Dr. Nandi examines treatments for 'Back Acne', also known as 'Bacne'

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jul 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-24 17:38:55-04

It’s the scourge of teenagers the world over, but back acne — or “bacne” as it’s sometimes called — can affect everyone, adults included.

In fact, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting anywhere from 40 to 50 million Americans at any one time. If left untreated, permanent scarring, low self-esteem, anxiety, and even depression can result, so it’s a good idea to know the facts.

Oily skin, blackheads, whiteheads, red spots, pimples, scars — these are all characteristics of someone who’s prone to having acne on the back.

Everyone has the bacteria that causes acne on their skin, and for most people it doesn’t cause problems. But others aren’t so lucky.

Lots of kids get it during puberty because their oil-producing glands are particularly sensitive to certain hormones at that age. But some people also get it after puberty, well into adulthood.

Often times it will resolve itself after puberty. But if not, there are some treatment options available that will minimize outbreaks:

  • For mild to moderate back acne, try topical medications first. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a product containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
  • More severe cases often require antibiotics and other medications in pill form. These generally take longer to work and may have side effects.
  • Laser and other light therapies may also help; chemical peels are often prescribed to treat blackheads and papules.
  • Try to keep blood sugar levels down. Some studies show that certain carbs —  including white bread and potato chips — increase blood sugar levels, potentially triggering acne.

Thanks. Is there anything else people should know about keeping “bacne” at bay?

Avoid wearing tight clothes, like exercise clothes that are too tight. This is something that contributes to people getting acne on the back.

I’d also say to wash after sweating, avoid products that irritate your skin and don’t spend too much time in the sun.

All of these things are bad for your skin. And damaged skin is actually more prone to acne.