How to Get Rid of Bacne

Read about the skin care concern we all experience, but want to avoid talking about.

Woman with a clear complexion | Reflect Beauty
Photo Credit: Rafaella Mendes Diniz on Unsplash

When it comes to skin care there are some things we want to pretend don’t exist. One of those is back acne, or “bacne.” You know, the thing that no one wants to talk about but almost all of us have experienced—and want to make go away. Fast. Our resident skin expert Gabriela Manrique talks about why we get it and how to get rid of it.

First, let’s talk about why it happens to begin with. Our skin has tiny holes called pores that can become clogged by sebum, bacteria, dead skin cells, and dirt. When this happens, the pore gets inflamed. We call this a pimple. If you get pimples often, especially several at once, you may have acne. This is a condition that typically develops in areas of skin with a lot of oil-producing glands, such as the face, chest, and back. In fact, more than half of people with facial acne also have some type of body acne as well.

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What is Bacne?

Acne on the back develops similarly to facial acne. The back has a high number of sebaceous glands attached to hair follicles or pores. When those pores become blocked, all the sebum gets trapped and allows acne bacteria to overgrow. Sweat can also clog hair follicles and pores, causing pimples.

So bacne happens and it’s extremely common. Luckily, in most cases, it can be treated with the proper skin care routine. Keep reading for tips on how to get rid of bacne.

[READ MORE: What Are Skin Blemishes and How to Clear Them Up ]

Change Out of Sweaty Clothes

One of the most common causes of back acne is sweaty clothes. When you work out, wear breathable cotton clothing and if you get sweaty, change your clothing as soon as possible. Try scheduling your workout sessions so you can shower and change clothes right away.

Look For Acne-Fighting Ingredients

Salicylic Acid

Every time you shower, wash your back with a mild, non-irritating cleanser.  A salicylic acid facial cleanser or body wash can help you get rid of acne on the back. Salicylic acid is a type of chemical exfoliator that promotes skin shedding. It also penetrates easily into the sebaceous glands where it decreases sebum production and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is another well-known ingredient for fighting acne. It has bactericidal activity (aka. it kills bacteria) against “Cutibacterium acnes” on the skin and within hair follicles. You can include a body wash with up to 5% benzoyl peroxide in your skin care routine without worrying about irritation, dryness, or peeling. It works best if you leave the suds on your skin for a few minutes before rinsing it away. This is because the skin on the back is thicker and it may need extra time to absorb.

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You can also try retinoids (retinol, retinaldehyde, or adapalene). They have been shown both to reduce visible acne lesions and also inhibit the development of new blemishes. Retinoids accelerate cell turnover, have anti-inflammatory activity, and can help improve the appearance of dark spots caused by acne.

Create Lifestyle Habits to Prevent Acne

Apart from choosing the right skin care products, you can also take action to help prevent future breakouts. There is scientific evidence that stress and a diet with dairy products, refined carbohydrates, chocolate, and saturated fat may aggravate acne. To prevent bacne you can practice healthy habits, like getting good sleep, wearing sunscreen, reducing stress, and having a healthy diet high in fiber, probiotics, and vegetables.  

Developing good habits and following these tips will help you clear the acne on your back and maybe even stop it from showing up in the first place.