Use Specially Formulated Cleansers
Take advantage of cleansers made specifically to fight bacne, like the CeraVe Salicylic Acid Body Wash . As the name suggests, this cleanser deposits salicylic acid wherever you need it most, leaving you feeling ultra-clean and helping you to fight acne all over your body. Another option is to use a benzoyl peroxidelaced wash, like PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash .
If body washes are more your style, try Murads Acne Body Wash, $44. The trifecta of salicylic acid, green tea, and licorice root extract reduces redness, soothes inflammation, and unclogs pores. If you’re still not seeing results with OTC products, ask your dermatologist about prescription-strength washes, too.
Best Products For Back Acne
If you have chronic back acne that doesnt respond to natural remedies, your next step is to purchase over-the-counter products.
Acne body washes formulated with active ingredients are safe to use every day. If desired, you can apply spot treatments to individual blemishes. Anti-acne body sprays, which are designed to be left on the skin all day, are also available for easy application on hard-to-reach areas like the back.
All these products work by killing acne-causing bacteria or reducing sebum production to dry out existing blemishes and prevent new ones from forming.
What Does Back Acne Mean
As the name suggests, back acne means acne breakout on the back area of your body. Similar to your facial skin, your back skin too contains millions of follicles connected to millions of sebaceous glands that secrete sebum. When these follicles or skin pores are filled with sebum trapping in dead skin, sweat and bacteria, it leads to inflammation and acne breakout on your back.
The upper back area has a large number of sweat glands but lacks proper air circulation as it gets covered by our clothes. Hence, the upper back area is more prone to acne breakouts caused by the buildup of sweat and sebum in skin pores when compared to the lower back area, says Dr. Zeel.
Don’t Miss: How Much Is Laser Acne Scar Removal
Try Topical Chemical Peels
Either as a wipe-on pad or a medicated body wash in the showerwhich is an easy way to apply to the whole backtopical chemical peels are helpful in treating back acne. Usually containing a potent ingredient, such as an alpha or beta hydroxy acid, they work by sloughing off dead surface cells, increasing cell turnover, and revealing fresh skin.”Look for ingredients like glycolic acid,” recommends Nazarian, “as it helps to remove surface skin cells and diminish acne scars with time.”
It’s important to note that peels often lead to overly sensitive skin, so those who undergo a treatment on their back should take special care to cover their skin from the sun and slather on the sunscreen.
When To See A Dermatologist For Back Acne
If you do not notice any significant improvement even after regular treatments for six to eight weeks, then you need to consult your dermatologist for further evaluation of your skin condition.
Seek your doctors advice before using any of the treatments mentioned in this article for back acne.
The Last Word
Even though acne breakouts on the back are easier to hide under your clothing unlike facial acne, it does not mean you can leave it untreated. This can further lead to severe acne lesions and scarring which might get difficult to treat later. Consult your doctor immediately if the condition worsens. Additionally, follow a proper Ayurvedic skincare routine, eat a balanced diet, and practice healthy lifestyle practices to keep your doshas in a balanced state which in turn will make your skin healthy and beautiful.
At Vedix, we customize an Ayurvedic skin regimen by analyzing your skin condition and dosha imbalances in your body.
Read Also: Do I Have Fungal Acne
Causes Of Chest Acne And Back Acne
Acne is thought to be related to the sensitivity of your sebaceous glands. These are glands that produce sebum, an oily substance that keeps the skin lubricated.
In people with acne, the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum. This excess sebum plugs the hair follicles in the skin and mixes with dead skin cells. Bacteria on the skin that is otherwise harmless can infect these plugged follicles and cause painful, pus-filled spots.
BreakoutsIf you have acne, youll probably live with spots most of the time simply because thats how your skin works. However, you might notice that certain things trigger worse breakouts, or cause particularly severe spots like nodules or cysts.
Breakouts of chest or back acne might be triggered if the skin in those areas is rubbed or put under pressure. One example would be wearing a backpack, or a bag with a strap that goes across your chest.
You might also have more severe acne on your back and chest because you treat these areas differently to your face. Because your back and chest can be harder to see and reach, and because they arent usually on display, its easy to end up neglecting the skin here.
When To Seek Medical Advice
If you have mild acne, speak to a pharmacist about medicines to treat it.
If these do not control your acne, or it’s making you feel very unhappy, see a GP.
You should see a GP if you have moderate or severe acne or you develop nodules or cysts, as they need to be treated properly to avoid scarring.
Try to resist the temptation to pick or squeeze the spots, as this can lead to permanent scarring.
Treatments can take up to 3 months to work, so do not expect results overnight. Once they do start to work, the results are usually good.
You May Like: What Causes Chin Acne In Adults
Incorporate Probiotics Into Your Diet And Skin
Whether you add fermented foods like kimchi, miso, yogurt, and kefir, or take a daily supplement, probiotics can boost the health of the skin’s microbiome. “Taking an oral probiotic daily really does help to not only reset the gastrointestinal flora, but can actually help the skin flora as well,” says Engelman. Luckily, probiotic supplements are readily available thanks to brands like Olly and Tula , at a variety of price points.
When To Seek Out An Expert
Its never too early to involve a dermatologist and develop a relationship with them, Moshiri says.
You may think you can only turn to a dermatologist in more severe cases where prescription medication or intensive treatments are needed, but its OK to seek help for more simple scenarios, like deciding on a skin care routine.
And if youve tried various products and arent seeing results, a dermatologist can conduct a physical exam, perform testing if necessary and develop a treatment plan that will be most helpful for you.
It helps to talk with a dermatologist to arrive at an accurate diagnosis, Moshiri says. Once we know whats going on we are better able to treat it, so dont be afraid to come see us.
Also Check: How To Reduce Cystic Acne
Use A Benzoyl Peroxide Wash Daily
Benzoyl peroxide is an over the counter medication that is bactericidal, meaning it kills acne causing bacteria. When used with antibiotics, it can help prevent antibiotic resistance. In addition, it helps turn over and remove the oil and dead skin cells within clogged pores.
For the back, benzoyl peroxide based washes are preferable to leave on preparations, due to its potential for bleaching fabrics. Ideally choose a 10% wash and leave on the skin for 2 minutes before rinsing. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry with a white towel to prevent tie-dyeing. Typically, breakouts begin to respond to a topical regimen in 4-6 weeks. To learn more about benzoyl peroxide acne treatment, visit ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
How To Prevent Back Acne
According to Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology, “Because the back has a high density of sweat and oil glands, and is generally covered with clothing, its prone to heat-trapping, occlusion, and pressure,” Nazarian explains. All of these factors increase the chances of back acne formation and scarring.
- Avoid backpacks: Rubbing and friction can cause a type of acne on the back called acne mechanica.
- Use an acne-medicated body wash: Washing with an acne-specific body cleanser will help to decrease acne pimples and inflammation. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid that break up blocked, clogged pores and decrease back acne inflammation.
- Wear breathable clothing: To avoid trapping sweat and heat, try wearing fabrics such as cotton rather than polyblend fabrics.
- Dont pick: Even though some of our back acne pimples may be within our reach, picking only increases injury to the skin and makes it even more likely scars will form.
- Dont sunbathe: Although it may be tempting to camouflage acne pimples with a tan, this will increase redness and the pigment that acne leaves behind, leaving those scars around longer and preventing them from fading.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Facial Cleanser For Acne
Wear The Right Clothing Type
Wearing the right clothing during heavy physical activities such as working out helps avoid back acne breakouts. Tight clothes and excessive sweating are the perfect recipes for acne-causing bacteria to thrive and grow.
Make sure that you wear light clothing with breathable fabric. This will ensure that oils, dirt, and bacteria arent pushed deeper into your pores, clogging it up.
Tips To Prevent Back Acne
1. Avoid wearing tight-fit clothing which makes your skin unbreathable, especially during heavy workout sessions. Choose cotton-based sports clothing instead.
2. Always take a proper bath after your sweaty workout sessions.
3. Use a non-abrasive, mild body cleanser to gently clean your back using your fingertips.
4. Stay away from harsh, heavy-oil-based or chemical-laden products such as cleansers, body sprays, etc.
5. Avoid squeezing, scrubbing or popping out your acne.
6. Avoid tanning beds and limit sun exposure on your acne-affected back region.
7. Avoid certain medications such as lithium-based drugs which can interfere with your hormonal production in the body. Always, talk to your doctor before taking any such medication.
8. Avoid exerting any kind of friction and pressure on your back that might be caused by constantly using heavy backpacks or sports gear. Instead, opt for lightweight backpacks.
9. Do not repeat wearing your clothes without washing them properly, especially your sportswear.
10. Change your sheets regularly and never let dirty floors or surfaces come in contact with your back.
You May Like: How Do You Know You Have Hormonal Acne
How To Get Rid Of Back Acne Once And For All
All products featured on GQ are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The first thing to know about how to get rid of back acne is that it’s not like the pimples you get on your face. Yes, its similar in that the pores clog and bacteria is often to blame, and also you get incredibly confused and angry and emotional about it . But it’s different in that it comes with its own rulebook for treating and preventing it.
Luckily bacne is very treatable and very preventable. And I didnt know all the ways to keep it at bay until I sourced a bunch of board-certified dermatologists for the answers. We got the advice they often give their own patients in regards to back acne, and now theyve got your back, too: Here’s how to get rid of back acne.
How To Get Rid Of Back Acne Scars
Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation is treated with hydroquinone, a skin bleaching agent. Particularly dark patches of hyperpigmentation can be lightened with laser therapy and chemical peels.
Read Also: How To Treat Your Acne
What Does Back Acne Look Like
- The back acne can be in the form of blackheads which appear as open comedones with a dark brown or black surface on the top.
- The whiteheads formed on your back look like small and closed white-coloured domes.
- Papules formed on your back may appear as red, painful bumps. When these papules develop pus, you can notice a white tip on those bumps which are called pustules.
- Sometimes, your back may also develop cysts that appear as large, painful, pus-filled bumps.
- Your back area is the most common area for nodules which are hard, enclosed, painful lumps beneath your skin.
Here Are Some Ways You Can Treat Bacne
Perhaps the most popular ingredient in acne products, this beta-hydroxy acid can get deeper into pores than other cleaning ingredients to wash out built-up grime and toxins below the surface. In addition, it can clear existing pimples and control oil, so fewer new pimples grow in their place. You can use a body wash with salicylic acid to treat acne on the back. You can also opt for a salicylic acid mask.
RetinoidsWhile retinoids are commonly used to help encourage exfoliation and speed up cell turnover on the face, it is also safe to use on the body. For instance, when you find acne on your back, you can apply retinoid creams like Differin all over that area. This will remove the current acne and dead cell buildup and discourage the growth of other potential blemishes in the area. Dont use it as a spot treatment, though.
While it might not be the easiest to reach, the back should also be exfoliated regularly, almost daily, just as the face and the rest of the body. To do this, you can buy body scrubs, loofahs on strings and sticks, as well as cucumber sponges. Deeper exfoliation measures should be taken every few weeks as well. You can also book an appointment for a back facial.
Don’t Miss: How To Lose Acne Fast
Pigmentation And Acne Scarring Treatments
Taking care to prevent new pimples is the first step to fighting pigmentation and scarring. Once your acne is under control, your have more options to deal with the after-effects.
Pigmentation from acne or folliculitis can be extremely frustrating and can last months to years if not addressed, Moshiri says. Try to be patient time actually is on your side. While it can take your body a long time to clear up pigmentation, it will clear up, eventually.
That said, if left untreated, scarring can be permanent.
To avoid this, apply topical retinoids or products that contain hydroquinone, glycolic acid, azelaic acid, or tranexamic acid, which help lighten pigmentation. It is also important to use noncomedogenic sunscreen, both as a general skin care rule and because it will prevent further pigmentation.
For those who do need more intensive treatments, options include chemical peels, microneedling and skin lasers, which target pigment by brightening the skin and stimulating new collagen production, filling in the indentations left by scars. Just be sure to consult with a trusted doctor before moving forward with any of these procedures, as they should be done under the guidance of an experienced specialist.
Back Acne Prevention Tips
Here are tips that may help control acne anywhere on the body.
- Dont over-wash or use harsh scrubs. Acne is not caused by dirt. Two gentle washings a day is enough. Too much cleaning can leave skin irritated and dry, triggering glands to produce more oil, increasing the likelihood of pimples.
- Use oil-free or noncomedogenic products on your face.
- Dont squeeze or pick blemishes. Popping pimples can drive acne bacteria deeper into the skin. Picking can lead to more inflammation and permanent scarring.
Things that can make back acne worse
- Friction caused by leaning on or rubbing the skin, think sports especially
- Sweat left on the body too long
- Harsh scrubbing of your back
- Picking or squeezing blemishes
- Pressure from bike helmets, backpacks, or tight collars and gym gear
- Changing hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women two to seven days before the start of the menstrual period
Read Also: How To Clear Bad Acne Fast
How To Treat Back Acne
You dont need a medical degree to tackle bacne, because the treatment for regular acne, folliculitis, and acne mechanica are pretty much the same. The same ingredients that help acne on your face, like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, can help on body acne, too. Keeping the area clean and exfoliated is a given as well.
As with most things, prevention is far more effective than treatment, Finney says. Always make sure to shower as quickly as possible after working out and change into dry clothes to prevent sweat from sticking around on your skin . Keep using skincare products, like body washes and exfoliators, even after your bacne has cleared up to keep it from coming back. Acne-focused skincare can work wonders on mild to moderate cases of bacne, but if you have severe outbreaks or notice that its not going away despite treatment, see a dermatologist. There might be underlying issues like hormones or diet at play. But for now, start with these 17 best back acne treatments to help get rid of annoying bacne and prevent it in the future.
Dexterity issues be damned, a spray containing salicylic acid can help you treat hard-to-reach areas like your mid-back or between your shoulder blades. This version is a leave-on treatment, which means you spray it on after your shower and let it go to work without washing it off.
Light And Laser Therapy
A dermatologist may recommend and perform laser or light therapy for acne. This involves exposing the skin to a special type of light during regular sessions for a set period.
There are different types of light therapy:
- Red, blue, or infrared light therapy can treat pimples but not whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, or nodules.
- At-home light therapy devices can treat pimples, but the light is less intense than the one a dermatologist uses.
For lesions that leave noticeable scars, a dermatologist can use procedures such as laser treatments, microneedling, and chemical peels to reduce the appearance.
The acne-friendly skin care routine outlined by the AAD and summarized above can help prevent back acne, as well as treat it. A gentle cleanser, noncomedogenic moisturizer, and adequate sun protection may be all a person needs.
Other skin care strategies that can prevent or reduce acne and skin irritation include:
- regularly washing bed linens, towels, and pillowcases
- regularly washing clothes, particularly tight-fitting ones, such as bras
- avoiding things that rub against the back, such as backpacks
- exercising in loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibers, such as cotton
- showering and changing clothes immediately after exercise or using cleansing wipes
- washing workout clothes and equipment after each use
Acne affects many people. Certain factors that can contribute to or raise the risk of its development include:
Also Check: Why Am I Getting Acne