Back Acne: Everything You Need To Know

Back Acne: Everything You Need To Know

While 92% of us will likely suffer with facial acne in our lifetime, a recent report showed 60% of us will also get back acne, often referred to as ‘bacne.’ It’s incredibly common - the skin is thicker on the back, meaning the pores are larger and thus more prone to breakouts. But how do you treat it? And how different is it to the average face pimple? We tapped skincare expert and clinic aesthetician, Pamela Marshall, for her key advice…

It All Comes Down To Too Much Oil 

Acne generally tends to develop in areas where we have a high concentration of oil glands. That’s why your back can be a prime target: too much bacteria build-up in the pores on your back will promote an overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria and inflammation. Part of the reason the back is so prone to spots is we have a higher density of pores, which in short, means higher chances of a breakout. The good news is there are simple tweaks you can make to combat the excess oil and prevent spots from spreading. 

Sweat Has An Impact, But It’s Not The Root Cause

No matter where it is, acne is usually created out of a perfect storm. It can be down to hormones fluctuating, but also high levels of the male hormone, androgen. This hormone sends signals to the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, hence swelling in the pores that can lead to spots. In short, there is never one single cause for back acne. As for sweat and exercise, fitness itself is great for you and can’t be blamed as the root cause of back acne. However, sweat mixed with bacteria on the skin and dead skin cells will clog pores, and that’s what causes body acne, not the sweat itself. So be mindful of wearing sweaty clothes while working out, or clothes made from fibres that aren’t breathable. Swap out your tops where possible after your workout and change your bed sheets regularly – all these simple steps will contribute to a smoother back.  

Ingredients Are Key For Fighting Bacne

Look to products that contain mandelic acid and polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), like my go-to spray Clinisept (a formulation of water, phosphoric acid and sodium hypochlorite). All of these are key as they work to kill bacteria, dislodge congestion and reduce inflammation fast. As the skin and spots start to dry on your back, you must try and avoiding picking if you can, and if you do scratch, jump into a shower when you can to eliminate any bacteria sitting on the surface of the skin for too long. 

There’s Almost Always A Diet Component To Acne

It’s worth remembering though that everyone does have different triggers, so figure out yours first to learn what you really need to eliminate. I often have clients remove a type of food out of their diet for two weeks to see what the reaction is. I’m not as concerned with the skin reaction when we’ve taken it out, but more the reaction when we’ve added that food group back in. That’s the easiest way to know whether food is causing your bacne. The food industry doesn’t allow us to be wholly healthy people, hence the struggle with acne and inflammatory skin, both on the back and face. My motto is to just try and eat food made with love. If you’re suffering from bacne, processed food should be removed from your diet as much as possible to bring down oil production. 

Cleansing Daily Is Essential 

We all forget and neglect our backs but cleansing it daily is as essential as washing your face, especially if you have spots there. Invest in a gentle, non-stripping cleanser – especially post-workout or after excessive sweating – and spray with Clinisept twice a day, which is brilliant at killing bacteria, I don’t know anyone that hasn’t said it’s changed their life. Sprays are particularly handy as no one is usually flexible enough to reach the back with ease and this particular one helps to penetrate deep into the pores, dissolving dead skin cell build-up as it goes, preventing you from future breakouts. The use of PHAs topically, like Exuviance’s Night Renewal Hydragel will hydrate the skin too, and eliminate congestion so things can heal properly. The key is to really let your cleanser sit so it has enough time to sink in and do its job properly, never wash it off in a rush. You may find it takes time but don’t panic – this is because the skin is a bit thicker on our back than our faces, so be patient.

Suffer from back acne? Try any one of these spot-fighting heroes below…

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