The Grooming Manual
Acne on the shoulders, chest, and back is a frequent frustration of men of all ages and backgrounds. Back acne, or bacne, is as common as its facial counterpart. But because it’s hidden out of sight, it is often left ignored and untreated.
Think acne only happens on your face? Nope. Acne forms when hair follicles and pores become clogged with oil and other debris. So nearly your entire body is susceptible.
That doesn't mean, however, that you should give up on treating bacne and getting rid of the scars it can leave behind.
What Is Bacne?
Bacne is another word for back acne - zits, pimples, whiteheads, cysts, and other skin blemishes that develop on the back. Some guys also refer to their shoulder acne as bacne.
What Causes Bacne?
Back acne forms as a result of dirt, sweat, bacteria, and other debris collecting on your skin and clogging your pores. There, bacteria grows and causes the inflammation, redness, and irritation that we know as acne. When these clogged pores are also exposed to heat and pressure, the result can be severe acne including zits, blackheads, pimples, and cysts that are both unsightly and painful.
Part of the reason back acne is so common is that it's impossible to entirely avoid sweat, bacteria, dirt, and other blemish-causing substances. And many types of clothing are made to fit tight against the skin, where they trap bacteria and put it under pressure.
For example, think of the increased sweat and heat when spending time outside during the summer. If you're doing yard work, getting exercise, playing sports, or doing other outdoor activities that require tight fitting clothing and a lot of sweating, you should be aware of your risk for developing a bacne breakout.
Other common causes of back acne include:
- Poor Hygiene - Living in an unhygienic environment and failing to follow proper personal hygiene habits can result in acne breakouts.
- Genetics - If people in your family tend to have back acne breakouts, you're more likely to experience them too.
- Stress - High cortisol levels caused by stress can lead to bacne.
- Medications - Some medicines cause bacne as a side effect.
- Skincare Products - Oily lotions and creams can clog your pores and result in acne breakouts on your back.
Acne mecanica is a specific form of acne caused by clothing and sports equipment. It's extremely common across a wide range of sports - basically anything that involves wearing tight clothing or using equipment that touches your body.
Some common examples of acne mecanica are breakouts where you wear a helmet and where straps fit tight against the arms, legs, or chest.
Is Bacne Hormonal?
Acne - including back acne - can be caused by a change in hormone levels. Part of why acne is associated with teenagers is because adolescents experience an increase in androgens as they grow. Androgens ramp up oil production and make pores larger, both of which are risk factors for acne breakouts.
In adults, hormonal changes can continue to cause breakups. So yes, bacne is hormonal in some men - though it's more commonly attribute to hormonal fluctuations in women.
Elevated stress levels increase the amount of the hormone cortisol in your system. This is also a contributor to acne breakouts.
Why Does Bacne Hurt So Much?
If you're wondering "why does bacne hurt so much?" then it is likely you've developed cystic acne on your back. Unlike pimples and zits, cysts form deeper below the skin and can become quite large. As cysts fill with fluid, they become red, swollen, and inflamed - leading to substantial pain and discomfort.
While you may be tempted to scratch, pop, or scrape at your painful bacne, this will only make things worse. Instead, use an acne spot treatment to treat the blemishes. If your cystic acne does not get better, see a dermatologist to find additional treatment options.
Are Face and Back Acne the Same?
Essentially, yes. Face and back acne are the same in the sense that they develop in the same way - dirt, oil, and bacteria get trapped in pores where they fester and grow into blemishes.
The main difference is that bacne is often caused by friction or tight clothing whereas these are far less common reasons why people get acne on their face.
How to Treat and Prevent Bacne
You don't want to suffer from prolonged cases of painful back acne - so use these tips to treat breakouts. Better yet, the same tips double as a prevention strategy.
Choose the Best Shower Products
Picking the best men's skincare and shower products is your first defense against bacne breakouts. Avoid anything with harsh, harmful chemicals that irritate the skin or can clog the pores - especially if you have sensitive or acne prone skin.
Besides soap or body wash, don't forget that your hair care products can also affect your bacne. Shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products that wash down your back in the shower can irritate the skin. And if you don't rinse them off completely, they can sit on your skin and eventually clog your pores.
Invigorating Body Wash
Our Invigorating Body Wash is made with glycerin, jojoba, and aloe vera - so you get clean skin with a gentle approach that also leaves your skin calm and hydrated. It won't clog your pores or over-dry your skin. Here's what George had to say in his review:
★★★★★ Best Body Wash
"I work outdoors all day with 40 pounds of equipment on and this body wash holds up to all the sweat."
- George R., Verified Buyer
Exfoliating Body Wash
Add exfoliation to your shower routine to help unclog pores and scrub away oily buildup. Regular exfoliation - 2-3 times per week - is one of the best ways to reduce and prevent bacne. If you're concerned about using a harsh scrub on your skin, try our Exfoliating Body Wash. It's made with bamboo, pumice, and charcoal for a refreshing and gentle experience that deep cleans your skin.
★★★★★ Detox Your Body
"Bacne is being diminished with this product because of its ingredients. Truly one of a kind company."
- Valentino M., Verified Buyer
Polishing Body Scrub
Use our Polishing Body Scrub to reduce and prevent bacne, chest acne, and other body acne. It gently scrubs away the oil, bacteria, and dirt that clog pores and lead to irritating breakouts. Don't worry - it won't irritate your skin thanks to its natural formula of walnut powder, glycolic acid, willow bark extract, oatstraw, and aloe vera.
"It felt like my body had so much build-up I never noticed until after using this body scrub; I feel much more refreshed with fewer breakouts and dead skin coming off, and my skin feels much smoother with a pleasant scent."
- Desi T., Verified Buyer
Use the Right Cleansing and Exfoliating Tools
Showering regularly and living hygienically are your primary lines of defense against bacne. While you have showered all your life, there is a good chance you are doing at least part of it wrong.
Always start with your hair. Then wash your face, and rinse fully before you start on your body. This will allow you to properly wash away any left over shampoo and conditioner that could collect and cause irritation.
Back Scrub Brush
A long handled back scrubbing brush is extremely helpful when it comes to how to get rid of acne on the back. Apply your body wash or scrub directly to the brush, then reach behind and gently apply it to your back. This is much more effective and comfortable than trying to contort yourself in order to reach your back with your hands, loofah, or washcloth.
Remember, just letting suds run down your back is not good enough to stay clean and stop bacne. You need to properly scrub and exfoliate this area if you want to avoid and rid yourself of bacne breakouts.
A small shower mirror will help you see where exactly you have blemishes so you can cleanse your back without being excessively harsh on these sensitive areas. A simple suction cup or hanging mirror works great in the shower.
Use an Acne Spot Treatment
To eliminate specific bacne blemishes, use an acne spot treatment. It will reduce inflammation and dissolve the intercellular gum that allows acne to form.
Our Acne Controlling Spot Treatment is made with gentle yet powerful ingredients that get rid of bacne without causing skin irritation. Its standout ingredient is 2% salicylic acid, along with willow bark extract and witch hazel. The combination of acne fighting and skin soothing ingredients makes it particularly effective.
Always Wear Clean Clothes
Dirty clothing can become a hotbed of bacterial growth - especially if it's damp with sweat. Putting that on your skin allows for the transfer of bacteria and the development of bacne.
To eliminate bacne breakouts, always wear clean clothing. If you are going to rewear a shirt that's not quite dirty yet, let it air out between wear. That will keep it dry and prevent bacteria from growing.
Shower Immediately After a Workout
Exercise produces a lot of sweat and can expose your skin to debris and bacteria. This mix is perfect for a bacne breakout. To prevent that, make sure you shower as soon as possible after your workout.
Showering right away also helps because it means you will remove your sweaty clothing. A common source of bacne issues is wearing sweaty workout clothing for too long after you're done exercising. Damp, sweaty shirts stick to your back and significantly increase the chances that you'll have bacne.
Wear Breathable Shirts and Moisture Wicking Fabrics
Breathable cotton shirts and moisture wicking technical fabrics are helpful for preventing and getting rid of bacne. They pull moisture away from your skin and allow for the free transfer of air. Synthetic fabrics that don't breathe or wick moisture hold your sweat up against you and make bacne much more likely.
Sleep on Clean, Fresh Sheets
Clean your sheets regularly to prevent them from becoming bacteria playgrounds that can lead to bacne. This is extremely important if you tend to sweat while you sleep. The dead skin and sweat you leave behind are exactly what bacteria need to thrive. So change your sheets at least once a week. And each morning, let your bedsheets air out for a bit before you make the bed.
Can You Treat Bacne with Sun Exposure?
Laying out in the sun to treat your bacne does not work. Your blemishes will not dry up and disappear. It's a myth that can end up doing harm to your skin - especially if you expose your skin to the sun for an extended period without applying an SPF product. In reality, sun exposure causes skin damage that can make it easier for blemishes to form.
How to Clear Bacne Scars
What if you no longer struggle with bacne but want to remove the scars that it left behind? It's not difficult to get rid of bacne scars - but it does require that you stick to an effective skincare routine that includes regular exfoliation.
Exfoliating regularly is one of the best ways to get rid of acne on your back while also removing back acne scars. That's because it removes dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. These make your skin dull and worsen the appearance of scars.
When you scrub away those dead cells, your bright, healthy skin below is revealed. While this will not remove back acne scars entirely, it is an important part of diminishing their appearance.
Use our Exfoliating Body Wash or Polishing Body Scrub in the shower 2-3 times each week for optimal results. Apply them directly to your skin or use a long handled scrub brush to reach areas where your skin has been scarred by back acne.
Use Scar Removal Cream
The proven ingredients in our Clearing Scar Cream help reduce scars with time and regular application. It's made with vitamin C, which boosts collagen production, fights long term damage and pigmentation issues caused by UV exposure, and minimizes scars. Additional ingredients include MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), organic calendula, evening primrose, and organic rosehip.
For the best results, use scar removal cream to clear back acne scars once daily after showering. With consistent use, this will soften the appearance of scars, pockmarks, and other common skin damage left behind by severe bacne.
How to Get Rid of Bacne and Back Acne Scars Naturally
Dealing with bacne can be painful and frustrating, but you can use natural skincare products to prevent and eliminate it. That includes a gentle daily body wash and regular exfoliation with body scrub. And be sure to shower right away after workouts and other sweaty activities that leave your clothing damp or stuck to your back.
If you want to know how to clear bacne scars, the best method is to exfoliate regularly and use scar removal cream. It can take patience and persistence, but these products and techniques are much less painful and costly than laser scar removal.
Bacne is common - but preventable and treatable. Don't let this skin concern stop you from enjoying your best life. Instead, manage it effectively and be proud of your healthy, radiant skin.