Back acne is often referred to as ‘bacne’ but a more accurate term is ‘body acne since it is also found on the lower back, upper arms, legs and even the buttocks.

Like all acne, back and body acne appear in many forms from blackheads and whiteheads to pimples and cysts.

Back and body acne forms when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum (oil) which blocks pores and hair follicles. This leads to breakouts and can lead to infestation.

Causes of Back and Body Acne

The primary cause of back and body acne is sweating and poor skincare habits (not showering right after exercise or sweating etc.)

Sweating leads to clogged pores – this traps oil and prevents dead skin cells from shedding – the primary cause of acne.

Poor hygiene contributes to back and body acne. That’s because sweat, oils and a build-up of grime, clogs pores and encourages the spread of bacteria – the leading cause of acne.

How to Treat and Prevent Back Acne

Shower regularly: It’s important to shower immediately following a workout, or any time you have been sweating. Sport wipes and body wipes help if you have no immediate access to a shower. The key is never to allow sweat and oils to dry on the skin.

Avoid tight-fitting clothes: Tight clothing or synthetic fabrics prevent the circulation of air around the body and trap moisture against the skin. Lightweight, loose clothing is a better option since these allow the skin the breathe and help to wick moisture and sweat away from the body.

Select the right products: Choose Select products designed for treating body acne. Use a pH balancing body wash, with salicylic acid cleanser, or a sulfur-based soap to remove excess oils, debris and bacteria from the skin surface. Products like Acne-Control Body Wash are designed to help clear and control back and body acne. Whatever brand you select, use a formula that contains Salicylic Acne, a proven acne-fighting ingredient to  help  prevent breakouts on the back, chest and shoulders without over-drying or irritating your skin. 

Exfoliate the skin on your back regularly. Use a back brush, loofah or exfoliating product to do the job. The key is to make sure that you encourage the removal of dead skin cells to keep pores clear. The pores on the back are much larger and, therefore, more prone to blockage. Exfoliate two to three times a week. Avoid over-scrubbing. This damages and dries the skin which will stimulate oil production and encourage another breakout.

Use clean linens, bath towels and tees. Keeping up with the laundry is important. Soiled sheets, pillowcases, towels and tees collect sweat, dead skin cells and breed bacteria. Change bed linens twice a week if you can, once a week at least to keep skin clear. Do not re-use bath towels and face cloths. Damp towels breed bacteria. Use a clean tee or shirt every day to prevent the spread of bacteria on the back and body.

Use topical treatments on pimples and pustules. Since the skin on the back and body is thicker than the face on the skin, a stronger topical cream or gel might be required. Look for preparations containing sulfur, alpha-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid or tea tree oil. Dab the cream or gel on pimples at night (allow solution to dry before contact with clothing or linens).

  • Alpha-hydroxy acid (dries up blemishes)
  • Salicylic acid (dries up blemishes)
  • Tea tree oil (kills bacteria)
  • Sulfur (penetrates pores, dries and clears pimples and blackheads)

Choose products carefully. Daily products like shampoo, conditioner, sprays and styling products contain myriad of comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients that can cause breakouts. Look for non-comedogenic skincare and beauty products to help keep pores clear and prevent acne.