Acne is a bad thing to have. It is never fun to have acne. Majority, if not all, have experienced the stubbornness of acne and its effect to someone’s self-esteem and confidence.
Aside from our face, one of the areas prone to acne is our back and like any other skin issues, back acne should be properly addressed and treated. (Read more about back acne causes)
Back acne or “bacne” is essentially the same as face acne. Back acne develops when the pores on your back skin is plugged with dead skin cells and oil. These two create a home where acne bacteria can grow.
5 Things that Cause Back Acne and Their Solutions
There is always a reason behind everything, even with back acne and knowing what causes back acne is important because awareness means prevention. If you are struggling with back acne, here are 5 things that cause back acne that you need to be aware of.
- It runs in the blood. If you and other family members have the same back acne issue, it means that it is in your genes. But you don’t need to worry because it doesn’t mean that you cannot get rid of it. Before going to a dermatologist, you might want to try using a salicylic acid or glycolic acid wash which are available over-the-counter in any drugstore. These types of body wash have antibacterial and exfoliating properties that can help fight acne. Since it’s a body wash, you can use it every time you shower with no hassle at all. In case the salicylic or glycolic acid wash doesn’t work, you can set an appointment with your dermatologist who can prescribe a stronger acne treatment or medications.
- The products you are using. Without you knowing it, the products you are using might probably be the culprit of why you have back acne. Your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, and body cream – all these can clog your pores and give way to back acne. These products may contain heavy moisturizers such as oil or other ingredients that are comedogenic, which tend to block or clog pores. Look for lotions that are light or quick-dry. For sunblock and moisturizers, look for products that are non-comedogenic. Instead of ordinary soap or normal body wash, look for something that is specially formulated for acne. Regarding shampoo and conditioner, when it comes to rinsing your hair, flip it to your front and rinse forward to avoid leaving residue on you back. Make sure to avoid getting it in contact with the face too.
- The clothes you’re wearing. For those who are active in sports and regularly working out, back acne might be caused by what you’re wearing. Tight-fitted outfit like sports bra can create friction which, together with sweat, can cause skin or pore irritation. It is important that you go directly to the shower right after workout or exercise to let your skin breath and wash off the sweat and oil your body excreted. In this way, your skin will not be exposed to irritants for a long period.
- The food you’re eating. Your body is made of what you eat. This is literally true. Our body as a whole is nourished by the food we consume every day. Healthy eating equals healthy body. Too much oil, dairy, unhealthy fats, and the like can contribute to too much or excessive oil production that can help develop body or back acne. Read more about foods that cause acne.
- You’re not exfoliating your back. This might sound funny, but it’s true that sometimes we do not pay much attention to our back when taking a bath or showering. Since it’s one of those hard-to-reach parts, sometimes we miss washing it properly. We sometimes forget exfoliating or scrubbing gently to wash away dead skin cells. As a result, dead skin cells accumulate and together with oil, clog our pores causing back acne. So, next time you hit the shower, make sure to wash your back properly and do some gentle exfoliation.
3 Easy and Effective Steps to Treat Back Acne
Acne or back acne is just annoying and treating back acne could be frustrating sometimes. So, in an effort to help you, here are 3 hassle-free and effective steps on how to treat back acne.
Step 1. Wash. For persons with sensitive skin, you can use a gentle antibacterial body wash. For some, you can use salicylic acid or glycolic acid wash that can help with skin exfoliation. Avoid regular soaps which leave residues on the skin and clog pores.
Step 2. Treat. After washing and drying, apply benzoyl peroxide gel or cream on affected areas. Benzoyl peroxide comes in different strength: 2.5%, 5%, and 10%. Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial agent that can bring oxygen under the skin making it very effective in eliminating acne bacteria. Let it dry before doing the next step.
Step 3. Moisturize. To complete the regimen, the 3rd step is to moisturize the affected areas using moisturizers that contains alpha hydroxy acid. Alpha hydroxy acid is best partnered with benzoyl peroxide when treating acne.
Effective Medications for Back and Body Acne
What is good for you might be bad for some. What is effective for you might be ineffective for others. Acne can be treated in so many ways. Some might work, others may not. In cases when over-the-counter treatment is not working for your back acne, it is best to consult a dermatologist who can prescribe a stronger and more effective acne skin treatment. Here are some of the best treatment for back acne that your dermatologist might recommend.
- Adapalene. A retinoid gel which comes in .1% and .3% strength. This is applied directly to the skin to reduce and prevent dead skin cells from plugging your pores. This medication can also reduce acne inflammation. Some people using this topical acne medication may experience redness, dryness, burning, scaling, and itching. Sunlight exposure should be avoided by people using adapalene.
- Azelaic Acid. This medication comes in a form of cream. Azelaic acid is found in animal products and whole grain cereals. This medication helps skin to renew fast, preventing dead skin build-up resulting to decreased whiteheads and blackheads formation. Side effects such as itching, burning, stinging, and a tingling sensation can be felt in a short period.
- Benzoyl Peroxide. This comes in the form of gel, cream, lotion, or wash. Aside from its antibacterial properties, benzoyl peroxide is capable of bringing oxygen deep into the skin which can aid in killing 99.9% of acne-causing bacteria. This comes in different strength: 2.5%, 5%, and 10%, though it is said that the effectiveness of benzoyl peroxide is just the same regardless of strength. Common side effects such as redness, itching, and dryness is expected in the first few weeks of use.
- Clindamycin. This medication is a topical antibiotic that kills acne bacteria. It comes in forms of gel, lotion, or solution. This medication is normally applied twice a day. Expected side effects are redness, itching, peeling, and burning.
- Dapsone. This medication is normally in a topical gel form with 5% strength. Dapsone is an anti-inflammatory medication with antioxidant and minor antibacterial properties. Dapsone can greatly reduce acne lesion. Common side effects are mild redness, dryness, and burning.
- Erythromycin. This medication is normally combined with benzoyl peroxide for added efficacy. Erythromycin comes in a form of solution, ointment, or gel and is normally used or applied twice a day. Most common side effects reported by users are burning, oiliness, dryness, peeling, and itching.
- Isotretinoin. This is an acne pill that is normally prescribed to people with severe acne condition that does not respond to any other medications. This pill is taken for a period of 15-20 weeks and is said to be very effective. Unlike other acne medication with mild side effects, Isotretinoin can cause high risk of depression and can result to deformed infant if taken during pregnancy. Other side effects include dry nose and mouth, dry cracked lips, and muscle and joint pain.
- Oral antibiotics. These medication help stop P. Acne or acne bacteria and is normally a pill taken once daily. Few examples are doxycycline, levofloxacin, and minocycline. Aside from killing acne bacteria, oral antibiotics also help in reducing acne inflammation. Reported side effects include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
- Oral contraceptives. Women with severe acne may take birth control pills as prescribed by a doctor to decrease the level of testosterone. Lower testosterone levels may decrease the severity of acne in women. Birth control pills bring so many bad and good side effects. It is important to discuss this with your doctor before using oral contraceptives. (Read more about birth control for acne)
- Sodium Sulfacetamide. This medication is used to treat acne because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Some of reported side effects are irritation, stinging, and burning.
- Tretinoin. Tretinoin is a product of combining retinoic and vitamin A acids. It comes in forms of gel, cream, and liquid with various strengths. Aside from acne, tretinoin is also used to treat sunburns and wrinkles. This medication is usually applied once daily. Common side effects are skin irritation, excessive redness, peeling, swelling, and crusted skin.
For some who are not a big fan of over-the-counter medications, pills, and other doctor-prescribed drugs to cure and prevent acne, here are some natural acne treatments you can do.
- Tea tree oil. This oil can work wonders. Tea tree oil is used as antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, and antifungal. Aside from being an effective remedy for body acne, tea tree oil can also help get rid of acne scars especially hypertrophic acne scars (raised and red acne scars).
- Vitamin E oil. Vitamin E is known for its great benefits to the skin. This vitamin can make your skin soft and look younger. Aside from helping skin to prevent acne breakout, vitamin E can also help acne scars fade away. Vitamin E can encourage the skin to regenerate fast, replacing the damaged skin cells.
After washing and giving your face a steam to open the pores, you can apply vitamin E oil directly to your body acne. If a vitamin E capsule is available, just use a clean needle to puncture it and squeeze out the oil. Leave it for about 15 to 20 mins so that the skin will have enough time to absorb it. Rinse with lukewarm water. You can do this treatment once every day.
- Olive oil. You can apply olive oil directly on your face and gently massage it to the areas where you have body acne. Leave it for 2-3 minutes then rinse it thoroughly with lukewarm water. Olive oil contains lot of vitamins such as A, D, C, E, B1, and B2. It is also rich in iron, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties which are good for acne scars.
In addition, body and back acne can be cured and prevented the natural way by following these important reminders.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy, having regular exercise, and avoiding stress will make your body and immune system strong. These can prevent you from getting easily infected with bacteria. A healthy diet will also result to a healthy and acne-free skin.
- Smoking is a big NO-NO. Smoking can make your skin look old making it more prone to acne. It also slows down skin renewal which may result to accumulated dead skin cells that can plug your pores.
- Avoid long steamy hot showers. Hot water can make your skin dry, forcing your body to produce excessive oil for added moisture. Dry skin plus excessive oil equals plugged pores which give way to body acne.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes as much as possible. Breathable clothing will help you avoid skin irritation that causes back acne or body acne.
3 Best Natural Acne Scar Treatment
Once acne is healed, in most cases it will leave red or dark spots or scars. For those aiming to lighten dark spots caused by acne, here are natural acne scar treatment you can use.
- Lemon juice. Use lemon juice as an acne scar spot treatment. It is rich in vitamin C which can help boost and rebuild collagen. Lemon has a bleaching property that can lighten dark spots. You can apply lemon juice directly to your acne scars using your finger tips or cotton balls. For persons with sensitive skin, you can dilute lemon juice by adding honey or two teaspoon of vitamin E oil. You can use this lemon juice treatment once a day for three weeks or until the scars faded.
- Baking soda. Baking soda contains exfoliating factors that can lighten your acne scars. Its granules, when massaged gently on acne scars, can remove dead skin cells and help renew skin.
- Apple cider vinegar. It can help balance pH level when applied topically on the skin. And because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, apple cider vinegar is also effective in preventing acne breakout. Apple cider vinegar also contains vitamins, minerals, carbolic acid, amino acids, antioxidant, acetic acid, ketones, aldehydes, and a lot more. With all these properties, apple cider vinegar can help fade scars by exfoliating the skin surface. When dead skin cells are removed, the acne scars’ dark color fades away.
- You can use apple cider vinegar with water. Mix 1 part of it to 1 part of water and apply to your acne scars. Leave it for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse with water after. You can do this once daily.
- You can also mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2/3 cup of water, and 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey. Apply it directly to your acne scars and leave it for half an hour. Wash it off with lukewarm water. You can also do this once daily.