Those of you who suffer from acne probably know that they aren’t usually contained to the face. Acne can occur on any body part that has oil-secreting glands or hair follicles, including your back, chest, shoulders and butt. When acne occurs on the back, we call it bacne.
What Causes Bacne?
Bacne and other body acne is the result of an accumulation of dead skin cells and oil (sebum) within the pores in the skin, combined with an overgrowth of a common skin bacteria, Cutibacterium acnes, which triggers an inflammatory response, leading to bumps and pustules. Typically, individuals with oily skin and hormonal disorders are more likely to experience this skin condition.
Fortunately, in most cases, bacne and other body acne can be managed by some simple skin care tips and change of habits. Early treatment of bacne plays a very important role as it prevents and reduces acne scars from forming!
Types of Acne Lesions That Can Occur on the Back:
- Whiteheads Also referred to as closed comedones, whiteheads develop when a plugged follicle stays closed and underneath your skin, forming a white bump.
- Blackheads When a plugged follicle located on the surface of your skin opens, it forms a blackhead, also referred to as an open comedone. The black-tip appearance of blackheads is due to a reaction between sebum and the air, not because dirt has filled your follicle.
- Papules Acne lesions that appear as small pink bumps on your skin, and are sometimes tender, are called papules. This type of acne doesn’t contain pus and forms when a clogged hair follicle becomes inflamed.
- Pustules Also called a pimple, a pustule is a white or yellow pus-filled papule with a reddened base. These lesions also result from inflammation in a clogged hair follicle. A buildup of white blood cells causes the pustule to fill with pus.
- Nodules This type of acne forms when bacteria also become trapped in a hair follicle. These lesions develop deep below the surface of your skin, where it hardens and forms a large, painful nodule. The deeper location of the lesion causes tissue damage, resulting in an inflammatory response.
- Cysts Cysts are larger, pus-filled acne lesions that also form when bacteria become trapped in a hair follicle. With cystic acne, the infection extends deeper into the skin, resulting in a painful lump that can cause a permanent scar.
TOP 10 Tips to Prevent & Treat Bacne
You can’t always control whether you get back acne because the main factors that predispose one to “bacne” — hormonal fluctuations and genetics — are out of your control. You can, however, take steps to reduce your chances of developing it and help manage the severity of the breakouts.
1. Wash Your Skin Regularly
Choose body washes that say, “noncomedogenic” or “oil-free” on the package to avoid clogging your pores. Use a wash that is specifically designed for acne and spot treat the area, like Environ’s Sebu-Wash Gel Cleanser or face wash with 5-10% Benzoyl Peroxide and leave it on for 60-90 seconds and rinse off. This can be done daily up to twice a day.
2. Limit Your Use of Oil-Based Skin-Care Products
Try not to use skin-care products with oil, including moisturizers and cosmetics, on your back. These can lead to back acne flare-ups.
3. Eliminate Pressure on Your Back
Anything that results in increased sweating and friction on your back, such as backpacks, sports gear, and back braces, can cause back acne. Try to use a backpack that’s lightweight and fits properly to minimize friction on the back.
4. Avoid Certain Medications
Some drugs, including androgens (male hormones) and lithium, are known to increase your chances of developing acne. If you take any of these medications, talk with your doctor about possible alternative treatments.
5. Use an Over-the-Counter Treatment
For mild back acne, over-the-counter acne gel/cream or spot-treat, like the Botanical Infused Sebu-Spot Blemish Gel from Environ containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, camphor, tea tree oil, and sulfur can help get rid of blemishes and prevent new ones from growing.
6. Shower Right After Working Out
Breakouts on the back and body can be exacerbated by working out or simply sweating more. Whenever possible, shower right after exercising to help remove sweat that may be irritating the skin and causing clogged pores on your back.
7. Wear Clean Clothes & Wash Your Sheets
Dirty clothes can harbor sweat, oil, and dirt, further irritating the skin and contributing to the development of acne. It’s always best to wear loose clothing during exercise, and to remove sweaty clothing after a workout. Get into a habit of changing or washing your sheets once or twice a week, especially if you’re a back sleeper.
8. Don’t Pick at Zits on Your Back
As with regular acne, avoid picking any bacne or body acne. Just like with your face, picking acne on your body can spread bacteria and cause more pimples, as well as lead to scarring.
9. Schedule a Back Facial
While there are great things you can do for yourself at home, to get even better results, schedule an appointment to get a back treatment with a skin-care professional. Unlike a DIY treatment, a back facial with a licensed medical aesthetician will deep-clean clogged pores, as well as give a powerful, professional-strength exfoliation to boost the results of your home care.
10. Treat Acne from the Inside Out
Back acne is a real challenge to treat, if self-care measures don’t improve your back acne, consult a dermatologist. Prescription oral antibiotics, retinoids, antihormonal are found to be helpful with Bacne, particularly those with extreme cystic acne. They may find that antibiotics are more powerful and may be needed to avoid long-term scarring.
Bacne is easier to hide than face acne, but this doesn’t mean you have to live with these lesions. The proper skin-care routine can help lessen breakouts on your back, resulting in clearer, healthier-looking skin.
Book a complementary consultation to find out how GMA’s medical-grade skincare and peel treatments can help you with your Bacne!