Symptoms Of Acne On The Back
Back acne is the second-most common place on the body to develop acne, coming in just after acne on the face. The pores on the back are easy to clog because they are larger than in other places. Because these pores are larger, the lesions that appear on the back are typically bigger, more painful, and more widespread than those that develop on the face. Whats more, they can be more difficult to treat because of their relative inaccessibility.
Like acne on the shoulders and acne on the face, back acne can stem from a variety of factors. A genetic predisposition, stress, medications, and lifestyle factors can all lead to the clogging of hair follicles, which can then create acne lesions and swelling. The best way to prevent back acne from developing is to adjust your body skin care routine. This could mean anything from showering directly after a workout and using a full-body cleaner to exfoliating with a salicylic acid treatment. Wearing loose-fitting clothing can also reduce the risk of developing back acne.
Regularly Wash Your Skin
Choose body washes that say, noncomedogenic or oil-free on the package to avoid clogging your pores. Avoid antibacterial soaps, astringents, and abrasive scrubs that can make your acne worse. And be gentle when cleansing your skin. Harsh scrubs, loofas, and exfoliators can damage the protective layer of the skin and make body acne worse, says Dr. Harth.
How To Prevent Bacne
While there is no foolproof way to prevent back acne development, there are some simple and effective ways to limit breakouts. Preventing back acne requires reducing oil production, keeping skin clean, and minimizing irritation via sweat and friction.
Reducing friction against the back can keep skin clean and prevent pores from getting clogged. Consider the following:
- Wear clean, loose-fitting shirts with loose collars
- Wear removable layers to avoid sweating
- Avoid heavy backpacks or purses with wide straps
- Remove wet or sweaty clothing immediately after exercising
- Keep athletic pads or gear clean and dry, and wear clean cotton t-shirts underneath
- Keep sheets and pillows clean and dry
Preventative Skin Care for Back Acne
In addition to the above, the following skincare tips will help minimize back acne:
In addition to keeping your back clean and dry, consider the following habit changes:
- Avoid or minimize use of acne-causing medications. Talk to your doctor about alternative treatments.
- Dont pick, squeeze or pop pimples. This can worsen acne, damage skin, and lead to discoloration or scarring.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure. UV rays can darken acne and inflame skin. Protect yourself with cool, light clothing and a non-comedogenic sunblock.
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Missing Spots When Cleansing
Excessive dirt or oil are big reasons why you experience bacne breakouts. It all comes down to keeping your pores clear. So, to keep them from getting clogged, make sure to wash your skin with a mild cleanser, Rossi says. This will dissolve any dead skin, dirt, and oil thats accumulated on your skin over the dayand can contribute to breakouts. Heres a great skincare regimen to follow. Also, invest in a loofah or long-handled bath brush to help you get the hard-to-reach spots when you lather up in the shower.
Different Types Of Back Acne
There are different types of spots caused by acne that you may find on your back:
- Blackheads: small black spots that develop in clogged pores. The black appearance is because the inner lining of the hair follicle is oxidised, not filled with dirt
- Whiteheads: similar to blackheads, these are spots that appear as firm white bumps in your skin
- Papules: small red bumps that may feel tender or sore
- Pustules: also called pimples, these are pus-filled papules that have a white tip in the centre and reddened base
- Nodules: large hard lumps that form as a result of acne deep beneath the surface of the skin and can be painful
- Cysts: large pus-filled lumps that look similar to boils the most severe type of spot caused by acne, which carries the greatest risk of causing permanent scarring
The severity of back acne can vary. Mild acne usually consists of mostly whiteheads and blackheads, perhaps with a few pustules and papules. This is known as grade 1.
Moderate acne is characterised by multiple pustules and papules.
Moderate to severe acne consists of a high number of pustules and papules, affecting the face, back and chest, as well as the presence of inflamed nodules.
Grade 4 acne is severe, with a high number of pustules and nodules that are both large and painful.
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What Is Back Acne
Back acne is acne that develops on your back. It causes pimples that appear as red bumps, whiteheads or blackheads. These zits can be unsightly, annoying and painful.
Acne happens when oil, dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria clog your skins pores. Back acne usually results when sweat gets trapped under a shirt or athletic gear during exercise or strenuous activity. Clothing rubs against your sweaty skin, which leads to zits or makes them worse.
Several over-the-counter and prescription treatments can clear up back acne. But it may take a few months for skin to clear.
Not Showering Promptly After A Sweaty Gym Session Might Be Causing Back Pimples
It can be tempting to skip your gym’s grimy showers and head home for a soothing soak in the tub instead. However, waiting too long to rinse off after working out can actually lead to a case of back acne.
Allowing sweat and dirt to hang out on your skin after exercisingcan be a major cause of pimples on the back and shoulders, according to Stylecaster.
Don’t delay showering after any situation that gets you hot and sweaty, including a sweltering day at the beach or a jog around the neighborhood.
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Symptoms Of Acne On The Back And Shoulders
Most people with acne see lesions on the face, but many will also experience shoulder and back acne symptoms. These areas develop acne for a variety of reasons. Often covered by clothing, they can be susceptible to friction, heat, and sweat, all of which can cause acne lesions. Like facial acne, a number of factors can predispose a person to developing shoulder or back acne, but lifestyle factors are typically the driving force behind these lesions. Tight-fitting clothes, insufficient hygiene, and picking at pimples can all lead to the development of severe acne.
Shoulder and back acne do not always require a visit to the dermatologist. That said, you should consider making an appointment if the lesions are widespread, painful, and/or chronic. Our Minneapolis-area clinics are uniquely equipped to help diagnose and treat your acne, no matter its location or severity. If youre interested in visiting one of our offices for a consultation, try tracking the location of your acne in the days and weeks prior to the visit. This can help use better determine the acnes cause and severity.
How Is Back Acne Treated
For mild or moderate back acne, OTC products may effectively control breakouts. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a benzoyl peroxide foaming wash. It works by killing bacteria and is most effective when you use it every day. Because the skin on the back is thicker than the face, neck and chest, let the wash stay on the skin for up to five minutes. This will help the benzoyl peroxide penetrate better. Then, rinse it thoroughly to prevent the product from bleaching your towels, sheets or clothes.
The ADA recommends starting with a wash containing 5.3% benzoyl peroxide. This strength is least likely to cause irritation and dryness. If it doesnt seem to be effective, try the higher 10% strength. The ADA also recommends using the OTC retinoid adapalene 0.1% if you need additional acne control. It works as an exfoliant to unclog pores. Use it daily after you shower or before going to bed. Special lotion applicators for the back are available to help you get the medicine where you need it. If back acne hasnt improved after eight weeks of OTC treatment, see a dermatologist.
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How To Prevent Back Acne
According to Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology, “Because the back has a high density of sweat and oil glands, and is generally covered with clothing, its prone to heat-trapping, occlusion, and pressure,” Nazarian explains. All of these factors increase the chances of back acne formation and scarring.
- Avoid backpacks: Rubbing and friction can cause a type of acne on the back called acne mechanica.
- Use an acne-medicated body wash: Washing with an acne-specific body cleanser will help to decrease acne pimples and inflammation. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid that break up blocked, clogged pores and decrease back acne inflammation.
- Wear breathable clothing: To avoid trapping sweat and heat, try wearing fabrics such as cotton rather than polyblend fabrics.
- Dont pick: Even though some of our back acne pimples may be within our reach, picking only increases injury to the skin and makes it even more likely scars will form.
- Dont sunbathe: Although it may be tempting to camouflage acne pimples with a tan, this will increase redness and the pigment that acne leaves behind, leaving those scars around longer and preventing them from fading.
How To Prevent Breakouts On Your Back
If you notice your breakouts get worse with the heat, youre probably dealing with heat rash, not acne. So stay in a cool, dry environment. But if you work outside in the DFW heat, make sure to shower regularly and change shirts throughout the day to keep the yeast from multiplying.
The same rules apply to workouts. Change your clothes immediately after a high-sweat workout and shower as soon as you can to cleanse the skin.
If you think your hormone therapy is triggering the breakout, cut back on your medication. A lower dosage may make a big difference.
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How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Body Acne On The Back Chest & Shoulders
Body acne, including acne on the back , chest, and shoulders can be more aggressive than face acne, however, the process of acne formation is the same. The pores become filled with excess sebum, dead skin cells, and dirt which clogs the skins pores and hosts bacteria, leading to pimples. Whitehead pimples form when the hair follicle wall swells out. Blackhead pimples form when the clogged pore gets exposed to air.
Many factors contribute to body acne including genetics, medications, sweat, stress, and hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy. Dairy and foods high on the Glycemic Index can also trigger body acne. Adhering to a consistent acne treatment regimen and incorporating healthy lifestyle changes can help eliminate and prevent hormonal body acne.
Hormonal Causes Of Body Acne
One of the main causes of body acne is the change and fluctuation in hormone levels. Androgens, such as testosterone, cause an increase in sebum production, cell activity, and bacteria resulting in acne. Testosterone is more prevalent during puberty when sebum levels spike, increasing skin oiliness. For women, hormonal changes relating to pregnancy and the menstrual cycle also play a role in acne formation. Additionally, the decrease in estrogen levels around menopause can also cause acne.
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Here Are A Few Tips On How To Get Rid Of Back Acne:
Change your sheets
Try your best to change your sheets about once a week or so. “Changing your sheets frequently is beneficial because dead skin cells and bacteria can easily accumulate on them throughout the night and irritate skin,” says Dr. Chimento.
Make over your morning routine
Your conditioner, your sunscreen , your body cream can all clog pores, causing you to get zits on your back. Luckily, a few easy tweaks to your get-ready routine can help slash your chances of one popping up.
When washing and conditioning, flip your hair to the front and rinse forward to avoid leaving shampoo and conditioner residue on your back and rinse your whole body thoroughly before stepping out of the shower. In summertime, it’s better to use lotions rather than creams because they have less oil content and rely more on water to hydrate the skin, so they’re less clogging. “Only use non-comedogenic creams and lotions: these products are specifically formulated with ingredients that won’t block pores,” Dr. Chimento says.
And when it’s time to apply sunscreen, choose one that is labeled “ultra-light” or “quick-dry” like La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid.
Swap out your clothing
Choose the right cleanser
Eat skin-friendly foods
Give your back extra love
See a dermatologist
What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain
The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.
Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.
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How Do You Get Rid Of Back Acne Overnight
While there is no magic cure for back acne, there are methods that can be implemented to reduce the severity. Washing your face with a gentle cleanser and applying spot treatment can be very effective. Additionally, a warm compress helps reduce swelling, which in turn, makes blemishes less noticeable.
Being Lazy With Laundry
Dont be that guythe one who dares to wear the same gym shirt two days in a row, even if you let it air out. Not only will your fellow gym-goers notice , but youre doing your skin a disservice. Make sure to wash your gym clothes regularly as bacterial buildup from sweat can also lead to skin irritation and breakouts, Rossi says.
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Missing Your Back In The Shower
Weve all been guilty of this on occasion. The back is a spot that is easy to forget about in the shower.
After you exercise, be sure to show your backside some love by washing the area with a Salicylic Acid-based cleanser or a gentle bar soap.
Exfoliating your backside once or twice a week can also do wonders for your back acne.
Treatment Modalities For Back Acne
The doctor will recommend the appropriate medical treatment for your back acne depending upon the severity of your condition and other relevant factors such as your age and gender. These treatments may aim at improving the acne, managing the underlying causative factor, relieving the symptoms, or fading acne marks.
Here are the treatment options for back acne:
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Back Acne: Causes Prevention And Treatment Options
Originally published November 12, 2015. Updated on December 13, 2021.
Acne occurs in any area of the skin with hair follicles, meaning that all hair-bearing areas of the skin are susceptible to acne breakouts. Acne is typically associated with the face, but other areas of the body can experience breakouts too. Pimples can arise on the chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms and even buttocks. More commonly, breakouts occur on the back. Like the face, the back has numerous oil-producing pores that can easily get clogged. Back acne is so common it even has its own nickname: backne. This form of acne affects more than half of all acne sufferers and can be not only an aesthetic concern, but also extremely uncomfortable and painful.
While back acne is easier to hide than face acne, having even a mild case can make people feel subconscious and uneasy. Fortunately, you do not have to live with backne! Learn more about what causes back acne and how to prevent or treat it.
Slathering On Sunscreen Is Always A Good Idea But Be Sure To Choose The Right One
It’s definitely important to shield your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays when the sun is shining. That includes using a daily sunscreen on any part of your skin that is exposed to the sunshine, including your back.
However, doing the right thing for your skin’s long-term health might leave you with back pimples if you don’t use a sunscreen specially formulated for acne-prone skin.
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Visiting The Doctor For Shoulder And Back Acne Treatment
If youre struggling to find a shoulder or back acne treatment that works for you, make an appointment at one of our Minnesota dermatology offices. Seeking medical attention can help to quickly treat the acne while also preventing it from recurring. Regardless of the acnes type or cause, a dermatologist can help. Shoulder and back acne may be easy to hide, but it is often uncomfortable. Schedule a consultation with us to start on a treatment plan designed for your acne and lifestyle. Contact us today.
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