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Help! I Have Back Acne, How Do I Get Rid of It?

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Help! I Have Back Acne, How Do I Get Rid of It? Stone for Getty Images

Question: Help! I Have Back Acne, How Do I Get Rid of It?

Answer: "Bacne" is another term for back acne or body acne. It tends to form on the back, upper arms and the buttocks and can take several forms: pimples, blackheads, pustules and cysts, which are painful and form deep under the skin's surface.

 

What Causes Bacne?

There is no scientific explanation for what causes back acne.

According to this article on the Acne Resource Center, back acne tends to occur around puberty when the sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, start functioning. When too much sebum is produced, pores and hair follicles can become clogged, attracting bacteria. This can lead to acne.

Stress, oily or fatty foods, excessive sweating and even genes do not seem to play a role in the causes of back acne, according to the Acne Resource Center. There is also no proof back acne is developed from tight clothing, excessive sweating and heavy backpacks (although it is possible 'bacne' is exacerbated by this).

 

How to Treat Back Acne?

For milder versions of back or body acne a topical 10 percent benzoyl peroxide cream or gel may suffice. Simply dab the cream on the acne at night and let it dry before you put on clothing. Severe acne, including cysts, should be treated by a dermatologist.

To treat mild back acne:

Step 1 Wash the back with an anti-bacterial cleanser formulated for the face, such asCetaphil. Stay away from regular soap. Let skin dry.

Step 2 Follow with a 10 percent benzoyl peroxide gel or cream. These are available over-the-counter or via prescription. Check out these options here. Let dry.

Step 3 (optional) Some experts suggest using the benzoyl peroxide in tandem with an alpha hydroxy treatment such asAlpha Hydrox Enhanced Lotion is optimal. Check out other options.

For severe back acne, consult a dermatologist for prescription treatment. Cysts can be treated in the office.

 

How to Prevent Back Acne

Exfoliation is a great way to get rid of dead skin cells that tend to build up on the back, buttocks and back of the arms. Use a sugar scrub (milder than salt scrubs) in the shower on a weekly basis.

For more comprehensive information on back acne, try this article from the Acne Resource Center. Also, check out my list of the Best Products for Acne-Prone Skin.

More on Acne:

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How to Treat Bacne
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