We’re all familiar with acne: maybe we’ve had it, maybe we still suffer from it, and we’re probably well-informed on the effects it can have on our complexion. But breakouts don’t only happen on the face; they’re just as common on the upper torso, neck, and lower back, even if they aren’t as visible or annoying. They can be a real headache, though, as neglecting or just covering them up will only make them harder to treat. Read on to understand what causes back acne and how to get rid of it swiftly.
What is bacne, and what causes it?
Back acne (or bacne) is a widespread skin condition that can appear as cysts, bumps, whiteheads, or blackheads on one’s back. It can occur anywhere, from the neck to the lower back, but it’s usually located on the upper back and shoulders, as it’s in these areas where most sebaceous glands can be found. It’s usually caused by excess sebum production, an accumulation of oil, and dead skin cells, as the skin in our back is quite thick.
To prevent back acne from happening or returning, it’s crucial to understand what causes it in the first place. The causes are similar to facial acne: genetic tendencies, hormone changes, but also bacteria, sweat, and friction (tight and not breathable fabrics, for example). While we can’t fight our genes and our options with hormonal changes are limited, we must revise some of our lifestyle choices that might be causing bacne. Maybe we’re not washing our sheets and towels enough or wearing tight-fitting t-shirts made of synthetic materials. Perhaps we don’t shower straight out of the gym or use greasy body care products in the area. Even having long hair can affect bacne: the oil from the hair combined with any products can be deposited on your back and create the perfect storm for bacteria to thrive.
Tips for treating and preventing back acne
Once we’re able to point out some of the factors that might be causing back acne, we can start taking small steps daily to help curb the breakouts and recover our smooth skin. Let’s go through some of them.
- Exfoliating regularly. Using an exfoliating body scrub or brush is one of the best ways to prevent dead skin cells from building up. You can use it daily if your skin isn’t too sensitive. Pair it with a body wash containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or arctic acid for the best results.
- Getting professional in-clinic treatments. Acne on the back can be very stubborn, and sometimes in-clinic acne treatments are the best way to tackle it. At Oblique we offer a wide range of acne treatments that can be applied both as facial and back treatments. Some of our favourites include skin peels, that tackle acne, pigmentation, tone and texture while restoring skin’s health, and the Hydrafacial treatment, which deep cleanses, exfoliates and hydrates the skin, improving acne and pores.
- Choosing clothing, bedding and towels made out of cotton or linen. Cotton and linen are both very breathable materials that help the heat pass through and won’t cause sweating (which increases sebum production). This is especially important when choosing clothing and bedding, as we spend most of our days and nights wrapped in them. And not only is the fabric important but also keeping it clean: sweat and oil are the breeding ground for bacteria growth. Change your towels and bed linens at least once a week, t-shirts every day and bras every two/three wears.
- Showering immediately after working out. Showering daily is essential to keep our bodies clean, but especially important when dealing with bacne. And absolutely crucial after working out: when exercising, the build-up of sweat, oil and dirt can easily trigger breakouts.
- Stop picking or squeezing. Without professional training, we risk increased inﬂammation and infections when manipulating spots, whether on the face or on the back. When picked, spots are more likely to leave scarring, especially with the bad visibility we have of the area if we do it ourselves.
Managing back acne is not easy, but trying to locate the cause and integrating these small lifestyle changes will help. It can’t be treated overnight, but if you’re still struggling to get on top of your breakouts, have some scarring already or want quicker results, we would love to help you asses it and advise you on the best options we offer. Contact us for a quote on any of our acne treatments or any inquiries you may have.