Back acne is something that all of us might experience at some time in life. Back acne is very commonly termed as “bacne”. These tend to be more stubborn and annoying than face pimples or any whiteheads or blackheads. That is why it takes continuous and prolonged care. Also, since they occur in a body area that is difficult to reach, the discomfort can be more in the case of back acne. 

Bacne looks very similar to regular face pimples, but they are quite different from face acne as the cause of the breakout can be different. These are characterized by red bumps, whiteheads, blackheads, and nodules caused due to several reasons. 

The various causes of bacne are:

1. Dandruff: Seborrheic dermatitis, commonly known as dandruff, is characterized by dry, scaly patches leading to excessive flaking of the scalp. When these flakes fall on body areas like the neck, forehead, or back, they clog the pores causing troublesome zits and pimples.

2. Hormonal PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease): PCOD is one of the common causes of acne. PCOD or hormonal imbalance can create an increase in testosterone levels in the body. This condition causes an excess of sebum production, resulting in face and body acne.

3. Folliculitis: This is a very common skin condition that occurs as a result of bacterial infection. Pores on the body are comparatively larger than the ones on the face. Bacteria and impurities get easily trapped in them causing infection.

4. Heat: Combined heat and humidity are some of the common causes of bacne in summers. The body has more sebaceous glands, especially on the back and chest. Heat and humidity lead to excessive sweating, which in turn leads to excessive oil production, thus creating a favorable environment for bacteria to grow, resulting in acne.

5. Tight clothing or friction: Wearing tight clothes can cause constant rubbing of fabric on damp and warm skin, thus damaging the hair follicles and making the skin more susceptible to infection.

6. Hair care products: Chemicals in hair care products also tend to irritate the skin, clog pores, and stimulate excess oil (sebum) production.

7. Shaving and waxing: This is a common cause leading to folliculitis on the back.

We all are aware that skin on other body parts is slightly thicker than the facial skin. Hence, it can be a little difficult to treat body acne. Often they leave marks on the body surface. But timely management and a holistic approach can help treat them and also prevent them in the long run. An expert dermatologist can help to diagnose the exact cause and treat the problem accordingly. The first and foremost step to treat bacne is avoiding the triggers.

  • Dandruff being one of the most common causes, needs to be treated with appropriate dandruff shampoos. Often using the same shampoo can lead to product saturation, so, it is advisable to keep changing molecules after discussing with a dermatologist. One can opt for molecules like ketoconazole, coal tar, salicylic acid, ciclopirox olamine, etc.
  • Wash clothes properly. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes. Post workout, remove clothes immediately and take a shower. Wash all your clothes regularly.
  • Choosing the right hair care products can go a long way in preventing bacne. Reduce the frequency of back massages as oiling on the back can occlude the sweat glands. Also, clean the bathing accessories regularly to maintain hygiene.
  • Avoid loofahs, back brushes, and buff puffs. Exfoliation or scrubbing of the back is generally not required. Look out for ingredients while choosing skin and hair care products. Prefer non-comedogenic products. Opt for gentle fragrances, non-creamy, and medicated body washes or anti-bacterial soaps for the body.
  • Use body washes that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help relieve acne as they have anti-bacterial properties.
  • Retinoic acid-based creams or clindamycin can be used as prescribed by the dermatologist. Lastly, consult a dermatologist. He/she will prescribe the right body wash and medications to reduce inflammation and pain.