Acne is one of the most common skin conditions across the world. If you’re a teenager or someone in their 20s, chances are, you have already experienced acne at least once in your life.
In most cases, acne occurs on the face. But it can also occur on other body parts, including the back, neck, chest, and shoulder.
The acne that forms on the back is called back acne or backne, which are common among teenagers. Usually, this affects the shoulder, and upper back as the oil glands are more concentrated on the upper back.
Back acne symptoms
Back acne can occur in different forms and vary in severity. Different types of back acne have different symptoms. So below are different types of acne along with their symptoms.
Whiteheads: Whiteheads are non-inflammatory acne that forms a white bump on your skin. These occur when a plugged follicle stays underneath your skin.
Blackheads: When a whitehead opens on the top of your skin, it turns black due to a reaction between air and sebum (a lubricant secreted by your skin). It is also non-inflammatory in nature.
Papules: Papules occur when a clogged hair follicle becomes inflamed. It causes a small pink bump on your skin. Papules don’t contain pus.
Pustules: Pustules or pimples are papules with yellow or white coloured pus. They appear red in colour and have a white tip. These are also caused by inflammation in a clogged hair follicle. They are filled with pus due to the buildup of white blood cells.
Nodules: Nodules are painful acne that is large and hard in nature. These occur when some bacteria is also trapped in a hair follicle, as it causes an inflammatory effect.
Cysts: Cystic acne is pus-filled, painful, and inflammatory acne that is caused due to the trapping of bacteria in a hair follicle. It leaves a permanent scar on your skin even after the painful lump is gone, as the infection goes deeper into the skin.
Back acne causes
The most common cause of back acne is dead skin cells and clogged pores with bacteria. However, a combination of factors can cause them. Below are some of the reasons for back acne:
Genetics: Genetics plays an important role in determining whether you’ll get acne or not. So, if your parents, grandparents, or siblings have had acne, you are likely going to develop them too. However, that’s not the only factor. A combination of factors ranging from lifestyle to hormones affects the formation.
Puberty: During puberty, your body undergoes certain hormonal changes that result in an increase in androgen levels, which in turn increases oil production and results in clogged pores. This is one of the key culprits for acne. Hormonal changes during menstruation and hormonal disorders such as PCOS can also result in the same.
Sweat: Sweat can trap dirt and bacteria in your pores and change the pH levels of your skin which makes it a more favourable environment for inflammatory acne to form. Thus, working out in summer (especially in tight clothes) can make you more prone to acne.
Stress: Stress isn’t a direct indicator of acne. However, if you’re more prone to acne, you might notice breakouts and a more severe impact of stress on your acne.
Cosmetic or chemical-based products: Using chemical-based shampoos, moisturizers or lotions can cause acne on your back, especially if you have sensitive skin or other factors that make you prone to acne.
Back acne treatment
In most cases, back acne can be treated by improving your lifestyle. Below are some of the ways you can get rid of back acne:
Hygiene plays an important role in causing and treating acne. Since sweating is a common cause of acne, changing bed sheets and clothes frequently and taking a shower after working out can ensure you don’t get acne back frequently.
No matter how annoying your bacne seems, don’t touch and pop it as it may lead to breakouts and also cause permanent scars.
Avoid Sun Exposure
Sun exposure can trigger acne and make your existing acne more severe. The UV rays are harmful to your skin and might result in sunburn and hyperpigmentation, especially in people with acne.
Wear Loose Clothes
Wearing loose clothes can reduce sweating by giving your skin the space to breathe. This would also avoid friction and prevent scars.
Creams and Medicines
If the above lifestyle changes don’t work, certain medications and over-the-counter acne products with benzoyl peroxide and retinoid may help. Natural products like aloe vera gel and tea tree oil are also helpful in treating bacne.
Should you see a doctor?
The treatment of acne is largely based on its severity. If you have mild acne, like a few blackheads or whiteheads, you can get rid of them at home. An occasional, moderate form of acne, like papules, can also be managed on your own. However, frequent and painful back acne, like pustules, nodules, and cysts, require medical attention.
A dermatologist can help you understand the causes of severe back acne and might suggest steroids, chemical peels, or certain medications that can help you in treating severe back acne. This can help you reduce the chances of scars and future occurrences.
hat do you do to treat your back acne?
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