the mask on for about 15 minutes while she massaged my scalp and feet to pass the time while the mask set into my skin, which was probably the most heavenly part of my day. Finally, she rinsed the mask off and massaged my back with Tatcha’s Indigo Soothing Body Butter, which is a rich body lotion that sinks deeply into the skin for long-lasting moisture.
Yoli recommends that her clients get bacials at least four times a year, or before a special event where the back is exposed. She noted that working out a lot can cause more breakouts on your back, so it would be beneficial to get them more often when you’re sweating more. In between bacial appointments, she thinks that you should invest in a long loofah strip to exfoliate and clean your back as effectively as you can.
This was my first time getting a back facial, and it’s safe to say that I want to do it again. It was the only time that my back has felt truly pampered, save the couple times in my life that I’ve had a body wrap or scrub done. There was something so luxurious about having my back completely catered to, and the extractions especially made my back feel like it was ready to take on the summer in a bathing suit. I’ll definitely be going back to Yoli for my bacials, and can’t wait to rock glowy skin on my back long after the summer season is over.