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“Bacne” – How to Prevent It

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Are you tired of hiding your back because of back acne? Are you thinking of selling that backless dress you have saved for a special event because you’re too embarrassed? How about that swimsuit you’ve been planning on wearing for summer? Well, worry no more, because here are our best tips and recommendations to reduce bacne.

Is Bacne A Real Word?

But first, what is back acne, aka “bacne”? Sure, it might be a made up word, but it’s a real thing. Back acne, similar to acne on other parts of our body, is caused by the buildup of dead skin cells and oil within our pores, combined with the excessive growth of a common skin bacteria called Cutibacterium acnes. When these skin cells, oil and bacteria are trapped within our pores they cause inflammation resulting in the appearance of acne. This inflammatory acne is often red and bumpy, rather than comedonal (blackheads and whiteheads).

Back acne, similar to acne on other parts of our body, is caused by the buildup of dead skin cells and oil within our pores, combined with the excessive growth of a common skin bacteria called Cutibacterium acnes.

There are certain factors that affect who’ll get back acne and who won’t. Susceptibility to acne can be genetic, meaning some of us inherit a predisposition to developing acne from our parents. Acne can also be the result of necessary medications, like lithium, steroids, and anti-seizure medicines. Bacne breakouts usually start during our teenage years due to the hormonal changes caused by puberty. Sweating while wearing excessively tight clothes can also contribute to the development of acne. And stressing out because of bacne can also worsen our bacne – because stress raises our cortisol levels.

Back acne comes in the same shapes and sizes as the acne that shows up on our faces. We can see whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. Whiteheads develop when the opening to a follicle is closed, and appear as a white bump. Blackheads are similar to whiteheads but turn black as the air oxidizes the exposed pore contents. Inflammatory papules appear as pink bumps, typically due to inflammation. Pustules usually have a white or yellow surface due to the presence of white blood cells. Nodules develop at deeper layers and can cause tissue damage, leading to long-lasting scars. Cysts are even deeper than nodules and sometimes need to be removed with surgery.

What You Can Do

Things to Avoid:

Clear skin on the back after seeing dermatologist and starting regimen using bacne medicine

1. Don’t use oil-based skincare products on your back which may trigger further inflammation.

2. Don’t wear clothing or accessories which occlude the skin or create too much friction on your back, because excessive sweating and friction can cause bacne.

3. Don’t re-wear clothes once they’ve been worn. It sounds obvious but dirty clothes carry dirt, oil, and sweat which can further irritate your skin. 

4. Don’t wear clothes that are made of synthetic fibers such as rayon or polyester when working out. 

5. Don’t pick the bacne! This can lead to permanent scarring.

Rules to Follow:

1. Shower every after workout and make sure you wash your skin with a mild soap and to avoid the accumulation of dead skin, dirt, and oil.

2. Exfoliate your skin with gentle scrubs.

3. Keep your hair tied away from your back to prevent irritation and the transfer of oils from hair to skin.

4. Wear materials such as cotton or Dri-Fit when exercising, and consider looser clothing. 

5. Wash your sheets regularly.

6. See a board-certified dermatologist for examination and personalized recommendations, which might include prescriptions or in-office treatments such as intralesional kenalog or photodynamic therapy.

Most of the time, at-home treatments for back acne will work. One home remedy is the Pacifica Beauty Bacne Warrior Acne Fighting Body Spray. It is an oil-free acne wash that contains salicylic acid which can help in preventing acne without irritating and overdrying the skin. Benzoyl Peroxide Emollient Foam Wash can also be used for treating acne. It can be used along with the other acne treatments for treating mild to moderate acne, though it can cause drying and peeling during treatment, especially when combining many drying products. Adapalene 0.1% retinoid gel is another over-the-counter medicine that can be used in treating and preventing acne. It treats current acne and prevents the formation of a new acne, too! It also can dry the skin.

Although some get away with over-the-counter products, most still prefer to consult with their dermatologist for more personalized options. Consultation with your doctor is usually necessary if you’re experiencing severe acne, recurrent acne, acne that doesn’t resolve or scarring.

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