Categorized | Acne

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Is That Acne On Your Back? Causes and Treatments for Back Acne

Back acne can be a very uncomfortable and unpleasant skin condition. As its name implies, it is acne that appears on the body, particularly the back, although it can also be found in other areas such as the shoulders, upper arms and even the buttocks.

Back acne can be as simple as a few pimples and whiteheads but it can also come in a more severe form that also includes blackheads, cysts and pustules. Back acne is not only unsightly, it can also be painful and later cause scarring, which tends to be permanent.

What causes back acne?

Essentially, that acne on your back is just acne and its cause is still unknown. What is known, however, is that back acne usually occurs in pubescent girls and boys, although it can also be found in adults. When young teens enter puberty, this is also the time when their sebaceous glands become active. Sebaceous glands produce sebum, the oil which our bodies naturally create.

This is a normal process. The problem begins when the body produces too much sebum. This clogs up the hair follicles and the pores, making the skin an ideal breeding ground for the bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. This bacteria causes a skin infection that produces redness and swelling. As a result, pimples appear. When they become enlarged, become filled with pus and liquid, multiply and produce lesions, you get acne on your back.

Who gets acne?

In the same manner as it is not fully understood why some people get acne while others don’t, it is also not known why back acne occurs in some people while others remain pimple-free. However, some studies have shown that back acne tends to run in families so if some people in your family have back acne, that probably explains why you have it, too. Back acne also tends to appear in people who sweat profusely. It can also appear in women taking hormones.

Can tight or heavy clothing cause back acne?

There is no proof that certain clothing cause back acne, nor has a direct link between backpacks and back acne been established. However, these factors seem to contribute to excessive sweating, which exacerbates a back acne condition.

How do I treat back acne?

Body skin is a lot more resilient and tough compared to facial skin, but that is not an excuse to be rough on that acne on your back. The treatment for back acne may be slightly different but it is by no means less gentle.

Start with a sensible skin-cleansing regimen. Use an antibacterial soap or a specially formulated soap for acne to help prevent further infections and break outs. Shower on a regular basis and give extra care and attention to the affected area of the back. Thoroughly dry your skin with a clean towel.

Use an anti-acne product such as a topical cream containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Just be careful with using benzoyl peroxide because it has mild bleaching characteristics which might bleach the fabric of your clothes. Either wait for the ointment or gel to dry before putting on clothes or just wear something white.

If you engage in activities where you sweat excessively, make sure to take a shower immediately after. Always wear fresh, clean clothes and choose fabrics made with natural fibers. You should also wear fabrics that absorb moisture well to make sure that you keep perspiration away from your skin.

Some back acne treatments can dry the skin, especially those that exfoliate. When skin is too dry, it can also be prone to break outs. To protect your skin from excessive dryness, use non-comedogenic lotions or moisturizers.

Other treatments

Back acne is more difficult to treat because it is spread across a much wider area. If using a topical cream seems impractical and ineffective, you might want to ask your doctors for alternative solutions. Back acne may also be treated with topical antibiotics, injections, oral contraceptives and laser therapy. Always ask for your doctor’s recommendation before using another form of treatment to ensure you do not aggravate your skin’s condition.

If scarring has occurred, don’t worry. There are surgical and cosmetic means with which to help improve your skin’s appearance. Procedures such as laser therapy, excision and skin needling are just a few options you can ask your doctor about to help get rid of that acne on your back.

What about that backpack?

If you find that carrying a backpack seems to aggravate your back acne condition, use another means with which to carry stuff around. You can either wait until that acne on your back clears and use that backpack again or you can give it up altogether.

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