Getting Rid of Back Acne - Advanced Dermatology Care
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Getting Rid of Back Acne

Back Acne

Acne is very common, and most people associate acne with primarily targeting one’s face; however, acne is common anywhere on the body that contains oil-producing glands. A common area on the body affected by acne besides the face is the back, often referred to as “backne”. Back acne can be very uncomfortable to deal with and depending on its severity will determine the type of medication that is needed. Back acne can by classified as any of the following: blackheads, whiteheads, papules, and cysts. Black heads have a dark spot in the center where whiteheads have a white center. Cysts are tender lumps that can be very painful and lastly, papules are small bumps that have no distinct head.

Acne occurs on the back because there are sebaceous glands that produce sebum. Sebum is an oily, waxy substance that is meant to coat and moisturize the skin. Since sebaceous glands are attached to hair follicles, they can clog your pores and create blockages. Blockages can cause breakouts to occur and form into cysts. Acne lesions can develop due to bacteria being trapped in the pore which can also lead to a type of yeast called Malassezia. Malassezia grows in areas that are humid and sweaty and can grow on one’s back since that part of the body is typically covered by clothing and backpacks.

There are several ways that back acne can be treated, such as over the counter medication, cleansers, non-prescription creams, and moisturizers. If you are experiencing mild to moderate back acne, you could treat it with over-the-counter products that focus on targeting lesions. It is also important to use a cleanser that doesn’t irritate your skin. Avoid harsh products and do not scrub your body because this can lead to scarring. Medicated non-prescription creams can also help reduce acne especially if they include retinoid. Additionally, if your skin feels dry, make sure to apply moisturizer right out of the shower.

If topical products aren’t helping, there’s also light and laser therapy. There are different types of light and laser therapy such as red, blue, infrared red light, photo-pneumatic therapy, photodynamic therapy, and at-home light therapy. Red, blue, or infrared light therapy can be used to treat pimples . Photo-pneumatic therapy can help unclog pores such as whiteheads and blackheads. Photodynamic therapy can treat severe acne and at-home light therapy devices can treat pimples, but the light isn’t as intense. To prevent acne, it is important to maintain a consistent and gentle skin care routine.


Advanced Dermatology Care of Southern California is a comprehensive dermatology group providing general & surgical dermatology, cosmetic enhancements and plastic surgery with two Southern California locations. Under the direction of Michael P. Tabibian, M.D., Medical Director, our collective experience aims to provide our patients innovative and highly individualized skin treatment solutions for patients of all ages and skin types.