What Is Back Acne & How Do You Get Rid Of Bacne Scars?

What Is Back Acne & How Do You Get Rid Of Bacne Scars?

When you think about a pesky breakout, a blemish on your face, neck, or cheek may be the first thought that comes to mind. However, troublesome acne and the scars they leave behind take a whole new form of discomfort when they land themselves on your back, of all places.

There’s nothing more unpleasant than feeling soreness from a pimple that’s in a hard-to-reach location like your back. It’s hard to ignore the fact that landing a blemish there can be particularly difficult and stubborn to soothe, but fortunately for us, there are ways to manage, treat, and reduce back acne efficiently.

What Is Back Acne? 

According to Cleveland Clinic, back acne, commonly known as "bacne," occurs when sweat, oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria become trapped within the pores of your back's skin. Friction caused by backpacks and purses and excessive sweat can exacerbate this condition, where acne can then form.

With this combination of factors at play, cystic acne bumps, blackheads, or whiteheads can develop and be tender to the touch.

What Causes Back Acne?

Since the back contains numerous sebaceous glands responsible for secreting sebum, an oily substance, bacne can form similarly to that of facial acne. Because the back area has this high concentration of sweat and oil glands, it is more prone to breakouts, with rubbing of clothing and constant coverage of the back playing a factor in the exacerbation of acne forming.

If our skin cells don’t shed properly, they can mix with sebum (oils) and block our pores. That, paired with the presence of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) on the skin, can contribute to the development of acne — which thrives in clogged pores. Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, or when taking certain medications, can also increase sebum production and make you more prone to bacne.

How To Treat and Get Rid of Back Acne:

Managing bacne can be challenging, but certainly doable. With a diligent skincare routine, mindful lifestyle modifications, and, when deemed necessary, recommendations from your dermatologist, preventing or completely eliminating bacne can be achieved. Here’s how:

Topical Treatments: Over-the-counter or prescription topical treatments containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids can help unclog pores and reduce inflammation. Consider the application of these topical creams, gels, and cleansers in your skincare routine.

Hormonal Therapy: If hormonal fluctuations are a contributing factor, hormonal therapy like birth control pills or anti-androgen medications may be recommended. Birth control pills, specifically combined hormonal contraceptives containing both estrogen and progestin, can be a valuable option to resolve bacne.

These pills can often assist in reducing sebum production and alleviating acne by counteracting androgens and stabilizing hormonal fluctuations that could be contributing to your back acne. It’s advised to consult your dermatologist before initiating any particular birth control regimen.

Exfoliate, Exfoliate: Regular exfoliation can help remove dead skin cells, prevent clogged pores, and maintain pore clarity for healthy skin. Maintain a gentle circulation during exfoliation, as excessive scrubbing can lead to an over-removal of natural skin oils, potentially triggering another possible breakout.

Maintain Proper Hygiene: Keep the affected area clean by washing gently with a mild, fragrance-free cleanser. After sweating, it’s important to remove your clothing to ensure that sweat is not trapped in your skin and thus promotes clogged pores and breakouts.

Avoid Pimple Popping: As satisfying as it may be, resist the urge to pop your breakouts. Squeezing or picking at back acne can increase inflammation and the likelihood of infection. When we break the skin around pimples, the healing process can be prolonged and potentially result in skin discoloration and scarring.

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Featured image by Jordi Salas/Getty Images

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