- What is Back Acne?
- Back Acne Causes
- 6 Ways to Prevent Bacne
- OTC Treatment for Bacne & Back Acne Scarring
- When Should You See a Doctor
The thoughts of bacne makes every girl shudder. Not only is it hard to get rid of, but also may leave scarring on your back – that means no cute backless dress for a while. Although not health-threatening, a persistent acne breakout can dampen one's confidence and self-esteem. Bacne is very common and usually affects adolescents and teens. We all know what acne is but how is it different from bacne? What are the causes of it and how can you prevent it? Find out below!
What is Back Acne?
Back acne or “bacne” is an inflammation on the back that is caused by an accumulation of sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria (cutibacterium acnes). There are different types of bacne (blackheads, whiteheads, pus-filled papules, or cysts) and are usually acquired from excess sweating and friction from clothes, backpacks, or other material that usually sticks to the back that rubs onto the skin.
Back Acne Causes
If you are wondering what triggered an outburst of acne on your back, it may be from one of these causes:
- Poor hygiene and friction: dirty sheets, towels, shirts, or unwashed oily hair can cause bacteria to build up that can seep through your pores and result in acne. Sweat trapped on clothes (especially gym clothes) can also clog your pores and result in bacne.
- Hormones: hormonal acne are common on pregnant women and those who are going through puberty. During this time, there is an overproduction of sebum that often clogs pores and leads to acne or pimples.
- Genetics: acne is not hereditary but both parents may pass a hormonal condition that can trigger acne breakouts.
- Medication: some drugs or medication can cause acne to pop out. Some common ones are steroids and hormonal birth control pills.
- Stress and anxiety: your cortisol levels rise when you are stressed and anxious. This can lead to the body producing more sebum than normal that can get clogged on your pores and develop into acne.
6 Ways to Prevent Bacne
#1 Shower & cleanse after workout
As mentioned above, poor hygiene can trigger acne breakouts, thus, maintaining clean hygiene by showering or taking a bath is a great after-body care regimen one should have. If you do not have time for a quick shower, make sure to at least change into a clean shirt after a workout so that sweat and bacteria will not accumulate and transfer to your skin. .
#2 Avoid too tight-fitting shirts or things that cause friction
Avoid anything that constantly rubs with your back. Tight fitting shirts and backpacks can trap sweat and irritate the skin, making you more prone to getting back zits or acne flare up.
#3 Shield your skin from the sun
Spending time in the sun may seem like a good idea to dry out acne. However, this belief falls into the myth department. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), sun exposure can worsen acne because the sun’s ray darkens the acne and make it last longer. They recommend applying an oil-free sunscreen when going out under the sun or outdoors.
#4 Stop using strong and irritating skincare products
Some products can irritate your skin; it may be because you are allergic to some ingredients, or the chemicals are too strong. Always make sure to check the label for the ingredients and opt-in for non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic products to avoid clogging of pores. Make sure that your hair products do not contain harmful chemicals as well since using such may also irritate the skin.
#5 Manage stress levels
Stress and hormonal changes are some of the common causes of face and back acne. Ever wonder why every time you feel stressed, a pimple will suddenly appear the next morning? This is because your cortisol level rises which results in an overproduction of sebum. The excess sebum can then be trapped alongside bacteria and sweat that causes acne to develop.
#6 Wash your sheets
We could not stress this enough. Washing your sheets or changing them regularly can do wonders for your skin. When you sleep, the oils and dirt from your face and body can be transferred to your bed sheets and pillowcase. Over time, bacteria can accumulate on the cloth and then be transferred back to your skin and cause face acne or bacne. Some people also develop chest acne from this so remember to wash your sheets and sleep in clean fresh clothes.
OTC Treatment for Bacne & Back Acne Scarring
Acne can put down our confidence, especially the scarring after it heals, and it can be a painful to look at. (Even though it is NOTHING to be ashamed of!) Here are some effective OTC treatments for your bacne and back acne scarring:
Products with 5.3% benzoyl peroxide are less likely to cause irritation and peeling according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This ingredient can kill acne-causing bacteria on the skin and stop acne flare up when used daily. They recommend leaving the benzol peroxide wash on your back for 2-5 minutes so that it can penetrate your skin better. The highest over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide is 10 percent and may tend to cause more irritation.
Retinol or retinoids (adapalene 0.1 gel) works by unclogging pores and preventing acne from forming. This product goes deep within the pores and kills the bacteria and decreases inflammation of the skin. Not only does it clear up acne, but it can also improve the skin’s tone and texture leaving you with a lighter or no acne scar.
Salicylic acid, unlike the first two above, is a milder option for treating bacne. This beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliates the skin, unclogs the pores, and reduces the cause of acne. However, this is not an overnight miracle acne-solution. Results of using salicylic acid usually can be noticed after four to six weeks.
When Should You See a Doctor
It is always recommended to check with your doctor or dermatologist before trying new products. If you fear that your bacne is getting worse, you may want to check with your doctor. Here are some tips for when you should see a specialist:
- If your chest and back acne are severe and will not go away
- If it feels painful and uncomfortable
- When the inflammation would not go down
- If you are experiencing fever
- If you have severe cystic breakout
- If OTC products are not working
- If you feel stressed and depressed about your back acne
Back acne: How to see clearer skin. (2013). Aad.org. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/DIY/back-acne