Many people will end up with acne in their lifetime. This grouping of pimples on the skin can be bothersome, unflattering, and difficult to treat. When an oil gland in your skin gets clogged with dead skin and oil, bacteria begins to build up and an infection starts. This infection causes a raised bump in the skin called a pimple. They can have a red, black, or white tip, and vary in size. Although most people associate acne with being on the face, it can exist on other areas of the body as well, including the back, arms, and buttocks.
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Dealing With Back Acne
Acne located on the back, or “bacne”, can be especially difficult. Not only is it in a place that’s hard to reach, in circumstances when the acne in painful, it can become hard to sit back in a chair or lay in bed. Thankfully, there is an abundance of information out there to help you learn how to prevent, treat, and eventually cure back acne for good.
- Sweat: Clothing soaked in sweat and left against the skin is a major contributer to what causes back acne. After exercising, make sure you change your clothes and wash your body off to prevent new acne from forming.
- Clothing: Make sure your clothes are loose and breathable, allowing air to circulate and keep the skin on your back as dry and sweat-free as possible. Wearing tight clothing or backpacks will cause more sweat to accumulate, which then easily clogs the pores in your skin.
- Showering: Always shower after exercise or excess sweating, taking care to wash your back off as thoroughly as possible.
Getting Rid Of Back Acne
When it comes to treatment options, it’s important to know how to get rid of back acne. There are lifestyle changes and adjustments you can make, as well as many products available designed to clear back acne fast. Because of the location of your back acne, you may need someone to help apply any lotions or cleansers.
Showering regularly, especially after exercise, will help to clear up and prevent acne on the back. There are body washes available that target acne specifically, or you may want to use an acne wash made for the face–although not designed for your back, these cleansers work well to clear up acne all over the body.
The best cleansers for back acne will be gentle and oil-free. Many contain Salicylic Acid and/or Benzoyl Peroxide, which are common ingredients in acne-fighting washes and creams. Some cleansers contain only natural ingredients, such as aloe vera or honey, to soothe irritation and kill the bacteria causing the acne.
A build-up of dead skin will increase the chances of your acne worsening or reappearing.
Exfoliating the skin’s surface by regularly will help keep your pores clear and unclogged. But be careful–harsh exfoliation can actually do more harm than good. It can irritate the acne even further and break open skin, spreading more bacteria and oil to the surrounding area. Gently scrub your skin with a loofah or exfoliation cloth every time you shower.
Make sure to continue using products on your back even after the acne clears up. Whether it’s lifestyle changes, cleansers, medications, or a combination of them, stopping these treatments will only make the acne return again.
Treatment Through Medication
There are many different options for treating back acne with medication. These range from prescriptions to over-the-counter gels and creams that you can buy at any drugstore. If using a good cleanser isn’t improving your acne, consider one of these medications for treatment.
- Salicylic Acid: Creams, lotions, gels, and cleansers with salicylic acid are some of the best products for back acne. It helps to exfoliate the top layer of skin, getting rid of extra dead skin which helps prevent more pores from being clogged. It can also penetrate into the pimples and help dissolve dead skin trapped inside.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: This compound acts like an antibiotic, killing 99% of the bacteria that invade and clog your pores. Like salicylic acid, it’s also an exfoliant, dissolving dead skin to clear and prevent breakouts. Available in strengths ranging from 2.5%-10%, it comes in creams, gels, or cleansers. If you are pregnant, make sure to talk to your doctor before using any products with benzoyl peroxide, as the effects on pregnancy are unclear. Like other peroxides, this product can stain clothing and sheets, and should be completely dry on your skin before dressing or getting into bed.
- Adapalene: This topical retinoid gel has the brand name of “Differin”. It slows down the build-up of dead skin cells that clog pores, and works as an anti-inflammatory as well. Side effects include sun sensitivity, redness, dryness, and itching.
- Azelaic Acid: Made under the brand name of “Azelex”, this acid is naturally occurring and helps increase the skin renewal rate, minimizing the dead cells on the skin’s surface. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, and kills the bacteria clogging your pores. Side effects are generally mild and may include redness, dryness, and itching.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: This over-the-counter medication is also available in a higher strength with a prescription. Some dryness, redness, and itching can be felt for the first few weeks of use, which is known as the “hardening effect”, and should begin to go away afterward. Let your doctor know if the side effects become worse or intolerable.
- Topical Antibiotics: Erythromycin and Clindamycin come in topical forms. They work by killing the bacteria that invade your pores and cause the acne. Watch for signs of an antibiotic allergy such as redness, hives, or trouble breathing.
- Isotrentinoin (Accutane): This medication is a derivative of vitamin A and is taken in pill form for 4-5 months. Doctors usually only prescribe this for severe forms of acne that don’t respond to other treatments. One course of Isotrentinoin has been shown to greatly decrease or even completely eliminate acne long-term. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant or think you may become pregnant, as it causes severe complications and birth defects.
- Oral Antibiotics: Antibiotics such as Erythromycin, Azithryomycin, Bactrim, and Minocin can be prescribed in pill form. These aggressively kill the bacteria inside your clogged pores.
Natural Home Remedies
Just like there are many ways to treat your back acne through products and medications, there are also many things you can do at home with things straight from your kitchen or grocery store. For back acne, you may need to have someone help you with application.
Eating an unhealthy diet can help contribute to acne all over the body. Foods loaded with fat, sugar and a high amount of dairy can all increase oil production in the skin, increasing the amount of clogged pores and acne. Make sure your diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and whole grains.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for years as a natural remedy for various ailments, including acne. It works as an antibiotic, killing the bacteria invading your pores, and as an exfoliant, clearing away excess dead skin cells. The pH balance of your skin can be controlled by Apple cider vinegar, regulating oil production, and it also soothes your acne, helping with inflammation that causes redness and pain.
Pour some apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle with a little bit of water, then spray your back and let dry, then wash off with water. For a cooling effect, store the spray bottle in the refrigerator.
This sweet food has been used for centuries for many purposes. When applied to the skin, honey acts as an antibiotic and antiseptic, killing the pimples’ bacteria. Its sticky texture pulls dirt from your skin, and it’s loaded with antioxidants and natural soothing agents, helping with the redness and irritation that can come with back acne.
Spread onto the acne on your back, let sit for 30 minutes, then wash off with water.
Tea Tree Oil
This oil has been around for centuries as a natural healer. Although it may sound ineffective to apply oil to your skin, this type of oil won’t cause your pores to be clogged, but will actually help to clear them. Tea tree oil kills bacteria on the skin and inside your pores, and decreases the inflammation that comes with it. Unlike harsh chemicals, it won’t strip your skin of its natural oils.
Using a q-tip or cotton ball, apply tea tree oil directly to your acne. Leave on for a few hours or overnight, then wash off with water.Information
Tea Tree oil comes from Melaleuca leaves native to Australia, and has been used for various healing purposes for over 100 years. 5% strength Tea Tree Oil can be as effective as a product with 5% benzoyl peroxide.
- Lemon Juice
The natural acid found in lemon acts as an exfoliant, clearing away the excess dead skin on the surface of your back, preventing new acne from forming. Lemon juice acids also act as a skin lightener, helping acne scars to fade faster.
Apply directly to your acne, then wash off with water once it dries.
Products To Try
Back Acne Cream
- Proactive Solutions X Out Body Scrub Kit: This 3-step system includes a spot treatment gel to deliver medication directly onto each pimple, along with a medicated body wash that targets pore-clogging bacteria, and exfoliant scrub to get rid of excess dead skin.
- Neutrogena Naturals Acne Spot Treatment: Using salicylic acid and extracts from the wintergreen leaf, this cream targets the bacteria in acne while soothing the skin all at once.
- Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control Moisturizer: This oil-free moisturizer uses a low amount of salicylic acid to combat acne while delivering just the right amount of essential hydration.
- Yes To Tomatoes Daily Balancing Moisturizer: Using natural ingredients such as aloe vera and cocoa butter, this moisturizer sucks up excess oil, preventing future breakouts.
It can be frustrating to deal with back acne but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Using any of the many treatment methods available not only gets you a clean, acne-free back, but also the peace of mind knowing that your skin will feel fresh and smooth in no time.