Back Acne Treatment

While acne of the face (acne vulgaris) usually appears in adolescence, acne on the body presents itself often in adulthood. Back acne (“backne”) is a common problem and may be mild to severe. Read on to learn what back acne treatment to consider.
back acne treatment

Back acne develops when certain conditions are favorable for the growth of the bacterium P. acnes. These conditions are sometimes related to hot humid weather or hiking with a backpack for prolonged periods. Sometimes there is a genetic factor (if acne runs in your family). However, usually fluctuating hormones play a role in the development of back acne. These hormones could be the male hormones testosterone and dihydrotestosterone or female hormones, which fluctuate normally during the menstrual cycle.

Fluctuating hormones and stress can stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (an oily substance). Sebum is secreted around hair follicles to lubricate the hair and skin. Acne lesions start as a blockage in the hair follicle. Increased oil combined with dead skin cells can clog skin pores further. This results in whiteheads (closed comedo) or blackheads (open comedo). When the bacteria P. acnes is introduced into the mix, the lesion may become inflamed leading to a red appearance (the common acne pimple).

smooth skin without back-acne

Back acne does not just develop when many hairs are present on the back. Acne can develop in any hair follicle. If you have unwanted hair on your back, then it is advisable to take every precaution to prevent back acne from becoming worse. If you are already shaving your back or think about getting rid of hair on your back, read our article about shaving and avoiding body acne.


Back Acne Treatments

Many treatments for back acne are available. These treatments either focus on the elimination of the bacterium P. acnes, are anti-inflammatory, speed up the removal of dead skin cells or regulate hormonal fluctuations. Topical antibiotics such as erythromycin, clindamycin and tetracycline are prescribed by a dermatologist.

Oral antibiotics such as tetracycline or doxycycline are also a good back acne treatment option. Topical retinol (a form of vitamin A) speeds up the life cycle of cells lining the hair follicle. This reduces the chance that skin pores become clogged.

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