What Causes Back Acne?
There are many factors that contribute to what causes back acne. Genetics, hormones and stress are just a few. Occlusion due to clothing that clogs up the pores often worsens the condition.
Environmental heat and humidity increases the amount of sweat and sebum produced, further exacerbating the condition.
Back acne is driven by hormones and it is more common in young adolescent males. Hormonal imbalances in females with a condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome often present with acne as well.
Why do I get Back Acne?
Where is one of the first areas to produce sweat during a workout? The back of course! Back acne is common as the oil glands are larger and more concentrated over these areas.
Bacne, Back acne or Truncal Acne is a common form of acne that affects the back, shoulders and chest. It is seen in up to 50% of individuals that come to the clinic with facial acne.
Bacne tends to be more common in young males, individuals with severe acne and hormonal acne. Left untreated, back acne can progress to cystic acne, red marks, blemishes (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), keloids and permanent scars.
What causes back acne from one person can greatly differ from another. Therefore, it is important to try to uncover what may trigger your acne in the first place.
3 Ways to Get Rid of Back Acne
- Washout after a Workout. A sweat soaked shirt that blocks and clogs the pores is a common culprit of acne. We advise washing immediately after a workout and changing into fresh breathable cotton attire.
- No Excuses Just because you Can’t See It. We frequently ignore our backs until someone points it out to us. We advise washing the back with a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid based wash to remove skin debris and keep skin healthy.
- Eat Healthy. A well-balanced diet that is low in sugar content and dairy products may lead to an improvement in your acne.
What Treatment Options are there for Back Acne?
First, we need to uncover the factors that relate to what causes back acne. The treatment of back acne depends on the severity of your acne, your medical history, allergies, skin type and skin sensitivity. Often, combining treatments are more effective at targeting the different processes of acne to give an optimum outcome.
- Topical Acne Creams
Prescription Acne creams containing a combination of a retinoid and benzoyl peroxide have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-comedomal properties to provide a multi-prong approach to acne.
- Oral Antibiotics
Antibiotics are a mainstay of treatment for inflammatory back acne vulgaris, and work by reducing bacterial load and inflammation. Antibiotics have proven to be safe and effective in many studies to treat acne. A course of treatment may last at least 3-4 months. However, there is an increasing trend of antibiotic-resistant acne worldwide.
- Oral Retinoids
Oral retinoids is a Vitamin A derived medication that works extremely well in acne and are currently the most effective treatment for severe acne. It reduces oil secretion by 90% within 6 weeks of treatment, reduces whiteheads and blackheads by 90% within 3 months and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
A consultation is necessary to discuss about the side effects, suitability and precautions before starting oral retinoids.
- Anti-inflammatory Injections
If you develop a painful acne cyst on your back, the anti-inflammatory injection treatment can rapidly improve your symptoms in 1-2 days.
Bacne keloid scarring can also be treated with anti-inflammatory injections, spaced 4 weeks apart to reduce the scar thickness and volume.
How can I improve my acne scars?
Acne scarring is an unfortunate consequence of acne. It often results from acne that has been left untreated and resultant damage done to the dermal layer of the skin. Severe forms of acne such as cystic acne have a much higher risk of scarring.
There are many forms of Acne Scars, and Acne scar revision will depend on the type or types of acne scar you have.
Our clinic uses various techniques including chemical peels, subcision, lasers, surgery and fillers to resurface and correct acne scarring.
- Lee JW, Yoo KH, Park KY, Han TY, Li K, Seo SJ, et al. Effectiveness of Conventional, Low-dose and Intermittent Oral Isotretinoin in the Treatment of Acne: A Randomized, Controlled Comparative study. Br J Dermatol. 2010 Nov 29.
- Collier CN, Harper JC, Cafardi JA, Cantrell WC, Wang W, Foster KW, et al. The prevalence of acne in adults 20 years and older. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Jan. 58(1):56-9.