Bacne is a condition that affects many men and women. There are causes and thankfully steps to take to treat. This article exams why back acne occurs and what can be done to reduce its appearance.
What Causes Back Acne?
Having acne on your face is bad enough, but at least you can try and do something about that, you can conceal breakouts with concealers or makeup.
But what do you do when your back and shoulders explode in a myriad of spots, bumps and pimples?
Dealing with back acne ( AKA bacne) is much more of a challenging scenario for the majority of us.
If you are a fan of low backed dresses or vest tops, you are less likely to want to wear them. It’s important to try and understand the reasons why our backs can have break outs.
Once we know why they happen, we can then try to understand how to treat the breakouts when they occur.
There are three key factors (1) that contribute to to back acne.
- Excess Dead Skin Cells
- Overactive Oil Glands
- Build up of the acne causing bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (p.acnes)
These can all combine to create a build up of acne on any part of our body, it is our back and chest that is particularly prone to skin problems.
Acne occurs when the levels of certain hormones increase, it can cause the glands in our skin to increase production of sebum, a natural skin oil produced in our sebaceous glands.
This excess oil becomes trapped in our skin pores along with dead skin cells.
We shed dead skin cells almost constantly, this causes the acne bacteria to develop in the pores making them infected which leads to the appearance of spots, and pimples.
The fact is that our skin on our back is thicker than most parts of our body, and therefore the risk of getting blocked pores is very high.
Another factor to be aware of is that the upper part of our body has many more sebaceous oil glands per square inch than the lower parts of the body.
These two factors combined create the perfect scenario for the development of back acne.
How Long Does Back Acne Last ?
Back acne can be treated, and most treatments can clear the majority of cases within 4-8 weeks.
There are also some lifestyle changes that you can make to both reduce the outbreaks and speed their healing
What Is Back Acne A Sign Of ?
Back acne is completely different to the acne that appears on your face. Although both are caused by trapped bacteria in the pores leading to inflammation and infection.
“Having back acne could also be telling you something about your health and lifestyle.”
You might be genetically programmed to have skin problems. Experts tell us that in most cases, it’s not your fault that you have acne.
Studies have shown that some people can be more prone to breakouts than others. If this is the case, you can make some lifestyle and dietary changes to try and make your skin healthier.
It might take time to work out what triggers your breakouts, but at least you should be aware that you are not doing anything wrong per se.
Your Love Of Tight Fitting Clothes
Wearing tight clothes looks great, but what you may not know is that it can cause a whole host of health problems, the list is quite long from UTI’s right through to back acne.
Tight clothing can reduce the chances of having healthy skin, as it can stop sweat evaporating, preventing the skin from breathing efficiently, which leads to clogged pores.
To find out if your back acne is being aggravated by your clothing choices, try to stop wearing tight clothes for a week, if your breakouts subside, then you know the cause.
It also proves that your back acne isn’t caused by anything more serious.
If you don’t want to give up on your tight clothing, remember that breathability is essential. Look for clothes made from fabrics that allow your skin to breath.
Wash Your Bed Sheets More Regularly
Most of us spend over a third of our lives in bed, but its essential to make sure that your bed is your sanctuary and not a hazard to your health and skin.
Bed sheets can be a haven for bacteria. Dirt and oils from your skin can collect on them, and if allowed to build up can increase the risk of acne breakouts, eczema and other problems such as allergies.
It’s quite shocking really that most people do not wash their sheets regularly, they should be washed every seven days.
You Might Be Staying In Your Clothes Too Long
If you go to a dance class or yoga, its often tempting to straight from the studio to the local coffee shop for brunch.
Try to schedule in an extra but of time to have a shower and change your clothes.
Remaining in sweaty clothes (2) for extended periods of time allows acne causing bacteria to multiply on the skin.
Its not just acne too, your sweaty clothing could also be responsible for a weakened immunity, and unpleasant things like yeast infections too
A major cause of back acne, if your acne does not clear up after you have changed your clothes and starting washing your sheets more regularly then it might be the time to discuss your hormone levels with your doctor.
Men who have back acne can aggravate the problem by taking testosterone supplements or anabolic steroids. Women with problems such as polycystic ovaries can also experience breakouts all over their backs.
How Can You Get Rid Of Back Acne Scars?
A difficult subject, especially in those who have darker skin. If you have scars caused by back acne its probably best to consult with a skin specialist.
Acne scars can take many forms, the most common is called PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation) This is a very common post back acne issue that falls under the classification of scarring.
As the skin starts to heal, both collagen and the skins natural pigment (melanin) become more active.
The pigment can reproduce in excess amounts being stimulated by inflammation leaving odd coloured patches and scarring where the acne was before.
There are some effective treatments that can work really well to reduce the appearance of acne scarring.
Laser treatments are known to be effective, but treatment costs can be restrictive being upwards of $630 (£500) per course of treatment.
Micro needling can also work, but there have been cases, especially in people with darker skin where they are left with odd coloured patches.
There are of course a number of over the counter treatments that can help to improve the skins suppleness in and around the scarred area, but there are limits as to what they can do.
How Do You Treat Back Acne At Home?
There are a lot of things that you can do to treat your back acne at home. Here are a few:
Shower After Your Workouts
Allowing dirt and sweat to remain on you skin after a lengthy workouts can be a major cause of back acne.
Shower and change your clothes as quickly as possible after a workout and wash those sweaty clothes everytime.
If for any reason you are unable to get into the shower straight after workout, you could try wiping the skin down with pads containing salicylic or glycolic acid.
These can be effective in the short term, but the key is to have a shower as soon as you can after working out.
Exfoliating with a good exfoliating product will help to reduce dead skin that can clog your skin, causing those annoying breakouts.
Look for ingredients including salicylic acid for maximum effects.
Tie Long Hair Back
Long hair can add oil and dirt to the skin on your back, increasing the build up and making bacne worse.
Wash hair regularly, and tie it up into a ponytail or bun while working out.
When washing your hair, try to avoid letting shampoo or conditioner from running down and sitting on your back for long periods of time as these can in some cases contribute to clogged pores
Try Using Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree oil is a very popular treatment in Australia, it has been used to treat numerous skin conditions for years. There are many products out there that contain it, including lotions, cleansers and moisturising creams.
Studies have shown that it may help to reduce the bacteria responsible for acne breakouts.
Protect Your Skin From The Sun
Using sunscreen is essential to maintaining healthy, clear skin. Just beware of what you are using, as heavy, greasy products can block the pores.
Look for oil free products which are light on the skin
You Are What You Eat
A diet that is full of unhealthy foods can trigger back acne breakouts.
Those high on the Glycemic Index (GI) which cause fast increase in blood sugar levels are known to make acne breakouts worse.
White foods, such as bread, pasta and rice, along with white potatoes are some the worse foods for causing acne breakouts
Try to increase your intake of the following:
- Whole foods,
- Lean meats and other sources of protein
Can I Get Rid Of Back Acne Permanently ?
The answer to this question is ‘Possibly’
It really depends on what triggers your back acne breakouts, if it is caused by a genetic problem, its going to be rather difficult to eradicate it completely.
If your back acne is caused by your diet or lifestyle, then a few small changes as detailed above can make a huge difference to your breakouts.
If you continue to apply these changes, potentially remove back acne from your life completely.
Severe cases of back acne have been seen to respond to treatments involving 5-10% benzoyl peroxide body wash.
It’s not for everyone as it can be little harsh on the skin, so it’s not really suitable for sensitive skin.
It aggressively kills the bacteria that causes those unwanted breakouts.
Just be aware, it can stain your towels and clothing, so make sure that you rinse your skin thoroughly once you have finished using.
It is advisable to protect your bed linen, wear a light cotton, preferably white tee shirt to bed.
Getting Rid Of Back Acne – Summary
There is no doubt that back acne is a treatable condition for most if not all cases.
The first thing that you need to try and do is to discover the root cause of the problem.
The majority of cases can be cleared up by simple lifestyle and dietary changes as detailed this article.
If you do suffer from persistent back acne you might need the help of either over the counter treatments ( These usually come in the form of creams, and lotion.)
If your condition persists or gets worse, you may need to engage the services of a skin care expert or go to your doctor and ask to be referred to a dermatologist.
Treatments that are known to be very effective can use a wide range of ingredients, some natural and others chemical based.
Back Acne Ingredients
Here are few effective ingredients that you should look for when choosing treatments:
- Azelaic acid (3)
- Salicylic Acid
- Glycolic acid
- Tea Tree Oil
- Green Tea
- Passion Flower
- Licorice Root
- Aloe Vera (4)
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Sage Extract (5)
We couldn’t finish this article without giving you a list of ingredients that you really should avoid.
These are known to cause damage to the skin, they can also make the problem far, far worse.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Synthetic fragrances and colors
We are also advocates of no-animal testing too, so would strongly recommend that you avoid anything that uses animal testing in its development.
Young men are more likely to suffer from acne on their back than women
Yes, there are many thing you can do from changing your lifestyle to eating more healthily to using natural skin care products.