Back acne (lovingly referred to as “bacne”) is embarrassing, inconvenient, and nasty. Facial acne is one thing since people can see it from a mile away and get used to it easily. But, if you’re heading to the beach this summer or just want to cut loose at the next family reunion while grilling out, you’ll want to try and make sure your back is on point—not just with tight trapezius muscles, but also with clear skin.
What causes bacne?
One of the leading causes of acne of any kind, including the back variety, is simple genetics. Some of us have oilier backs than others, creating a ripe breeding ground for pesky pimples to emerge on your shoulders and back.
Other commonly attributed causes of bacne are the same culprits that often contribute to facial acne as well. Poor hygiene—like skipping showers, leaving your gym shirt on, or going weeks (or even months, gasp!) without washing your bed sheets, blankets, and pillow cases—can initiate or exacerbate breakouts. Your diet is a major factor as well—not drinking enough water or taking in too much sugar can almost always directly contribute to acne breakouts.
If you believe genetics play no part, practice sound hygiene, and eat well—bacne can still plague you. The reality of the situation is that excess sweat, stress, and even hormone imbalance (such as from workout supplements or steroids) can result in breakouts too. The body is sensitive, and sometimes bacne is part of that.
Treating your bacne
All hope is not lost, though. Even if you do notice some pesky back zits popping up to ruin your summer vibes, there are a few things you can do to take back control. Lay groundwork for clear skin by washing bedding weekly, showering twice a day (especially post workout), sleeping in a clean shirt, and limiting sugar intake while increasing water intake.
If those practices don’t seem to do the trick, try exfoliating your back weekly (one to three times a week with a heavy-duty exfoliator for the body, not face) to remove excess dead skin cells that can build up in hair follicles and result in cysts. Also try using soaps and detergents designed for sensitive skin. If you’ve practiced what we preach and are still facing bacne, consult a dermatologist right away to get to the root of the problem with expert assistance.