Back Acne: Type, Cause and Treatment
Back acne is acne that forms on the back. It happens in 60 percent of individuals. Acne on the back could mean that your acne is severe. Back acne is formed when sebum mixes with bacteria and dead skin cells. This mixture then clogs up the hair follicles on the back, creating acne lesions. Causes for back acne include stress, a hormonal imbalance, sweat, hair products used, kind of detergent used, and the material your clothing is made of.
There are many types of acne that can appear on the back. These include:
- Blackheads- These are the pimples that are seen on the surface of the skin. Blackheads are also known as open comedones. There is a black tip due to the reaction when sebum and the air mix.
- Whiteheads- These are known as closed comedones. A white bump is formed that is filled with pus. The plugged follicle stays closed and is underneath the skin.
- Pustules- These are filled with yellow or white pus. They have a red base to them and are often referred to as a pimple.
- Papules- These are small pink bumps formed on the skin that can be tender.
- Cysts- Large, painful lesions that often resemble a boil and are filled with pus.
- Nodule- Acne that has developed below the surface of the skin. These are hard and painful.
Back Acne Treatment
There are many treatments available for back acne at your skin specialist. Laser and light treatments are a great way to treat places in the back that are hard to reach. A series of treatments will be given to see the most effective results. Often times, laser and light therapy is used in conjunction with other back acne treatments to see the most impressive results. Laser treatments are highly recommended for back acne treatments. At Advanced Dermatology we use the latest laser technology to treat back acne.
Chemical peels can also be done on the back to stop back acne in its tracks. Blackheads will be loosened and acne papules are often decreased using this method. One or more chemical solutions will be applied to the back after it is cleansed. Depending on the depth of the peel, it can be repeated every one to four week intervals (for mild peels) to every six to twelve months for medium depth peels. Acne chemical peels can help if there is minimal scarring. Fresh skin that is smooth will be revealed once the damaged skin is peeled away.
Dermabrasion can be used on back acne to help reveal smoother skin as well. Dead skin cells will be removed to allow new skin to flourish. This is one of the best ways to treat back acne scarring.
Topical antibiotics could be prescribed for back acne. These will kill any bacteria that is on the back that will infect the hair follicles. These are usually applied once or twice a day and come in a gel or lotion form. Azelaic acid can also be used to get rid of the dead skin while killing bacteria. It is also applied twice a day unless the skin is sensitive, in which case once a day will suffice. This acid does not make the skin sensitive to sunlight, so one does not have to completely avoid the sun while using this gel or cream.
Some tips to prevent Back Acne
There are things that one can do to prevent back acne. Wear cotton clothes that allow the skin to breathe as much as possible. Shower right after you work out, and if clothes become sweaty, change them. Keep tabs on what irritates the skin, and steer clear of these irritants. Often times clothing that rubs against the skin will irritate back acne more, so keep an eye on this.