How to Get Rid Of Back Acne (“Bacne”)

How to Get Rid Of Back Acne (“Bacne”)
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For many people, acne is a frustrating, and sometimes, a distressing skin condition which can affect more areas of their body than just the face. Acne can appear on any part of the body where sebaceous glands produce sebum, and back acne (or just called bacne for short) affects a surprising number of people. In fact, a study carried out on the prevalence of back acne found that bacne affects around 75% of acne patients.

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Acne on the back and chest is caused by the same reasons why spots, pimples, pustules, and papules affect the face. Sebum (the oil the skin produces) and dead skin cells plug up the hair follicles. When this happens, bacteria can infect the clogged pores resulting in inflammation and pus-filled red bumps on the back, shoulders, chest and the face.

Very often, our lifestyle choices can affect the appearance of acne. According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, factors like an unhealthy diet, having too much stress, working in a dirty environment, and certain medications can all make acne, including back acne, worse.1

There are many home remedies which can help to unclog pores, kill off the bacteria causing follicles to become inflamed, and help prevent further outbreaks of pimples and bacne. For example, natural ingredients like tea tree oil can help disinfect infected pores, reduce swelling, and soothe inflamed skin. Other home remedies to prevent back acne include sugar to help gently exfoliate the skin and unclog plugged pores.

However, there are a number of reasons why it can be more challenging to treat outbreaks of acne on the back and upper body area.

Back Acne (“Bacne”) Can Be Difficult to Treat

There might be contributing factors why back acne can sometimes be more difficult to cure. Irritation is known to make acne worse and is called acne mechanica. This means that sweaty clothes that constantly rub against the skin of your back (for example, during physical activity) can aggravate bacne.2 It is also sometimes harder to thoroughly clean and exfoliate your back to remove dirt and dead skin cells.

The website Acne.org also says that the skin on the back and chest is thicker and has larger pores than on the face. This means that red bumps and pustules due to acne on the back tend to be larger and be more inflamed. They can even develop into deep, painful, pus-filled lesions called acne cysts.

Let’s look at some of the best natural treatments to get rid of back acne. These can help to clear up mild to moderate outbreaks of bacne. However, if you want to know how to cure severe forms of back acne, the end of this article looks at some of the methods dermatologists use to clear large outbreaks of acne on your back.

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The Best Home Remedies to Get Rid of Back Acne

Tea Tree Oil

The antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil can be very useful in treating back acne and reducing inflammation in infected pores. In fact, tea tree is one of the best essential oils for acne because it can also help to dry up clogged pores and kill the bacteria that cause acne.

Clinical trials have confirmed the beneficial effects that tea tree oil has on acne-prone skin and in getting rid of the appearance of spots. The journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews explained that the compound terpinen-4 found in tea tree oil has powerful antimicrobial activity and is effective against a broad range of bacteria.3

One study on the effectiveness of using tea tree oil to treat acne found that it was as effective as the popular anti-acne drug benzoyl peroxide in reducing the size and number of inflamed lesions. The study also found that there were less associated side effects experienced with using 5% tea tree oil gel. The reason why tea tree oil was so effective for acne breakouts in the study was due to its ability to disinfect infected pores.

To use tea tree oil as a natural home remedy for back acne, you need to dilute tea tree essential oil to make a toner for your skin. Usually essential oils are best diluted in carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, sweet almond oil or coconut oil (5-10 drops per 30 ml of carrier oil).

However if you prefer to avoid using carrier oil on your back, you can mix the tea tree oil in pure aloe vera gel, witch hazel or even water (but then you will need to shake vigorously before each use to mix the tea tree oil with the water). Using a cotton ball, apply the tea tree oil remedy to the affected skin on your back and allow to dry.

For best results, you should apply the tea tree oil 3 times a day to help reduce the size of red, inflamed pores and get rid of excess oil.

You can also add tea tree oil to your shower gel to help kill off the bacteria responsible for acne breakouts on your back as well as other areas. You should add around 10 drops of tea tree oil to 1 oz. of shower gel.

Oatmeal

Taking an oatmeal bath is a natural way to get rid of back acne. Oatmeal can help to reduce inflammation of infected pores and soothe any discomfort that painful lumps on your back are causing you. The healing properties of oatmeal can also possibly help prevent further outbreaks of bacne.

A review of the properties of oatmeal in dermatology published in 2012 showed that oatmeal contains anti-inflammatory, antiviral and moisturizing properties. These combine to make it an effective home remedy for treating a number of inflammatory skin conditions. The review also mentioned that an oatmeal lotion has been effective in treating outbreaks of acne.

This is how you can make an oatmeal bath if you want to get relief from your back acne:

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  • Put a few handfuls of oatmeal into an old pair of pantyhose or long tube sock and set under the faucet.
  • Fill your bath with warm water, making sure the water runs through the oatmeal.
  • Occasionally squeeze the oatmeal mixture to extract more of the oat liquid.
  • Soak in the tub for 20 minutes. While soaking, you can take some of the oatmeal mixture from the sock and gently exfoliate your back to remove excess sebum and dead skin cells to unplug blocked pores.

Soak in an oatmeal bath a few times each week to help reduce inflammation on your back and get relief from the discomfort that swollen pustules cause.

Oatmeal also has a cleansing effect on your skin to help remove excess dirt and grime, as well as leaving your skin feeling moisturized and smooth.

Sugar Scrub

Another way to unblock infected pores in your back and treat acne is to use a sugar scrub. It can remove dead skin cells and excess sebum which causes acne on your back. The grainy texture of sugar helps to loosen grime that has built up in the pores and prevent further infections from developing. This sugar scrub includes lemon juice, which contains Alpha Hydroxy Acid, a natural chemical peel for the skin because it dissolves dead skin cells.

To make a sugar scrub to exfoliate your back, do the following:

  • Mix 1/4 cup of brown sugar with juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 tbsp. raw honey. It should have the consistency of a thick paste.
  • Gently massage onto the acne-prone area of skin on your back using circular motions.
  • Leave for around 5 minutes.
  • Rinse off with warm water.

Use the sugar scrub on your back 1-2 times a week to rid your pores of dirt and grime and help prevent further breakouts of bacne.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Similar to lemon juice, apple cider vinegar is an effective cleansing and exfoliating agent to get rid of bacteria that cause pimples and acne on your back. The acidic nature of ACV helps to remove dead skin cells and makes it easier to unplug pores that are inflamed.

To make your apple cider vinegar toner for back acne, all you need to do is mix together equal parts of raw ACV and water. Don’t apply undiluted ACV as it can burn your skin. Use a cotton ball soaked in the ACV mixture and apply the remedy to your back. The ACV will help clear off excess sebum from your skin and remove a buildup of dead skin cells. Repeat daily to help your skin heal and reduce the number of pimples you have on your back.

Baking Soda

There are many reasons why baking soda is a great natural remedy to help remove acne from your back. Baking soda helps to reduce redness around inflamed pimples and its fine grainy texture makes it a great gentle exfoliator.

One study into the properties of baking soda found that it contains antibacterial compounds that can fight off bacterial infections.4 Studies have also shown that it is an effective anti-inflammatory which can help wounds heal quicker.5

If you have a few large pustules on your back, use baking soda as an effective spot treatment to reduce swelling and redness of infected pores. You can make a baking soda remedy for bacne by adding just enough water to baking soda to form a thick paste. Apply the natural spot treatment directly onto the pustules on your back and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing off. Use the baking soda spot treatment remedy daily to help get rid of large pimples and spots quicker.

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Another way to use the acne-fighting properties of baking soda to prevent bacne breakouts is to make an exfoliating paste with some lemon juice. Lemon juice is a natural astringent that helps to reduce redness and excess sebum. Here is how to use it:

  • Mix 2 tbsp. baking soda, 2 tbsp. water and 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice to form a smooth paste.
  • Apply the baking soda paste to the affected areas on your back and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse off with warm water and pat dry.

If you have sensitive skin, the lemon juice may sting your skin too much. If that is the case, you can try to use the exfoliating baking soda acne remedy without the lemon juice.

If you are interested in more uses for baking soda in your fight against acne, please read my article about the complete guide to baking soda for acne and pimples.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is beneficial for getting rid of acne (including bacne) because its anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties help to soothe and protect irritated, red skin.

Some studies into aloe vera have shown that it helps to boost the effectiveness of anti-acne pharmaceutical ointments. For example, tretinoin is a topical retinoid containing a form of vitamin A and is often used to treat acne. The Journal of Dermatological Treatment found that when aloe vera gel was used in conjunction with tretinoin, the effects of tretinoin on acne were increased and it became more effective to reduce scaling and redness.6

Other studies into aloe vera have shown that it helps speed up wound healing and reduce skin inflammation.

You can use pure aloe vera gel directly on your back acne to help soothe red skin and it may also reduce the size of inflamed pores.

You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to the aloe vera gel to enhance its effectiveness. Apply the aloe vera and tea tree oil to the affected area on your back to help reduce the severity of your acne and speed up the healing process.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is great for helping to reduce swelling and inflammation of acne pimples. The natural astringent activity of witch hazel also helps to remove excess oil from pores and reduces the appearance of red acne lumps on your back.

To use witch hazel as a natural home remedy for acne, you just need to apply it with a cotton pad 3 times a day to areas of acne on your back. Keep doing this regularly to soothe inflamed skin and help reduce the size of infected pores.

If you want to find out more why you should use witch hazel for acne-prone skin, please refer to my article about the many benefits of witch hazel for acne.

Zinc Cream

Zinc is a useful home remedy in the fight against acne and many people have found that it has helped them clear up back acne.

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A study published in the journal Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology found that many people with moderate to severe acne also had zinc, vitamin A, and E deficiencies. They recommend that patients who suffer from outbreaks of acne should enjoy a diet rich in zinc, vitamin A, and E to help boost the effects of any acne treatment.7

If you are plagued by large, painful pimples and papules on your back, you can try using zinc as a topical cream or by taking zinc supplements.

You can purchase a lotion containing 1.2% zinc acetate and apply the zinc acne cream 2 times a day to the affected skin on your back. You may find that the zinc cream can help you get rid of back acne and get relief from the appearance of a “spotty back.”

Alternatively, you can increase your dietary intake of zinc by taking supplements. It is not recommended to take more than 50 mg a day because too much zinc can interfere with the absorption of other trace elements in your body.

Sulfur

Using sulfur to get and maintain healthy skin is a practice that goes back for centuries. Scientific studies have also shown that sulfur can help to treat acne and can also be used in conjunction with other topical acne products.

If you have mild to moderate outbreaks of acne on your back, you can apply some sulfur ointment to the affected area. You can buy sulfur ointment online or in many drug stores.

Other Methods to Get Rid of Back Acne (“Bacne”)

It can be a challenge to treat and get rid of severe acne on your back. Many of the natural remedies for bacne in this article may help to successfully clear up back acne or at least provide relief from inflamed pores. However, if you find that these remedies don’t help you get relief from acne, you may have to visit a dermatologist.

Dermatologists use various topical medicated ointments to help peel away dead skin and unclog pores. Because the skin on your back is less sensitive than your face, these medicated lotions are usually better tolerated on your upper body area.

Here are some of the most popular ingredients used to successfully treat back acne:

Benzoyl Peroxide. This is used to help reduce the bacteria called propionibacteria acnes which cause outbreaks of acne. Benzoyl peroxide helps to dry out excess sebum and peel off layers of dead skin. On some skin, it can cause excess dryness, itching, and redness. However, most people’s skin gets used to benzoyl peroxide and in time side effects disappear.

Salicylic Acid. Salicylic acid is naturally found in many fruit and vegetables like berries, tomatoes, and cucumbers as well as in willow tree. Many medicated acne treatments contain around 2% concentration salicylic acid. It helps to reduce redness on inflamed pimples and unplugs blocked skin pores. Salicylic acid can also help to loosen scaly skin.

Retinoids. Ointments classed as retinoids work in a similar way to vitamin A on the skin and they are used to treat moderate to severe acne outbreaks, and one of the most popular is tretinoin. These medicated ointments help to unclog pores and reduce the number of acne outbreaks. They also regulate the skin’s production of sebum to help reduce acne infections. Some users of retinol creams say that they make acne worse before it gets better. Also be aware that retinoids have teratogenic effect that can cause embryo or fetus malformations,8,9 So follow your doctors instructions carefully.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Many citrus foods contain natural sources of alpha hydroxyl acids. Commercially produced products are used to treat various skin conditions and it can help to reduce outbreaks of acne and reduce the appearance of acne scars.

How to Prevent Back Acne

In order to manage acne properly and help prevent outbreaks if you have acne-prone skin, it’s important to take good care of your skin and not use products that can irritate skin even more. This is especially true if you have back acne.

Many people find it harder to thoroughly wash their back, and it can be difficult to make sure that acne treatments are applied to all the affected skin areas on the back. Here are some top tips to help prevent outbreaks of acne on your back.

  • Regularly exfoliate your back using a loofah or long-handled body brush to help remove dead skin cells and cleanse excess oil from your back. It’s important not to scrub too hard so that you don’t irritate inflamed pores. Remember to add some tea tree oil to your shower gel to help kill off acne-causing bacteria.
  • To avoid an excess buildup of bacteria on your back that can block pores, always shower after physical exercise to wash off sweat.
  • Wear clean, loose-fitting clothes that allow the skin to breathe.
  • Always wash clothes with a gentle laundry detergent that has little or no scent.
  • If your dermatologist had recommended a course of treatment to get rid of back acne, follow the instructions carefully.

Read my other related articles:
1. The Best Essential Oils for Acne
2. Baking Soda for Acne and Pimples – The Complete Guide
3. Witch Hazel for Acne – The Ultimate Guide
4. Coconut Oil For Acne – Does It Really Work?

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