Suffering From Bacne? Here’s The Solution
Suffering From Bacne? Here’s The Solution

Suffering From Bacne? Here’s The Solution

5 minutes read

Acne that shows up on the back and shoulders, commonly known as ‘bacne’, can be complicated to resolve. Mainly because, unlike blemishes on the face, bacne isn’t easily visible and tends to get ignored. In addition, the back isn’t the most accessible area on the body, which makes treating bacne trickier than usual.

The good news is that once you’re aware of the type of bacne you’re suffering from, you should be able to heal it and prevent future breakouts. Here’s everything you should know about back acne.

What causes bacne?

There are so many factors that could be causing the pesky spots on your back. The main reason this occurs is “because the skin on the back is thicker and so the potential for pores to become blocked with excess sebum (oil) and build-up of dead skin cells is much higher,” Dr. Zainab Laftah, Consultant Dermatologist at HCA The Shard tells Beauty Daily.

She adds: “Friction from workout gear can contribute to breakouts particularly on the shoulders. The raised body temperature and sweat build-up that occurs during exercise also provides an ideal environment for P.acnes bacteria to thrive, increasing the risk of breakouts.”

sweat causing bacne

Is bacne hormonal?

There is a possibility that your bacne results from fluctuations in hormone levels. For instance, experts say that when testosterone levels in the body rise, it could call an increase in sebum production, leading to clogged pores. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and the menstrual cycle can also play a role.

Types of bacne to look out for

Like facial breakouts, acne can manifest on your back in various ways. Below, Dr. Laftah reveals the four main types of acne you may experience on the back.


“Comedonal acne (blackhead and whiteheads) occurs due to excess oil production and dead skin cell build-up leading to blocked pores,” she explains.

“Open comedones, also known as blackheads, form when this oxidises and turns a brown/black colour due to the presence of the pigment melanin.”


Similarly, closed comedones (known as whiteheads) develop when this remains unexposed and appear as small bumps across the skin’s surface.

Inflammatory acne

“Inflammatory acne consists of swelling and redness around blocked pores, presenting as pimples (pustules) and small red bumps (papules).”

Cystic acne

“Cystic acne arises when painful abscess type lesions form deep within the skin.”

How to treat bacne

Bacne is treated depending on the type of acne present. But a general rule for all? Don’t be rough with it – no picking or squeezing. To treat it, try these tips instead:

For comedonal acne

“Cleansers containing salicylic acid and leave-on products containing retinoids will help to unclog pores and reduce build-up of excess oil and dead skin cells,” explains Dr. Laftah.

You could also treat it with a face mask that combats breakouts. The SOS Pure Rebalancing Clay Mask can work wonders on the back and shoulder area too.

“It can help bring down the inflammation, draw out impurities and just help mattify the area as well,” says Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager. The salicylic acid in it helps get through any oil in the pore. “Just remember to rinse it off,” she warns. Leaving it on for too long can dry out the area, which may exacerbate the problem.

For cystic acne

It’s best to visit your dermatologist if you’re suffering from cystic acne on the back. “For inflammatory and cystic acne, prescription-grade medication combined with salicylic acid cleansers are often needed to switch off the inflammation and unclog blocked pores,” says Dr. Laftah.

Can bacne be prevented?

There is a long list of measures you can take to prevent bacne flareups before they even start. Some of the best tips are:

Avoid heat and sweat in the back area

“To help reduce bacne, consider wearing loose-fitting cotton or moisture-wicking clothing,” advises Dr. Laftah. When you’re working out, sweating is inevitable. So, ensure you shower immediately after and wash your workout clothes after every use.

Cleanse and exfoliate your back regularly

“Cleansing and exfoliating are important, and I think with the body, people especially forget to exfoliate,” explains McHale.

Dr. Laftah recommends switching to oil-free skincare products to reduce the chance of pores becoming clogged. To prevent dead skin build-up, she suggests cleansing the skin on the back with a body wash containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid or benzyl peroxide.

You could also use a body scrub like the Exfoliating Body Scrub, that contains bamboo powders and a hint of ginger that help rejuvenate the surface of the skin.

body scrub

Exfoliation is generally recommended for everything from thick skin on your feet to face, but remember to be gentle – scrubbing aggressively could do more harm than good. “When you’re exfoliating, let the exfoliator do the work,” says McHale. “You don’t have to add any additional pressure. It’s about taking the dead skin off the surface, and you can do that with minimum friction because that’s what the product is designed to do.”

Keep your hair away from your back

Make sure that you wash your hair regularly or if you don’t want to over-wash it, wear it up and off your shoulders. You don’t want the oils from your hair to come in contact with your back.

“If you have long hair, it can create a lot of heat in the back area,” says McHale. “So, you’ve got not just the oils but also a warm environment, which is perfect for bacteria growth, resulting in spots.”

Treating bacne scars

Exfoliating the back routinely will help fade acne scars. But more importantly, don’t forget to apply your SPF on the back, especially if it’s going to be exposed to the sun. “Scar tissue is extra vulnerable to becoming pigmented because of the sun,” McHale explains.

She also recommends the Tonic Treatment Oil to help with bacne scars. “It’s a great natural oil to massage on the back and will help minimise the appearance of any scarring.”

Next read: How Working Out Affects Your Skin

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