Acne on the back is more common than you might think. The back has larger pores than the face, which make it easier for them to be clogged. This difference also explains why pimples and bumps on the back are often larger than those on the face. They can be more painful, more widespread, and harder to deal with, making back acne a uniquely uncomfortable condition to treat.
Some conditions and health factors can predispose a person to developing back acne. Anything from a person’s genetics to certain medications, stress, and excess sweat can block hair follicles, which lead to swelling. If you experience any of these, make a note of it and tell your dermatologist. This type of information can help expedite diagnosis and treatment.
What Causes Acne on the Back?
Back acne can have a variety of causes. Most cases are moderate, meaning the breakouts are usually superficial and not very uncomfortable, typically manifesting as whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. However, some cases are deep, painful, and difficult to reach. If this is closer to your experience, you will need a dermatologist’s help to treat the condition.
The trick to finding a good back acne treatment is to isolate the cause. Nearly every type of acne can occur on the back, but some are more common than others.
- Acne Mechanica: This is one of the most common types of back acne. Caused by heat and friction, it appears when clothing fits too tightly. It can manifest as whiteheads, blackheads, and, in the most extreme cases, nodules.
- Acne Vulgaris: While this type of acne is more likely to appear on the face, it is also often present on the back. Characterized by recognizable whitehead and blackhead pimples, acne vulgaris is caused by hormonal changes and other internal factors that generate excess sebum production.
- Keratosis Pilaris: These patchy bumps are not painful, but they may feel rough to the touch. This acne-like condition appears when the skin produces more keratin than is necessary. A dermatologist can effectively treat this condition, usually with a topical cream.
- Severe Acne Conditions: Acne fulminans and acne conglobata are two rare but serious types of acne that can occur on the back. Fulminans typically presents as nodular and ulcerative lesions, while conglobata is characterized by deep, interconnected lesions. These conditions both require medical treatment.
There are a few steps a person can take to prevent back acne, but most have to do with lifestyle. For example, showering directly after a workout can clear potentially harmful sweat and dirt from the skin before it has a chance to enter the pores. Additionally, exfoliating with salicylic acid treatments can remove extra dirt and oil from the skin, and loose-fitting clothing can prevent these substances from getting trapped in pores.
You can also find information about face acne and shoulder acne. Remember that dermatologists and skin clinicians are uniquely equipped to treat acne, regardless of its location on the body. If you decide to use an over-the-counter product and don’t see any difference in the acne in six to eight weeks, schedule an appointment with us. Whether you’re experiencing a first-time flare up or are genetically predisposed, one of our Chesterfield clinicians can help you get to the bottom of it.
Talk to a Dermatologist about How to Treat Back Acne
In most cases, people don’t notice their back acne until it becomes inflamed and uncomfortable. Scheduling skin checks with one of our dermatologists can provide the opportunity to regularly monitor this part of the body. If you know you are experiencing back acne because of pain and discomfort, us is a great way to get to diagnose and treat the issue. Schedule a consultation to get the best treatment plan for your type of acne.
*Results may vary per patient.