The 3-Step Treatment Plan for Back Acne

Got Back or Butt Acne? Here's How to Get Rid of It For Good

Prevent back acne with this 3-step treatment plan.
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Back or butt acne, otherwise known as bacne, can be embarrassing and painful. While it is common with teenagers going through puberty, some adults are prone to it as well. In any case, if you have some bacne, it's best to get it cleared up as soon as possible.

The good news is that most body acne is treatable at home with a few medications that you can get over the counter. All you need is a three-step treatment program and the persistence to keep up the routine until your skin heals.

What Causes Bacne?

Bacne tends to form on the back, upper arms, and the buttocks and can take several forms. It might cause pimples, blackheads, pustules, or cysts that form deep under the skin's surface and they can be painful.

Acne tends to start with blackheads. These are the result of oil and dead cells getting trapped in a pore where they block the duct and mix with bacteria. When they are exposed to air, they turn black and red pimples develop when blackheads become inflamed. If a pimple becomes infected, it develops a whitehead or a pustule. 

Back acne tends to occur around puberty when the sebaceous glands start functioning and begin producing sebum. When too much sebum is produced, pores and hair follicles can become clogged and attract bacteria. This can lead to acne.

Back and butt acne can affect adults as well, due to trapped sebum. This can be caused by sweating, wearing tight clothing, and not exfoliating your back and bottom properly.

How to Treat Back & Butt Acne

You should treat back and butt acne as you would acne on the face. Since the skin is thicker on the backs of the arms as well as the back and bottom, you can opt for stronger formulas than you would use to treat facial acne.

For milder versions of back or body acne, a topical 10 percent benzoyl peroxide cream or gel may suffice (for your face, 10 percent is too harsh, opt for two percent).

Simply dab the cream on the pimples at night and let it dry before you put on clothing. 

To treat mild back acne, try this three-step program:

  • Step 1: Wash the back with an anti-bacterial cleanser formulated for the face, such as Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. Avoid using regular soap. Let your skin dry.
  • Step 2: Follow with a 10 percent benzoyl peroxide gel or cream, which are available over-the-counter or by prescription. A popular option that gets rave customer reviews is Topix Benzoyl Peroxide Wash. Let this dry.
  • Step 3: (optional) Some experts suggest using the benzoyl peroxide in tandem with a product containing an alpha hydroxy acid. The very popular Alpha Hydrox AHA Enhanced Lotion is optimal, though there are other options available that can get the job done as well.

For severe back acne, you will find it best to consult a dermatologist for prescription treatment. Cysts can be treated in the office as well.

How to Prevent Back Acne

If you're prone to breakouts and get it cleared up, there are ways to prevent bacne from reoccurring. This is also good general skincare advice for anyone who wants to avoid it in the first place.

New York City dermatologist Patricia Wexler recommends showering immediately after working out or sweating heavily.

Once in the shower, exfoliation is a great way to get rid of dead skin cells that tend to build up on these often forgotten areas. There are several exfoliation options:

  1. An electronic scrubber like the dermatologist-recommended Clarisonic Mia is an excellent way to exfoliate. It's even more effective when paired with an anti-bacterial cleanser, which will kill the bacteria that causes acne on the back and the butt.
  2. Use a sugar scrub (they're milder than salt scrubs) in the shower on a weekly basis. It's very easy to make your own scrub or you can buy them at most drug stores.
  3. Use a back scrubber with natural bristles on a regular basis. Just make sure to keep any wooden scrubbers out of the immediate shower area because they can collect mold.
  4. Exfoliating gloves and towels are wonderful for scrubbing away dead skin that can cause pimples. Good bets are the Earth Therapeutic exfoliating gloves and exfoliating towel. The towel is perfect for those hard-to-reach places and you can throw it in the washing machine along with your gloves.