Bacne (aka back acne) might not seem as annoying as acne on your chest or face—solely because it’s not as visible—but unless you’ve got double-jointed elbows, trying to treat it at home can actually be a challenge in itself. And that’s not the only thing that makes back acne treatment unique. Board-certified dermatologist Morgan Rabach, MD, cofounder of LM Medical in NYC, argues that getting rid of acne on your back should be approached differently with products too. For one, the skin on your back is much thicker, which means you can use more actives to dry out the spots. And because the skin on your back doesn’t see as much sunlight as facial skin, you can use ingredients that make your skin sensitive to the sun without stressing as much. So cheer up! At least treating back breakouts isn’t as bad as you thought. Find out how to get rid of back acne with these eight tips, products, and tricks—no contortion skills required.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
How to Get Rid of Back Acne: Exfoliate
For the face, derms generally prefer gentler chemical exfoliants (like salicylic acid or glycolic acid) to help dissolve dirt and oil in clogged pores and remove dead skin cells rather than a harsher physical exfoliant, which sloughs away the dead skin mechanically. But for the back, where the skin is much thicker, Dr. Rabach says exfoliating with a combination of both physical and chemical exfoliants, like this AHA/BHA scrub by SkinMedica, works best. Dr. Rabach recommends exfoliating at least once a week, but don’t overdo it! Being too aggressive can cause irritation and a weakened skin barrier.
Beiny 6-Piece Plastic Nonslip Hair Clips
How to Get Rid of Back Acne: Keep Your Hair Off
Products like masks and conditioners, while great for your hair, are often filled with pore-clogging ingredients that can wreak havoc on your skin. So while you allow the product time to soak into your hair, clip it up and off of your back. Then, thoroughly rinse your hair at the end of your shower and clip it up again to rinse off your back one more time before stepping out. After drying yourself off, slip on a towel or shirt to keep the area protected before letting down your damp hair.
Paula’s Choice Clear Acne Body Spray
How to Get Rid of Back Acne: Use a Spray
When your breakout is hard to see, and thus hard to treat, grab a medicated spray like this one by Paula’s Choice. The spray nozzle makes it easy to sufficiently cover the area so you don’t have to do that awkward, over-the-shoulder, elbow-twisting reach behind your back. And the formula, which contains acne-fighting salicylic acid to help reduce oil production and licorice root to calm irritation, soothes as it clears the skin.
Glytone Treat Acne 3P Gel
How to Get Rid of Back Acne: Try Benzoyl Peroxide
Another effective acne-fighting ingredient to seek out in your products? Benzoyl peroxide. You can use it to kill acne-causing bacteria and you’ll find it in washes and topical creams, like this one with a 5 percent concentration—but there’s one small catch. Benzoyl peroxide is notorious for bleaching clothing, towels, and sheets. For this reason, Dr. Rabach recommends sticking with some of the other exfoliating ingredients mentioned. That said, if you’re willing to give it a shot, stick with white fabrics when treating acne on your back.
Yuni Shower Sheets
How to Get Rid of Back Acne: Rinse Off
Gym time: great for relieving stress, not so great for maintaining clear skin. Trapped sweat is another common culprit of a bacne breakout, but as long as you shower after each sweat session, you don’t have to choose between working out and a zit-free back. Can’t rinse off ASAP? Dr. Rabach suggests a quick after-the-gym wipe (this one is large enough for your whole body) to remove sweat and oil before they clog your pores.
Adidas Badge of Sport Mesh Crop Training Top
How to Get Rid of Back Acne: Wear Light Fabrics
Wearing breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics is another must when working out or doing any particularly sweaty activity. Dr. Rabach stresses the importance of washing your sports bras after every single use (save the re-wearing for your jeans) and, if you can, switching to a clean shirt immediately after your workout. “I also see a lot of people with sweat-induced acne from exercising and staying in sweaty clothes,” Dr. Rabach says. So if you can’t shower right away, at least bring a change of clothes.
Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
How to Get Rid of Back Acne: Try a Retinoid
If your back acne looks more like a few big zits rather than a breakout over the entire area, Dr. Rabach suggests spot-treating with the over-the-counter retinoid Differin. Not only does the gel clear acne and stop breakouts from forming, but it also helps prevent the dreaded acne scarring that follows.
How to Get Rid of Back Acne: Take Medication
If your bacne isn’t going away after trying any or all of the above, ask your dermatologist about a heavier-hitting solution. Dr. Rabach says back acne is most effectively treated with an oral medication like antibiotics, Accutane, spironolactone, or birth control. “Oral medications work best for back acne because it tends to be in the deeper layers of skin than facial acne and because it is difficult to really stick to a routine of cream application on the back,” Dr. Rabach says. Consult your doctor to see if any of these options are right for you.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below