Many people silently suffer from back acne while being too embarrassed to talk to their doctors about it or to get products that actually work. Other people allow their back acne to rule their lives, preventing them from enjoying summertime public activities like swimming or relaxing at the beach. While back acne, also known as bacne, can be a frustrating experience, there is no reason to avoid the problem and consider hiding away from the activities you’ve come to enjoy.
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What is back acne
To best explain back acne you need to understand acne in general. Why? Simply because both back acne and the more common facial acne are almost identical with only a few subtle differences that make having back acne more of a pain location wise. Acne is first and foremost a skin condition born of dead skins cells and the bacteria found on your body plugging up the follicles your hair grows out of. Back acne is the same skin condition with this same root cause, however on your back as opposed to your face.
Always take a shower after exercise or any activity in which you sweat heavily to reduce and prevent breakouts of back acne. Sweat contains your body’s waste and bacteria among other things and when left to sit for prolonged periods on your skin can make acne prone individuals worse or extend the life of a current breakout.
Why do I have back acne?
The human body produces natural oils for your skin and hair called sebum. Sebum is produced by your sebaceous glands that are found in pores all over your body.
These pores can get clogged up with sebum, dead skin and bacteria. Once clogged up irritation and infection can occur resulting in back acne.
Reasons for back acne
- Overuse of hair products: Know all those odd sounding ingredients in your shampoos and conditioner that people are always saying are bad? Well here is another reason to think twice about overusing them. Sulfates are typical in many hair care products and when used too frequently or not properly rinsed off, can block the pores of the skin on your back.
- Puberty: Most teenagers can recall a time when breakouts of acne accompanied the raging hormones of puberty. There is good reason that this is so common. When you enter puberty the levels of androgen increase and reach high peaks for both boys and girls. One of the side effects of increased levels of androgen is growing sebaceous glands. Larger glands of course means more oil produced, giving your skin pores a much higher chance of becoming clogged.
- Stress: Just like puberty stress can cause the body to produce significantly more of your hormones than normal. In this case it is cortisol and again, androgen who are no friends to your pores and oil glands. So stressing yourself out about your back acne may ultimately only make the problem worse.
- Genetics: Lets face it, not everything can be your fault right? Genetics has been shown to be a large factor in sufferers of back acne.
Understanding the common acne fighting ingredients is a must for treatment. Salicylic acid removes dead skin cells more quickly to prevent buildup and reduces inflammation, preventing clogs that cause acne. Benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria that causes acne and pimples and sulfur absorbs the excess oil from your skin. Combining too many acne treatments together at the same time can worsen acne.
Looking at the myriad of reasons you might be suffering from back acne can scare you into thinking there is no hope or escape. The truth of the matter is back acne is extremely treatable and with the correct products and once gone, can be prevented from coming back with an effective skin care regimen. Knowing why you are suffering is just one piece of the puzzle, you must also learn how to get rid of back acne.
What causes back acne and pimples
The true cause of back acne can be broken down into two items, bacteria and inflammation. Without those two occurring together back acne will not happen in most cases:
- The bacteria on our skin is present all the time, in fact our bodies are never entirely clean.
- Inflammation happens from time to time as well, but it is the combination of the two inside your pores that result in overly frustrating back acne.
Acne is generally broken down into 3 types, whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. Pimples are the worst of the three as they are infected pores. They are also the most painful.
Pimples are caused when a pore clogged with oil and dead skin cells, breaks and allows bacteria to enter. The result is a swollen red bump often containing pus as a result of your body trying to fight the infection.
When you have pimples on your back it is important to use product that contains benzoyl peroxide because this kills the bacteria that cause pimples.
Back acne in adults
So far we know puberty and acne practically go hand in hand but what about adult sufferers? Here are a few causes of back acne in adults.
- Menstruation: Does your back acne break out when it is that time of the month? If you guess the underlying theme here is hormones you would be correct. Like most periods of hormone fluctuations, no pun intended, menstruation can lead to breakouts of back acne.
- Friction and heat: Back acne occurs more easily in hot environments where sweating and the bacteria spread that comes with it is common. Friction is another cause and frequent rubbing of tight clothing, backpacks or anything creating friction across your back can provoke a nasty case of back acne.
- Diet: Diets heavy in processed foods and carbohydrate rich can contribute to excess sebum production and thus clogged pores leading to back acne. Dairy products, specifically milk are known to cause acne as well, likely due to the hormones passed from cows to the milk.
How to prevent back acne
Beyond maintaining proper hygiene and showering after using the gym or exercising, exfoliating remains the best way to prevent back acne. Investing in a good back exfoliator to use in the shower like the one pictured below can help you keep your pores clog free, preventing back acne breakouts. Remember, knowing how to prevent back acne is just one step of the journey to being acne free.
Voda Reve Exfoliating Loofah is ideal for back acne sufferers allowing easy reach and exfoliation of acne prone areas.
For those who already have back acne and need to eliminate it as well as prevent future occurrences, soaps and body washes are effective treatments. In general it is best to look for products that contain salicylic acid or sulfur for mild or moderate back acne, and benzoyl peroxide for severe acne.
To make your search easier here are 2 of the best soaps for back acne:
- PanOxyl Acne Creamy Wash – A cleansing wash designed for back acne sufferers that penetrates pores, killing acne bacteria and preventing new breakouts and blemishes with further use.
- Grandpa’s Thylox Acne Treatment Soap – This sulfur-based acne fighting soap draws excess oil away from your skin and pores to clear up breakouts and prevent new clogs from happening.
For starters, purchasing a good back acne scrub or back acne body wash can be very helpful. Most of these products are naturally good for the skin and have no negative effect when using them to avoid getting back acne in the first place. Other ways to avoid back acne include not over-moisturizing. When you have oily skin or skin prone to acne in the first place, adding more oils to clog up your pores via heavy moisturizing soaps and shower gels drastically increases your chances of an outbreak. Finally, regular exfoliation during a bath or shower is a great way to avoid developing back acne at all.
While back acne can be an embarrassing and frustrating experience to sufferers, it is generally always treatable. With a proper back acne treatment regimen and products utilizing one of the 3 prime acne-fighting ingredients you can get rid of your acne sooner rather than later. Ensure you understand the root causes of back acne and clear up your breakouts today.