Back Acne

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.

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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.

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3 replies
  1. Christa S.
    Christa S. says:

    I tried so many things for my back acne. Washing with acne soaps, changing my sheets more often, showering twice a day. Exfoliating the skin. Changing detergents that I washed my clothing in. Nothing worked til I used glycolic acid peels for my back acne. This chemical peel was non-invasive, and removed the layers of dead skin to reveal fresher skin that is clearing up nicely. I decided this was the best way for me to go because I did not have a lot of time to use for downtime. And I love the fact that glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane, which is natural to me. This was an effective method for me, and I am sure that it will work for others. The whole process was very easy as well. My skin was cleansed, and then the chemical was applied to my back where I had acne. It was left on my back for a bit, I can not really remember how long. It did tingle some but the pain was very tolerable. The dermatologist then washed the solution off and applied a lotion. I had four separate treatments done. It took less than 45 minutes during each treatment. My skin did flake a bit, but it was not too bad. And now my back looks a lot better. The skin is clearer and has a better tone to it. I am impressed with the glycolic acid peel and would recommend that others have this done if they have back acne that is just not going away with treatments that you have tried.

  2. Robert P.
    Robert P. says:

    I am a 25 year old male and suffer from back acne. I feel that I suffer from it due to working out at the gym so much. No matter what I do, the back acne is there. I have tried different body washes and scrubs, but my back never heals. I used to fear that I would always have these pimples on my back. I think that my back needs a professional treatment. I am going to look online for dermatologist in my area as I want it taken care of. It is embarrassing that I can not take my shirt off because I fear that others will be looking at my back and judging me. I take care of my skin, it just does not look like I do. I feel like a dirty person, and am not. I always shower after working out, and often shower two times a day. So glad that I have found this article as there might be hope for my back acne yet.

  3. George
    George says:

    Two years ago, my back acne was awful. I was at my wits end and just did not know what to do. My dermatologist recommended that I have body microdermabrasion done on my back. I am so glad that I did. It gave me some of my confidence back. I work out on a regular basis and like to be able to show off my body with either muscle shirts or going without a shirt at the beach or pool. However, with my back looking like it did, I could not take off my shirt or the ladies would run instead of making eyes at me. I did microdermabrasion on my back, and it removed the skin on the top that was clogging my skin. Fresher skin was revealed, and slowly over time, my back went back to looking like it was suppose to. I can now say that I am not afraid to take off my shirt, because the ladies will now only be able to see my muscles, not my back acne.


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