Back acne also known as “bacne” can be a very uncomfortable and embarrassing skin condition at the best of times. As its name implies, it is acne that appears on the body, particularly the back, although it can also be found in other areas such as the shoulders, upper arms, and even the buttocks.
Back acne can be as simple as a few pimples and whiteheads but it can also come in more severe forms that also include blackheads, cysts, and pustules. Back acne is not only unsightly, it can also be painful and later cause scarring, which tends to be permanent. If you feel you have a severe back acne please see a medical professional, but let’s get into the reasons why back acne occurs in the first place.
What Causes Back Acne in Adults
1. Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances can cause an increase in oil production by overactive sebaceous glands on the back. It appears most commonly during puberty and can last into a person’s adult years.
Hormone imbalances can be caused by:
- Overactive sex hormones, such as progesterone, oestrogen, and testosterone
- Insulin production which is stimulated by a high sugar diet
- Stress hormones that are produced by the body during times of illness, trauma, and anxiety.
Whilst hormonal changes can stimulate oil production in the skin they can also cause pores to dilate increasing the likelihood of environmental debris and toxins getting trapped in them. This can cause whiteheads and blackheads which turn into larger inflamed pimples.
- See a medical professional to find out if there are any hormonal balances
- Pay closer attention to your diet and find out what foods can cause acne
- Monitor and manage stress levels
2. Stress And Anxiety
Stress signals the brain to release higher levels of stress hormones, which in turn stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce increased quantities of oils, thereby clogging pores and causing localized skin inflammation including back acne.
The ability to control your levels of stress in modern times is tough and is a bigger issue than we can go into here! However, it is something that you can do right now without the need of medical help.
- Consider meditation (there are lots of guided sessions on youtube, but here is the one I have used)
- Make a list of stressful events in your life and try and work to cut them out of your life.
- Start or continue to work out. This increases your body’s ability to manage stress effectively by releasing endorphins and helping you sleep better.
Sadly the modern diet today is made up of hormone enriched foods to help with production efficiencies. This can include hormones in dairy and animal products. Modern farming practices enrich animals with hormones to help them grow quicker, fatter and last longer on shelves after slaughter. This is particularly present in North America when government regulation is lax on such practices.
Additionally diets high in white refined carbohydrates, sugar and milk chocolate lead to acne in the face and back area. Spikes in blood sugar cause a spike in insulin which can cause a hormonal imbalance discussed above.
- Balance your diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. And of course, you can have that chocolate bar once in a while.
It is often discovered that blood relatives that already have back acne have an increased genetic predisposition to the condition and potentially have an increased risk developing it later in life. Sadly we can’t do anything about genetics…. yet, but we can look at treatments, moisturizers and exfoliation tools that can help with back acne.
- Look at relevant back acne treatments. Exfoliation, moisturization, and probiotics have helped plenty of people.
5. Side Effects Of Drugs
You may be causing your acne unknowingly because of pharmaceutical drugs that you may have been prescribed. If you assume a particular medication trips your acne or makes it worse, go through the side effects of the medication and when acne is certainly one of them, ask your physician for relevant advice.
Alternatively, your back acne may correct itself once you come off your medication.
Furthermore, there are a number of different drugs that are likely to cause acne in individuals. It may not be a common side effect with a particular drug, but it can occur.
- Your back acne may correct itself once you come off your medication if it is not a long term health condition.
- Check your medications side effects and consult your physician. Seek medical advice before you alter any medication.
6. Undiagnosed Medical Conditions
At times, mature back acne is because of an inherent medical complication. Ensure your physician constantly chooses appropriate history of your signs and symptoms. After the illness is diagnosed and treatment is commenced, the acne regularly subsides.
- See your physician
7. Artificial Skin Products, Hygiene, and Sweat
Shower gels, bathing products, and some particular soaps can cause the clogging of pores which triggers acne. Look out for products which are non-acnegenic and non-comedogenic. These will often help open pores and exfoliate the skin.
Poor hygiene, sweat, and clingy clothes can cause your pores to fill up with environmental toxins, dead skin cells, grime, and oils.
These solutions are the easiest to control as it only requires some routine body maintenance on your part.
- Use skin friendly bathing products when showering and remember to exfoliate with a back brush.
- Shower at least once a day (especially after a workout) and use a clean fresh towel each time. You may be inadvertently rubbing toxins and dead skin cells back into the pores on your back with a towel that’s not fresh.
- Wear clean and fresh clothes after a shower that aren’t too clingy
- Moisturize with a good anti acne moisturizer after showering to preserve hydration levels
Back acne is highly treatable but can cause social embarrassment at the beach or any occasion where you need to show off a bit of skin!
If you can systematically find the cause(s) listed in this article and eliminate them then you can be closer to a smooth acne free back. Good luck and let me know how you solved your back acne issues.