Shampoos and conditioners are particularly notorious for causing back acne, especially if they're formulated with occlusive ingredients such as oil, butters, or other comedogenic substances.
The simplest prevention method is to thoroughly cleanse your skin in the shower, right after you've shampooed and conditioned. Dr. Loretta explained that while any cleanser is better than nothing, you may have better luck keeping breakouts at bay by using a cleanser formulated specifically for acne-prone skin types.
Poor hygiene and excessive sweating may cause your skin to act out as well. While sweating can clear up your pores, the presence of dirt, oil, and dead cells blocking them may cause you to develop body acne. Cleaning your skin regularly is the best way to remedy this.
"Products like conditioners can leave residue on the scalp and skin surface, clogging pores and triggering irritation," says Dr. Jessica Weiser, a board-certified dermatologist of New York Dermatology Group. The result: redness and inflammation.
Like all acne, back acne is caused by overactive sebaceous glands. These glands produce an oily substance called sebum, which helps keep skin healthy. However, too much sebum can lead to bacteria growth and dead skin cells, which can block pores in the skin.
While benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are the most common ingredients for fighting acne on your body and face alike, there are differences between the two. “If you have sensitive skin, salicylic acid is a better choice since it is better tolerated than benzoyl peroxide," Peredo says.
Over-the-counter treatments for body acne include glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Both are exfoliating agents that help unclog pores. If OTC treatments fail to bring relief, a dermatologist can prescribe oral or topical medications, such as Accutane (isotretinoin), Retin A, or oral antibiotics.
It happens when sweat, oil, dead skin cells and bacteria get trapped in your skin's pores. Backpacks, sweaty shirts or sports equipment can create friction on your back and worsen back acne. You can treat back acne by keeping your skin clean and using acne-fighting skin creams.
"Higher oil levels make an ideal environment for bacteria to grow, leading to inflammation and subsequent acne," says Chang. "The buttocks are also a common area due to irritation from sweating and tight-fitting clothes. Legs can be prone to acne after shaving due to irritation around hair follicles."
“Acne-like bumps on the buttocks are caused by inflammation of hair follicles, which is called folliculitis,” says MacKelfresh. Folliculitis can be caused by an infection from bacteria, yeast, or fungus, irritation of hair follicles, or blockage of hair follicles, she says.
“Hot water strips the skin of its natural oils and healthy bacteria,” Grous explains, “which plays a major role in keeping moisture in—and the bad stuff out. And because dryness triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, hot water can worsen preexisting acne or cause a breakout.”
Cystic back acne is treatable, but a person will usually require prescription medication and advice from a certified dermatologist. Although treatment can take time to work, the skin should show signs of improvement within 6 months.
While back acne (a.k.a bacne) is totally normal, it may still leave you feeling insecure from time to time — and that's also normal.
Back acne is a common form of acne because of the high number of oil glands on the back. There are multiple causes of back acne. Pores can become clogged with sebum and dead skill cells, leading to acne. Hormonal changes can also cause back acne.
What does hormonal acne look like? Whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts and nodules are all common hormonal acne symptoms. Normally, whiteheads and blackheads do not cause pain, inflammation or swelling, but if they do, then they are most likely forming into cysts and pustules.
Acne appears most often on the face, but breakouts can also occur on the chest and any parts of the body where there are oil glands. Chest acne is typically caused by changes in hormones, overproduction of sebum oil, poor skin cell turnover, and other factors that lead to acne on the face.
The face, chest, shoulders, and back tend to contain more sebaceous glands than other parts of the body. As a result, cystic acne is more common in these areas.
Folliculitis isn't considered a sexually transmitted infection, though in some cases it can transfer via close skin contact. However, the herpes simplex virus is spread through sexual contact. In rare cases, this virus can cause folliculitis.
Perspiration (sweating) can cause acne-like spots on the legs. This is because sweat which isn't washed away promptly causes pores to become blocked. Pimples caused by sweating usually appear on the thighs and buttock area.