How to Get Rid of Back Acne
Acne looks unpleasant and usually, it makes us feel embarrassed. Many people look at back acne as if it’s somehow worse. Maybe it’s because people think the back should not develop acne at all.
The fact is, however, that back acne is incredibly common, and like other forms of acne, it’s usually treatable.
In this article, we’ll explain what back acne is, as well as its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
What Is Back Acne?
Acne is a common skin disease mostly identified by pimples on one’s face. According to MedlinePlus, pimples form when there is a clog in a hair follicle or a pore. Anyone can get acne, but it’s most common in teenagers and young adults. It’s also not very serious, however, severe cases of acne can leave behind some scars.
Most people don’t realize this, but acne actually comes in many different types and forms.
In a second MedlinePlus article, they talk about some of the different kinds of acne out there.
“Acne is a skin condition that causes pimples or ‘zits,’” writes MedlinePlus. “Whiteheads (closed comedomes), blackheads (open comdedomes), red, inflamed papules, and nodules or cysts may develop. These most often occur on the face or shoulders.”
This all might tells us what acne is, generally speaking, but what specifically is back acne?
Back acne is just acne that’s on your back.
There’s nothing any more unique about back acne than acne you’d find on your face or anywhere else. Acne is acne. The only way acne changes will depend on how it’s formed and how much of it appears in a given area. Red pimples, blackheads, and cystic acne are all different from each other, but these same red pimples, blackheads, and cystic acne are the same no matter where on the body they develop.
What Causes Back Acne?
Back acne is frequently portrayed as a condition that only affects teenagers, but that’s just not the case. Back acne can affect anyone. In fact, the vast majority of people either have experienced, currently experience, or will experience some kind of acne. It’s really a matter of when, not if.
The FDA published a consumer update where they spoke about the causes of acne. In the article, they talked about what does and does not cause acne.
Here are some factors people think cause acne but do not:
- Poor hygiene
- Not washing
According to the FDA, people generally get acne for only one reason.
“Clinically, acne is described as a disease of features known as pilosebaceous units (PSUs),” writes the FDA. “Found just under the skin, PSUs are numerous on the face, upper back, and chest, and contain sebaceous glands that are connected to hair follicles. The sebaceous glands produce sebum, an oily substance that empties onto the skin via the hair follicle”
They go on to say that these PSUs sometimes plug the pores on the skin. When this happens, acne develops. What kind of acne depends on how deeply the pore is clogged.
Acne-developing PSU clogs can happen for one of a couple of reasons:
- Increases in sex hormones known as androgens
- Hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy
- Infection-causing bacteria
A little more on this last cause.
In 2013, the University of California Los Angeles released the findings of a study which they conducted. According to the study, they found that different strands of Propionibacterium Acnes, a bacteria that can encourage clogged pores, has three different strains. Two of those strains can clog pores, but the third rarer strain can actually protect a patient’s skin and keep it clear.
What Are The Symptoms of Back Acne?
Most everyone is pretty knowledgeable regarding the symptoms of back acne, but the Mayo Clinic does a good job distinguishing different types of acne from one another.
Here is what different types of acne look like according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
- Blackheads (open plugged pores)
- Small red, tender bumps (papules)
- Pimples (pustules), which are papules with pus at their tips
- Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)
- Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)
According to the Mayo Clinic, patients should go see a doctor if self-care remedies and treatments don’t work or if they develop severe cases of acne such as nodules or cystic lesions.
Treatment Options - How to Get Rid of Back Acne
The National Center for Biotechnology Information featured an article from the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. In the article, researchers outlined several tips for treating not just back acne, but acne in general.
Here are some of those tips:
Don’t squeeze your pimples - For some reason, it’s very satisfying to pop pimples. That being said, it’s probably a bad idea. Popped pimples look better in the short-run, but in the long-run, you’re most likely pushing the infection deeper into the skin. This increases the chance of developing nodules and cystic acne later.
Avoid greasy makeup - Sometimes patients, women especially, want to conceal their acne. The only problem with this is that most makeups are greasy and can prevent oils from leaving the pores. This makes it more likely that your acne will get even worse. So if you’re going to use a concealer, get a recommendation from your dermatologist.
Don’t touch your skin too much - Touching your skin leads to slight inflammation, which can lead to harder-to-drain pores. The harder it is for oil to leave your pores, the easier it is for acne to develop.
The Columbia University Medical Center wrote out a list of additional treatment options for those affected with acne.
This list includes the following:
- Over-the-counter creams and ointments
- Prescription medicines
- Topical retinoids
- Birth control
- Laser therapy
- Light therapy
- Chemical peels
- Steroid injections
Most people, however, just need a good skin soap and a quality ointment to make their acne go away.
Everyone Gets Acne And Everyone Can Treat It
Hopefully, now you feel better equipped to treat your back acne. You might find it embarrassing, but just remember that most people experience acne, and yours is probably no worse or better than anyone else’s acne.
Now that you know what to do, go out and take care of your skin.