Back acne (also commonly referred to as “bacne”) is something that many of us have experienced at some point in life. This unsightly and incredibly annoying affliction can be painful, uncomfortable and even cause you to change the way you dress due to insecurity. Contrary to popular belief, back acne doesn’t just affect teenagers. In fact, it is a common occurrence amongst people of all ages and genders and arises when excess sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells build up in pores, causing redness, inflammation and blemishes — similar to facial acne, except on your back.
In this article, we dive into everything you need to know about the dreaded back acne. From what causes it, how you can prevent it and everything in between. If you’re on a mission to achieve clearer, healthier and happier skin, simply read on to find out more!
What Is Back Acne?
As the name suggests, back acne is acne that develops on your back. This common condition causes pimples that appear as red bumps, whiteheads or blackheads. In the majority of cases, back acne is often a form of cystic acne (sometimes called nodulocystic acne) and is the most severe form of acne vulgaris. Unfortunately, these pimples can be unsightly, annoying, painful, and have negative effects on your confidence and self esteem.
Understanding Cystic Acne
Cystic acne is a type of acne that is inflammatory in nature and causes painful, pus-filled pimples to form deep under the skin. Like pimples, cystic acne can be caused by clogged pores that are filled with dead skin cells, excess oil and bacteria. This causes the skin’s dermis to swell up, which leads to an infected lump on the skin’s surface.
People with cystic acne develop acne nodules as well as acne cysts. Acne nodules are hard, painful lumps under the surface of the skin. Much larger than acne papules, nodules form deep within the skin and take a very long time to heal. In most cases, cystic acne tends to appear on the face, which has a lot of oil glands. However, you can also get acne cysts on your back, which is common amongst people of all ages and genders.
What Causes Back Acne?
Like the chest and face, the back has a high density of sebaceous glands. These produce sebum, an oily substance that forms a protective coating for the skin. Pimples form when extra sebum and dead skin cells build up causing a blockage in skin pores and bacteria. When the hair follicle wall swells out, it forms a whitehead pimple. When the clogged pore gets exposed to air, blackhead pimples form.
COMMON CAUSES OF BACK ACNE
Genetics — Unfortunately, trouble with acne can run in your family, leaving you more prone to developing back acne.
Bedsheets — Believe it or not, one of the biggest triggers of back acne is your bedsheets. If you don’t wash your bedsheets enough, sweat and oil combine to act as the breeding ground for bacteria to grow and spread. This, in turn, can cause acne breakouts on your skin and back.
Stress and Anxiety — When you have a lot of anxiety or stress, your body makes more of the hormone cortisol. As cortisol levels rise, your body produces more sebum that may cause bacteria and blockage in your pores.
Sweat — In the majority of cases, sweat — especially when trapped under tight clothing — can cause back acne to flare up or worsen.
Medications — Acne in general can develop as a side effect of certain medications such as antidepressants.
Hormones — Hormonal changes both in the teenage years and throughout adulthood are often the cause of acne. For women, pimple outbreaks can be linked to hormonal changes that happen during menstruation and pregnancy.
How To Get Rid Of Back Acne
Thankfully, there are many ways to treat back acne. In most cases, you can prevent or get rid of back acne by making some lifestyle changes and using at-home remedies. Here are some things you can do to get rid of back acne:
Keep Your Skin Clean — Keeping your skin clean is by far one of the most effective ways of preventing back acne. However, what you use to keep your skin clean also matters. We recommend using an oil-free body wash that’s non comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores. Additionally, be sure to shower and change into clean clothes immediately after exercise or any type of sweat-inducing activities.
Avoid Scrubbing With Harsh Cleansers — As tempting as it may be, it is vital that you resist the urge to scrub your skin with harsh cleansers. Scrubbing can make acne worse as it can result in low-grade inflammation which may result in even more back acne!
Wear Loose Fitting Clothing — Tight clothing can trap dirt and sweat and rub it into your pores. If you are prone to back acne, we recommend opting for loose-fitting clothing that lets your skin breathe and helps wick away sweat.
Wash Your Bedsheets Regularly — If you’re guilty of not washing or refreshing your bed sheets as often as you should, this is your sign to start. We recommend washing/changing your sheets no less than once every 2 weeks, to ensure that your bedding is free from acne causing bacteria. It is also advisable to find the best sheet material for skin; look for sheets that are breathable and allows heat to pass through as you are sleeping.
Try Topical Treatments — Topical treatments or creams containing Benzoyl Peroxide can be incredibly effective in treating and preventing back acne. Other effective treatments include creams containing Retinoids, Salicylic Acid and Azelaic Acid.
Consult A Dermatologist — If your back acne lingers or keeps persisting, you may want to consider consulting with an experienced dermatologist. They may recommend other prescription skin care products or oral medications to treat severe acne. Your dermatologist can also work with you to find out the causes and triggers for your back acne.
Treatments For Back Acne
If you are suffering from back acne or acne scarring, the professional team at VC Dermal Clinics can effectively treat your symptoms with a variety of different treatment options. Regardless of the severity of your inflammation, we have an effective solution that is medically sound and provides visible results.
Omnilux LED Light Therapy: LED light therapy is an ideal treatment for cystic acne, with an optimal treatment plan including a synergistic combination of blue light and red light therapy. Blue light works to stimulate porphyrins (compounds found in acne-causing bacteria) which then generates a controlled amount of free radicals which work to destroy acne bacteria. Red light triggers an immune response in the skin that helps to regenerate cells and help with skin healing.
Lira Clinical Peels: Lira Clinical peels are a safe, yet extremely effective treatment for cystic acne. Because Chemical Peels use an enzymatic form of exfoliation, rather than scrubbing or granules, it is able to digest and remove the lesion without spreading acne bacteria. Clinical peels contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), perfect for decongesting pores, clearing blemishes and resurfacing the skin’s texture. This method is usually used on your face, but it can work on back acne scars, too.
The experienced team at Victorian Cosmetic Dermal Clinics can help you say goodbye to back acne for good and achieve your skin goals, no matter your individual circumstances. Our skin professionals work hand in hand with you to tailor a treatment plan that is unique to your skin type and condition. For all of us at VC Dermal Clinics this is more than just a career: It’s our passion and it’s what we live for!
If you are interested in finding out more about back acne or treating existing symptoms, do not hesitate to contact us today.