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Back acne is a skin condition commonly referred to as “bacne.” Back acne is one of the most common types of acne, affecting more than half of all people who suffer from acne breakouts. Acne itself is one of the most common skin conditions, which affects over 50 million Americans each year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). When it appears anywhere on the body, acne can make patients feel self-conscious, and when acne appears on the back, it can often take the form of cysts or nodules, which are painful and uncomfortable. Back acne and other body acne can affect patients of any age and gender, and there are a wide variety of potential risk factors for developing back acne, including hygiene practices, skincare routine, stress levels, and family history. Navigating acne treatment and prevention can feel overwhelming, which is why it is best to consult board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michele Green in NYC. Dr. Green is an expert in treating all types of acne, including back acne and facial acne, and will help you permanently remove your back acne to achieve clear, healthy skin.

Many treatment options and prevention practices can be implemented to cure back acne and prevent future outbreaks. Prevention can be as simple as adjusting your post-workout bathing or increasing the frequency with which you clean your linens. When these changes are not enough to prevent back acne, there are many over-the-counter topical cleansers and creams available containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and improve your acne breakouts. When these topical treatments fail to improve your bacne, it is time to consult with Dr. Green to see which combination of cosmetic treatments such as HydraFacials, prescription medications such as oral antibiotics, or Isotretinoin (Accutane) may be needed. Dr. Green can also help you determine the best skin care products available to keep your skin clear and smooth.

Dr. Michele Green is an internationally renowned board-certified cosmetic dermatologist with over two and a half decades of experience, providing some of the most discerning men and women from around the world with the best non-invasive treatment options available for acne and acne scars. In her private dermatology office, located in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, she expertly utilizes the most cutting-edge technology and innovative treatment techniques to give her patients natural-looking and long-lasting results that help them to look and feel like the best version of themselves. She is consistently voted as one of New York’s best dermatologists by Super Doctors, New York Magazine, and Castle Connolly. When you work with Dr. Green, she recommends a unique combination of the best specially formulated skin care products and in-office treatment options to deliver optimal results, whether it be Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, laser treatments, or more.

What is back acne (bacne)?

Back acne, also known as “bacne,” is a common type of acne breakout that appears on the back. Although the face is the most common area where patients experience acne blemishes, acne can develop anywhere on the body where there are sebaceous glands. Body acne, including chest acne, back acne, and acne on the buttocks, can frequently occur and be frustrating and uncomfortable for many patients. Bacne can develop almost anywhere on the back but is found most commonly along the shoulders and upper back or down to the waist. Any type of acne may develop on the back, including whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, papules, cysts, or nodules. While acne breakouts are most closely associated with those who are experiencing hormonal shifts, such as during puberty or pregnancy, back acne can happen to anyone. Back acne breakouts can be caused by a variety of factors unrelated to hormonal changes, such as genetics, lifestyle, medication, skin care, and hygiene practices. When not treated properly or in a timely manner, acne breakouts can lead to acne scars, which are often more challenging to treat than the acne lesions themselves. For this reason, it is essential to consult with a board-certified dermatologist, like Dr. Michele Green in NYC, as soon as possible for effective acne treatment.

Why Consult a Dermatologist to Treat Back Acne?

One of the most important reasons to consult with an experienced board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible regarding your back acne is that inflammation associated with acne lesions can cause acne scars to form. Acne scars develop when inflammation causes irreparable damage to skin tissue. Acne scars are often much more difficult to treat than acne breakouts themselves. Treating acne effectively and immediately is the best course of action for preventing acne scars. Additionally, a dermatologist has the expertise and ability to help determine the underlying causes of acne breakouts. Identifying any potential contributing factors that may be causing back acne is an important step in getting the right treatment.

Dr. Michele Green is a board-certified dermatologist with over two and a half decades of experience providing her patients with the best non-surgical treatment options available, including for acne breakouts and acne scars. Whether you are struggling with active acne or acne scars from an old breakout, Dr. Green is here to help. When you consult with Dr. Green, you will have the opportunity to discuss your specific skin concerns and overall aesthetic goals. She will then work with you to create a customized treatment plan that works best for you.

What are the different types of acne?

Several different types of acne can develop on the back:

Closed Comedones (Whiteheads): Whiteheads are also known as closed comedones and form when the pores or hair follicles are clogged with dirt, debris, and sebum. Whiteheads are called closed comedones specifically because the pore stays closed, trapping the debris under the skin and causing a white top to the bump.

Open Comedones (Blackheads): Similarly to whiteheads, blackheads are formed when oil, dead skin cells, and other debris clog the hair follicle. However, unlike whiteheads, blackheads are open comedones, meaning that the pore is open on the surface of the skin. The open comedones are black in appearance due to the reaction of the sebum in the pore to the air.

Papules: Papules are a type of inflammatory acne that appears as red bumps on the surface of the skin. Papules can often feel tender or painful and form when the clogged pore becomes inflamed.

Pustules: Pustules are often called pimples and, similarly to papules, are a form of inflammatory acne. However, unlike papules, pustules are filled with pus due to an accumulation of white blood cells in the area. Often, pustules appear white or yellow due to the pus.

Nodules: Nodules develop when a clogged hair follicle becomes infected with bacteria. Nodules may form deeper into the tissue and result in a hard, red bump on the surface of the skin, which is often painful.

Cysts: Cystic acne develops when pus-filled acne is also infected with bacteria. Cysts also form deeper under the surface of the skin and will also form a red bump on the surface, which causes pain and discomfort.

What Causes Back Acne?

Back acne is caused by a buildup of dirt, excess oil, dead skin cells, sweat, and other debris clogging the skin’s pores. Clogged pores can trigger an increased production of sebum from the oil glands, known as sebaceous glands, which can further contribute to the buildup of debris in the clogged follicles. Sometimes, when the pores are clogged, naturally occurring skin bacteria known as cutibacterium can become trapped within the pores, leading to an inflammatory reaction and more painful pimples. The pores on the back are also particularly susceptible to sweat acne, which can occur when sweat, friction, and heat combine to clog pores and trap cutibacterium on the surface of the skin. Friction can be caused by backpack straps, sports equipment, non-wicking clothing, hats, and headbands. When friction is involved in generating an acne breakout, this is known as acne mechanica. Luckily, there are some easy lifestyle changes that patients can make to decrease their risk of developing acne mechanica on the back.

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Why do I have back acne?

There are many factors which contribute to the development of back acne:

Family History: There are biological factors that are a risk in the development of acne on the back, and patients who have a history of acne breakouts in their family may be more susceptible to breakouts themselves. Additionally, suppose there is a family history of overactive sebaceous glands. In that case, you may be more likely to have a higher sebum production, which can lead to a higher risk of pores getting clogged with oil.

Hormone Shifts: Changes in levels of hormones can also contribute to the development of back acne breakouts. People who are going through puberty and pregnant people may be more likely to experience body acne due to the hormone fluctuations occurring during these periods of life.

Poor Hygienic Practices: You may be more likely to develop zits on your back if you do not practice proper hygiene. After a workout or any intense sweating, sweat can get trapped on the surface of the skin if you stay in sweaty clothes or do not shower right away. Sweat that remains on the surface of the skin can trap bacteria on the skin and lead to a breakout. Additionally, if you do not change your sheets and pillowcases frequently, dirt, dead skin cells, and other debris can remain on the surface and clog the pores.

Diet: Diets that are high on the glycemic index, meaning rich in carbohydrates and sugars, can trigger acne breakouts. Foods that increase your blood sugar level, including bread, sugary pastries, cereals, milk, and soda, can also lead to an increased likelihood of back acne breakouts. Limiting intake of these types of food may help to reduce bacne.

Friction: Acne mechanica is a type of acne that is more likely to occur when there is friction between an article of clothing or equipment and the skin. This type of acne breakout is especially exacerbated when there is sweat in the area. As an example, when it comes to the back specifically, back acne breakouts often tend to form in the area where the shoulder straps of a backpack rub against the back. Similar breakouts can occur when there is close skin contact with other sports equipment or tight clothing.

Medication: Some prescription medications can increase your likelihood of developing body acne, including corticosteroids, androgens (also known as male hormones), and lithium.

Skin care: Skin care products, such as some lotions and creams, may have a high oil content and can, therefore, contribute to producing excess sebum and clogging your pores. Patients with acne-prone skin should ensure that their skincare products are labeled as non-comedogenic, which means that they will not clog the pores. Some patients with back acne may scrub their backs to exfoliate, but instead of clearing bacne, the friction can actually exacerbate the condition by irritating the skin.

High Stress: Patients who are struggling with a stressful environment or anxiety may be more likely to develop acne breakouts across the body. Stress can lead to the overproduction of certain hormones, which can then trigger the increased production of sebum from the oil glands. This increased sebum production can clog the pores and contribute to bacne and other acne breakouts.

How can a Dermatologist Remove Back Acne?

When navigating the many treatment options for back acne, it is best to begin by consulting a board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Green. Dr. Green can help determine the combination of oral medications, skincare products, in-office procedures, and topical treatments that will work best for your type of acne and lifestyle. Patients with severe acne or recurring breakouts may require stronger medication than patients for whom breakouts are less severe. For those struggling with severe acne, Dr. Green can prescribe antibiotic topical or oral medication or recommend more targeted treatment, such as acne surgery. Dr. Green can also recommend the best non-comedogenic skincare, including cleansers, benzoyl peroxide-based gels, and sunscreens, available from her proprietary MGSKINLABs, Inc. line of products.

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What Helps Treat Back Acne?

There are many ways to approach reducing back acne, including behavioral changes, improving hygiene, over-the-counter topical creams, prescription treatments, and in-office procedures. Although acne is an incredibly common skin condition, every individual may break out for different reasons. Thus, each patient requires a customized acne treatment plan to appropriately and effectively clear their breakouts. The first step in eliminating back acne blemishes is to consult with an experienced dermatologist, such as Dr. Green in NYC. With over two and a half decades of experience, Dr. Green can examine the type of acne you are dealing with and provide a recommendation for the best course of action.

In some cases, you may be able to implement simple lifestyle changes, such as wearing loose-fitting, moisture-wicking clothing while working out and showering immediately after becoming sweaty. Changing your diet to limit your intake of sugar and carbohydrates may also help to reduce back acne. Dr. Green may also recommend a change in the skincare products you use, favoring non-comedogenic lotions, cleansers, and body washes for acne-prone skin. Over-the-counter topical creams containing benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, or salicylic acid may also be effective topicals for reducing mild to moderate acne.

Some patients may find that their acne is too severe to be eliminated with lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medications. For those patients, Dr. Green may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic to reduce the amount of acne-causing bacteria in the affected area. Oral antibiotics are typically recommended for cystic and nodular acne. There are also in-office procedures that can help to reduce the signs of acne, such as laser therapy, chemical peels, and acne surgery. Laser therapy can help to reduce signs of redness using the V-Beam laser, while chemical peels can help exfoliate the skin and promote skin cell turnover. Acne surgery may be required to clear a deep acne lesion of sebum, dead skin cells, and other debris.

What is the best cleanser for patients with back acne?

Good hygiene is essential for keeping the skin clear and smooth. The best way to keep the skin clean is to use a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser when washing the body in the shower. Many patients falsely believe that frequent exfoliation will keep the skin clear from acne breakouts. However, abrasive soaps, astringents, and abrasive scrubs can actually cause irritation and worse acne breakouts. A gentle cleanser should be used to wash the skin every day and after a workout to remove sweat. Some of the best cleansers for back acne include active ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that is a powerful ingredient for treating comedones, such as whiteheads and blackheads. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble and treats acne by gently chemically exfoliating the skin, penetrating deep within clogged pores to break up sebum. Benzoyl peroxide is an excellent skincare ingredient for treating inflamed types of acne, such as pimples and blemishes. This ingredient works by killing bacteria on the skin that contribute to the development of acne, as well as by drying up the excess sebum within the pores.

From Dr. Green’s specialty line of skincare products, MGSKINLABS, Inc., The Pore Minimizing cleanser contains glycolic and salicylic acid, perfect for eliminating acne. These two active ingredients gently exfoliate the skin’s surface, reduce redness and inflammation associated with acne breakouts, and break down excess oil to clear acne.

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How to Prevent Back Acne

While some of the risk factors for developing acne are biological, such as family history or changes in hormones, many risk factors are behavioral. They can thus be adjusted in order to decrease the risk of acne on the back.

Hygienic Practices: One way to prevent back acne is to improve your hygienic practices, particularly surrounding workouts and other activities that make you sweat. To start, it is better to wear moisture-wicking, loose-fitting workout clothes during activities rather than tight clothing that traps sweat. Breathable fabrics will help to reduce the amount of sweat being trapped on the surface of the skin. Further, it is best to shower as soon as possible after a workout in order to wash away any sweat that has remained on your skin. Dr. Green recommends the use of an oil-free body wash. If showering isn’t possible immediately after exercise, it is recommended to use cleansing wipes to remove as much sweat as possible before changing out of dirty workout clothes.

Reducing Friction: As acne mechanica forms as a result of sweat and friction, to prevent breakouts on the back, it is important to minimize the use of equipment that may rub up against the skin. Instead of wearing a backpack, try an over-the-shoulder or rolling bag to reduce the friction of straps down the back. If you must share sports equipment, make sure to wash it in between each use.

Use Oil-Free Skin Care Products: To reduce oily skin, it is important to keep the skin hydrated with light, oil-free cleansers, lotions, face wash, and body wash. When looking for this type of product at the store, look for labels that say non-comedogenic” or “oil-free.”

Wear Sunscreen: Exposure to the sun can dry out the skin, which can then lead to an overproduction of sebum. The increased sebum levels can clog the pores and lead to acne blemishes. For that reason, it is very important to wear sunscreen anytime you are outside during the day to protect your skin from a variety of skin conditions, including acne and rosacea.

Reducing Stress: Mental and emotional wellness is also important for physical wellness. Stress can lead to hormone imbalances, which can lead to increased sebum production. As much as possible, try to find ways to decrease levels of stress and anxiety to reduce the likelihood of acne blemishes.

How to clear back acne with topical and oral medications

When it comes to treating severe types of acne, such as cystic acne or nodular acne, topical creams on their own typically do not suffice. After your initial acne treatment consultation with Dr. Green, she may determine that effective treatment for your skin condition requires prescription treatment with an antibiotic medication. Oral or topical antibiotics help to reduce the prevalence of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Commonly prescribed topical antibiotics include Erythromycin and Clindamycin. Commonly prescribed oral antibiotics for acne include Minocycline, Tetracycline, and Doxycycline.

In some cases, it may be necessary to use corticosteroid injections to decrease the amount of inflammation in severe acne pustules and cysts. These injections may also be used in conjunction with acne surgery, which is a procedure that extracts comedones from your pimples to extract sebum and debris. When you consult with Dr. Green, she will evaluate your skin condition, discuss your medical history and any family history of acne with you in-depth, and provide you with a prescription treatment to treat your breakout best.

Does Accutane Help Treat back acne?

Yes! For many patients with persistent or severe acne breakouts on the back, Accutane (oral isotretinoin) is an ideal treatment option. Accutane is an oral vitamin A derivative that works in a number of ways to permanently eliminate and prevent all types of acne breakouts, including bacne. Accutane shrinks the oil glands in the skin, destroys acne-causing bacteria, prevents the production of excess sebum, and provides anti-inflammatory effects. Accutane can only be prescribed by a dermatologist, like Dr. Green in New York City, who monitors treatment and makes adjustments as necessary. Most patients require a 5-month treatment course, and monthly routine check-ups and blood tests are needed while undergoing Accutane treatment. It is incredibly important that patients on Accutane do not become pregnant and do not consume alcohol while taking the medication. Patients who may become pregnant are required to have a pregnancy test each month before their prescription is filled.

The main side effect associated with Accutane is dryness, which resolves on its own shortly after completing the course of treatment. Accutane is also very photosensitizing, and patients should limit sun exposure and use proper sun protection throughout their treatment. Accutane used to be considered a “last resort” treatment option, reserved for when all other acne treatments have failed. However, Accutane is now a very common prescription treatment for treating all types and severity of acne and preventing future acne breakouts and new acne scars from forming. The majority of patients who choose to take advantage of Accutane do not experience another breakout once they’ve completed their treatment. When you consult with Dr. Green for your back acne treatment plan, she will provide you with all of the pertinent information for safe and successful Accutane treatment.

Will back acne go away?

In some cases, breakouts of bacne can resolve on their own over time. By making certain adjustments in hygiene and lifestyle practices, patients can ensure they are keeping their skin clean, which can help to reduce back acne breakouts, too. If, however, back acne persists despite adhering to recommended skincare and hygiene protocol for maintaining clear skin, then it is best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist. An experienced dermatologist, such as Dr. Green in NYC, can help determine the underlying causes as well as the best treatment options for your skin condition. Cases of severe acne may require prescription acne medication or other acne-clearing procedures that are exclusively available at a dermatologist’s office.

Why am I getting back acne? What does back acne mean?

Many factors may contribute to back acne breakouts. Some risk factors are biological, such as having a family history of acne or shifts in certain hormone levels. A dermatologist can provide the right prescription treatments for addressing acne breakouts that are hormonal or genetic. Other factors include hygiene and skincare practices, diet, medications, and stress. Good hygiene and a proper skincare routine can significantly reduce the risk of developing back acne. Some examples of behaviors that may cause back acne include wearing tight clothing, failing to shower directly after a workout, failing to clean clothes in between workouts, and eating a high glycemic index diet. The risk of developing back acne can be greatly reduced by modeling behaviors that help keep skin clean.

How should I exfoliate back acne?

When treating or preventing back acne, it is important to be gentle when washing the treatment area. Some patients believe that scrubbing or exfoliating the skin with a loofah or back brush helps acne, but in reality, the harsh friction of these products can actually make acne worse. When treating back acne, it is best to usnon-comedogenicnic soaps and gentle cleansers. Adapalene is an OTC retinoid product that is great for gently exfoliating the skin to keep the pores clear. For some patients, Dr. Green may recommend the use of a chemical peel to exfoliate the skin in a controlled manner and stimulate skin cell turnover. A chemical peel is a type of non-invasive cosmetic treatment that is used to accelerate the rate of skin cell turnover, sloughing away dead skin cells from the skin’s surface and unclogging pores. Chemical peels are beneficial as an acne treatment but also help improve dullness, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. Many different types of chemical peels are available, and Dr. Green works with each patient on an individual basis to customize their treatment based on their unique needs and overall aesthetic. Dr. Michele Green’s Three-Step At-Home Acne Treatment by MGSKINLABs is one of the most popular and effective ways to exfoliate and treat back acne.

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How to treat back acne at home

There are many over-the-counter acne treatments, including topical skincare products and body washes, that can be used to treat mild breakouts of back acne at home effectively. To start, you may want to acquire a lotion applicator to reach difficult areas of your back, which can easily be purchased online. When looking for body washes or topical creams to treat acne, it is recommended to select skincare containing active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids. Benzoyl peroxide is an anti-bacterial ingredient that helps to clear the bacteria that cause acne. There is an abundance of body washes and topical creams available for purchase over the counter that contain benzoyl peroxide. When using these products, it is best to leave the body wash or cream on for 2-5 minutes before rinsing off, as benzoyl peroxide can stain clothing, towels, and sheets. As such, it is important to clean the area gently but thoroughly after use. Benzoyl peroxide can be found in different strengths, but a product with 5.3% benzoyl peroxide is a good place to start, as a common side effect of stronger concentrations is dry and irritated skin. Retinoids are also helpful in unclogging the pores and can be paired with benzoyl peroxide to enhance the treatment. Retinoid gel should be applied on a daily basis for best results. Curating a proper skincare regimen for acne can be a challenge, especially considering that using too many acne treatments concurrently may cause skin irritation and exacerbate breakouts. Even if you are only interested in using skincare products at home for acne treatment, it is important to consult with a dermatologist, such as Dr. Michele Green in NYC, to ensure that your skincare routine includes the products best suited to your specific skin concerns, needs, and goals.

How do I know what to use for back acne?

There are many possible solutions when it comes to treating back acne and achieving clearer skin. It can feel not easy to navigate all of the options, and the abundance of acne-fighting over-the-counter products may be overwhelming. That is why it is best to begin by consulting with an expert dermatologist, such as Dr. Green, in New York City. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, she will examine the treatment area and your skin condition and discuss your medical history and history of acne breakouts. Then, Dr. Green can make a recommendation about which treatments or series of treatments will work best to address your unique needs. With her proprietary MGSKINLABs, Inc. products, Dr. Green also has the best skin care products to keep your skin hydrated, clear, and smooth.

Will back acne scars go away?

When acne breakouts are left untreated, there is a risk that inflammatory lesions can irreparably damage the underlying skin tissue, resulting in permanent acne scars. Acne scars are much harder to treat than acne breakouts themselves and can appear as hypertrophic or atrophic scars. No two individuals with breakouts will develop acne scars in the same way, which is why consulting an expert is crucial to successfully, safely, and effectively reducing acne scarring. Most acne scars will not go away on their own, as the appearance of acne scars results from permanent skin tissue damage. However, various non-invasive cosmetic treatment options can significantly reduce the appearance of acne scars, restoring an even, smooth skin texture and boosting self-confidence. The best first step is to schedule an appointment with expert board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michele Green in NYC to determine which treatment option will be most effective for you, depending on your skin tone, the types of acne scars you have, and your skin type. Some of the most popular and effective back acne scar treatment options include chemical peels and laser treatments. Hypertrophic acne scars and keloids are thick, raised scars that may resemble growths and can be particularly challenging to treat. To reduce the appearance of these types of acne scars, Dr. Green often recommends a combination approach, including the V-Beam laser treatment to eliminate pigment and steroid injections to reduce scar tissue.

How to Treat back acne scars

One of the most important reasons to have your acne breakouts treated by a dermatologist as soon as possible is to prevent acne scars from developing. Acne scars form as a result of the inflammation associated with the acne lesions, causing irreparable damage to the underlying skin tissue. The eMatrix, Fraxel, Vivace, and V-Beam Lasers, and chemical peels are some of the most effective treatment options for improving the appearance of acne scars and redness available at the office of board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michele Green.

The V-Beam laser is considered the gold standard for treating redness, including that which is associated with acne scars. The V-Beam relies on pulsed dye light energy, which is converted to heat and absorbed by the red pigment in the skin, leaving the surrounding skin unharmed. The V-Beam laser is an effective treatment for a variety of skin types, sensitive skin, and an effective treatment for both atrophic and hypertrophic scars. V-Beam can also be used to improve the appearance of broken blood vessels, rosacea, and stretch marks, among other concerns. With the V-Beam laser, a short series of 4 to 6 treatment sessions, each spaced one month apart, is typically necessary to effectively reduce the appearance of acne scars. The inclusion of the Dynamic Cooling Device, which shoots a burst of cool air before each laser pulse, allows patients to have reduced redness without any downtime or discomfort.

The Fraxel Dual laser is considered to be one of the most effective treatment options for atrophic acne scars. Fraxel utilizes two different wavelengths to target both uneven skin texture and uneven tone. While the surface layers of skin are left intact, the middle layers of skin sustain controlled, microscopic injuries. This stimulates the natural wound-healing process of the skin, inducing the production of new collagen and elastin. Most patients with acne scarring require a short series of Fraxel treatments to achieve their ideal results. The procedure takes less than an hour to complete, and the most common side effects are typically mild inflammation or redness for the first 48 hours post-treatment.

The eMatrix RF Laser is a very popular acne scar treatment option that is safe for patients of every skin tone and skin type. The eMatrix relies on radiofrequency technology to deliver heat deep within the dermis, triggering the natural wound-healing process of the skin and resulting in collagen remodeling and new collagen generation. The production of new collagen helps create a more even skin texture, reducing the appearance of acne scars. The eMatrix laser has minimal downtime, with the most common side effects, including some redness and peeling in the treatment area for up to 48 hours.

Chemical peels are a type of skin resurfacing treatment that involves the topical application of a peeling agent to exfoliate the topmost layers of skin, helping to slough away dead skin cells and imperfections, stimulating new collagen production, and revealing new, healthy skin cells underneath. Chemical peels can be used to treat unwanted pigment, active acne lesions, and acne scars alike. Dr. Green will customize your chemical peel treatment to guarantee that you get the best results. After a chemical peel, the skin will typically appear red and sensitive. Still, the healing process is brief, and patients will typically experience smoother, restored skin in a matter of days.

If you are frustrated by back acne scars and are looking for a solution, Dr. Green in NYC is here to help. With over 25 years of experience providing her patients from around the world with the best non-invasive cosmetic treatment options available, Dr. Green has helped countless individuals achieve their ideal aesthetic goals to look and feel like the best version of themselves. When you consult with Dr. Green for your back acne or back acne scar treatment, she will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that is best suited to your unique needs.

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The Most Common Questions On Back Acne:

What does “bacne” mean?

“Bacne” is a term for “back acne,” or acne breakouts that appear on the back, including the shoulders and upper back. Many risk factors can lead to bacne, including family history, hormone fluctuations, sun exposure, sweating, poor hygiene, and stress. Many different types of acne can occur on the back, including non-inflammatory acne like blackheads and whiteheads and inflammatory acne such as pustules, papules, cysts, and nodules. For some, bacne may be a cosmetic concern, and for others, cysts and nodules can cause pain and discomfort.

What type of acne is back acne?

There are many different types of acne, and any of these types can occur on the back. Some patients may experience blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, papules, cysts, nodules, or a combination of all of these types. When seeking treatment for back acne, it is essential to consult with an expert dermatologist who can choose the treatment option that will be most effective against the type of acne you are experiencing.

Is Back Acne Normal?

Back acne is a very common skin condition that affects more than 50 percent of people who experience acne. Acne breakouts occur most frequently on parts of the body with a high concentration of sebaceous glands, including the face, back, chest, and buttocks. When dealing with any type of acne, the best first step is to consult with an expert dermatologist, such as Dr. Green, so that you can receive a personalized treatment plan.

Is Back Acne Hormonal?

Hormonal imbalances can potentially contribute to the presence of back acne or ‘bacne.’ Although hormones may shift for a number of reasons, the most common are puberty and pregnancy. During these periods, androgen hormone levels shift significantly, which can trigger the body to produce excess sebum from the sebaceous glands. Excess oil that is made may clog the pores, leading to acne breakouts. High stress or feelings of anxiety can also cause hormone levels to shift, which can similarly cause the body to produce more sebum. During your initial consultation with Dr. Green at her private dermatology office in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, she may order certain blood tests that can detect systemic hormonal imbalances. Part of effectively treating acne breakouts is determining which underlying factors may be contributing to the condition, which is why consulting with a dermatologist is so important when it comes to achieving clearer skin.


Which sunscreen is best for patients with back acne?

Wearing sunscreen outside is very important in helping to reduce the risk of back acne. While many people believe that exposure to the sun helps to clear up acne, in reality, the sun’s rays can dry up the skin. To keep your skin hydrated, your body then produces more oil. Excess oil can clog the pores and lead to acne breakouts. Wearing sunscreen outside helps to protect the skin from drying out and thus helps prevent the overproduction of sebum. Patients should be advised to find a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is non-comedogenic. A non-comedogenic skincare product indicates that it will not clog the pores. SPF should also have a minimum SPF of 50. Sunscreen should be reapplied every ninety minutes when outside and washed off at the end of the day in order to keep the skin clear. Choosing a non-comedogenic lotion formula for sunscreen is an ideal option for those who have oily or acne-prone skin. Dr. Green’s specialty line of skincare products, MGSKINLABS, Inc., has a non-comedogenic Hydrating Sunscreen with SPF 50 that doubles as a moisturizer. This kind of sunscreen is the perfect option for those who want to reduce the number of steps in their skincare routine, keep their skin moisturized and healthy, as well as protect against UVA and UVB rays that contribute to the development of skin cancer and signs of aging.

Do steroids give you back acne?

Certain medications may increase your risk of developing back acne breakouts, including corticosteroids, which are sometimes shortened to “steroids.” Corticosteroids are a type of medication used to decrease inflammation in the body and can be administered locally via shot, cream, or gel or systemically via oral medication. Corticosteroids can increase the production of androgen hormones, which can increase the production of sebum. With more sebum on the skin’s surface, there is a higher risk of clogged pores leading to an acne breakout.

What helps remove back acne from steroids?

Steroid use, including prescription medications and those used for bodybuilding, has been shown to cause acne, although it remains unclear why. Patients of any age and gender may be affected by breakouts due to steroid use. Some of the most common steroid acne treatment options include oral antibiotics, specially formulated skincare products, and topical treatments. Skincare products, including cleansers, spot treatments, and exfoliating products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are helpful in treating steroid back acne breakouts. These active ingredients reduce acne-causing bacteria, dry out excess oil, and treat and prevent acne lesions. Topical retinoids are another great treatment option for steroid acne breakouts. Topical retinoids are derived from vitamin A and work by increasing the rate of skin cell turnover and exfoliating dead skin cells and debris to keep pores clear. Oral antibiotics are also commonly used to treat back acne caused by steroid use. If you are breaking out from using steroids for performance enhancement, they should be discontinued. If you are taking prescription corticosteroids, do not stop taking them without first talking to your physician.

Does high testosterone cause back acne?

Yes. High testosterone can cause back and facial acne in women. Hormonal fluctuations, which occur most commonly during puberty and pregnancy but can happen anytime, can be a major risk factor for developing back acne. Testosterone is a hormone that is present in both men and women and is responsible for bone density, sex drive, and fertility. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of testosterone are more likely to have acne breakouts. High levels of testosterone can trigger increased production of sebum, leading to a higher risk of acne breakouts.

Can PCOS cause back acne?

Yes. Polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a condition that can affect females of reproductive age. Characterized by high levels of androgen hormones, patients with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing acne breakouts on the face and body. One study found that 10-34% of participants with PCOS experienced acne breakouts. One treatment option that has been shown to decrease symptoms of PCOS and reduce acne breakouts is oral contraceptive pills with the active ingredients of estrogen and progesterone, which counteract the effects of androgens, reducing testosterone levels in the body.

Spironolactone is another effective oral medication for regulating the hormonal changes associated with PCOS that may contribute to breakouts. Spironolactone, also known as the brand name Aldactone, is a prescription treatment that is typically used to lower blood pressure but can also help lower androgen levels. By reducing levels of androgens, Spironolactone reduces excess oil production and dead skin cell build-up that often clogs pores and causes acne. Oral Spironolactone is a treatment option reserved for female patients, as it may lower testosterone levels in male patients and cause unwanted side effects. Most patients start to see the positive effects of taking Spironolactone within several weeks of starting the treatment.

Can Creatine cause back acne?

Creatine is an amino acid that works to increase athletic performance by providing the muscles with energy. While the body produces Creatine naturally, it can also be taken as a supplement, allowing athletes to work out for longer. There is no known connection between Creatine and acne breakouts. However, with increased athletic activity, patients may sweat more, which can be a risk factor for developing back acne. To prevent breakouts, patients should be sure to shower as soon as possible after working out and always wear breathable clothing.

What causes back acne in males?

There are many potential risk factors for developing back acne in males, including:

  • High testosterone levels
  • Unprotected sun exposure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Poor Hygiene
  • Stress
  • Abrasive skincare products
  • Family history
  • Hormone fluctuations
  • Diet

Do back acne treatment sprays work?

There are many back acne treatment options available over the counter, such that it can be difficult to know which ones are effective and which are less so. The best first step for seeking back acne treatment is to consult with an expert dermatologist, such as Dr. Green, who can examine the treatment area to determine the type of acne you are experiencing and the treatment option that will be best suited. Over-the-counter sprays containing ingredients such as salicylic acid can be effective but can cause skin irritation, redness, and dryness.

Will the sun get rid of back acne?

There is a falsely held belief that exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds will improve acne. Initially, it may appear that the sun has “dried out” your pimples. In fact, exposure to the sun can cause new or worsening breakouts of back acne. Unprotected sun exposure can dry out the skin, causing an increase in sebum production to compensate. Increased sebum can lead to clogged pores and acne breakouts.

Will a tanning bed help back acne?

Like sun exposure, tanning beds do not help back acne. Rather, they can increase the risk of developing back acne. Exposure to UV rays can cause significant damage to the skin, leading to hyperpigmentation, such as sun spots, age spots, melasma, and freckles, and increasing the risk of developing skin cancer. For smooth, clear, healthy skin, patients should avoid the tanning beds.

Will a sunburn get rid of back acne?

A sunburn will not get rid of back acne. Exposure to the sun and sun damage can increase the risk of developing back acne, which is why Dr. Green always recommends applying sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher whenever you go outside. To protect your skin from breakouts, hyperpigmentation, and early signs of aging, always practice sun avoidance.

Will doxycycline treat back acne?

Doxycycline is an oral antibiotic that can be prescribed to treat severe back acne breakouts. The medication kills the acne-causing bacteria present on the skin to eliminate the breakout. Oral antibiotics, such as doxycycline, are better when taken for a short period in small doses to avoid antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Will a spray tan cover back acne?

A tan will not eliminate or reduce an acne breakout and is not an effective treatment option. Some people may find that a spray tan makes back acne less visible, as redness due to pimples will be less visible on a darker surface. The best way to reduce the appearance of back acne is to seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Green.

How to hide back acne when swimming

Ideally, you can reduce the appearance of back acne before swimming with one of the many treatment options available, including topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide-based creams, topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics, or in-office procedures, such as chemical peels. Before going swimming, be sure to apply sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher to protect the skin against harmful UV rays that can cause sun damage and dry out the skin, leading to a worsening of acne breakouts.

Do pimple patches work on back acne?

Pimple patches, such as the hydrocolloid patches, can be used on back acne. The Rael Miracle Patch, for example, even comes in XL sizes to cover a greater surface area on the back. The patches work by covering the treatment area, protecting the area from harmful bacteria while simultaneously drawing out pus and sebum.

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Can you get a tattoo with back acne?

According to tattoo artists and healthcare professionals, it is important to wait until back acne is gone before getting a back tattoo. There are many reasons why the skin should be clear before getting a tattoo in the area. Besides creating an uneven surface for the artist, back acne can increase the risk of infection and spreading acne bacteria from one area to another. If you are prone to back acne, seek treatment first before scheduling a tattoo appointment.

How to hide back acne when swimming

Acne is a common skin condition that can induce feelings of self-consciousness and low self-esteem. These feelings can be intensified when the breakout is especially hard to cover, like when swimming. The best first step in eliminating breakouts is always scheduling a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Green, in New York. Dr. Green will work with you to develop a personalized acne treatment plan to get rid of your breakouts once and for all so you no longer have to struggle to hide your back acne. To create your customized back acne treatment plan, Dr. Green will collect a thorough medical and family history, physically assess the affected area, and potentially request certain laboratory tests to evaluate for underlying contributing factors. While undergoing acne treatment, some patients still may want to conceal their breakouts. To cover back acne while swimming without causing skin irritation or exacerbating breakouts, patients may consider wearing bathing suits with coverage, wearing a swim-suit cover or shirt, or using a non-comedogenic, mineral-based tinted sunscreen. Check with Dr. Green before using a new skincare product on your breakouts to be certain that it won’t irritate your skin or worsen acne.

Do pimple patches work on back acne?

A pimple patch is an acne treatment that is most effective against whiteheads. Pimple patches are not as effective on cysts and blackheads. It is important to understand what kind of lesions make up your back acne breakouts in order to treat them most effectively. One type of pimple patch contains hydrocolloid, a wound-healing ointment—these types of patches are also used for blisters or burns. Hydrocolloid pimple patches absorb excess fluid and oil from whiteheads, forming a gel that is then trapped in the bandage away from the skin, turning the patch white. The other type of pimple patch is infused with AHAs and BHAs like salicylic acid to kill acne-causing bacteria while exfoliating the skin. AHA and BHA pimple patches deliver their active ingredients directly into acne lesions to unclog pores by removing dead skin cells and drying out excess sebum. Pimple patches are also beneficial because they interfere with your ability to touch the acne, allowing it to heal properly and helping you resist the urge to pick at or pop it. After removing the pimple patch, the lesion should appear smaller and less inflamed. When you consult with Dr. Michele Green at her private dermatology office in New York City, she will work with you to identify the acne treatments that are best suited to your skin type and the type of acne you have.

Home Remedies for back acne

Googling “home remedies for back acne” will result in various recipes calling for ingredients like tea tree oil, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera. These kinds of ingredients have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help treat active breakouts. However, it is important to understand the nature of your back acne breakouts in order to develop the safest, most effective acne treatment plan. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Green will work with you to determine what underlying factors are contributing to your breakouts so that you can get the right treatment options for your skin type and the type of acne you have without risking further skin irritation or worsening the breakouts. Some general tips for preventing and treating back acne breakouts include avoiding tight-fitting clothing, keeping your hair (and its natural oils) off of your back, showering immediately after exercising, exfoliating regularly, and always using clean clothing and towels.

Treating Back Acne Today with Dr. Green

Back acne is a skin condition that can be difficult to resolve and, for many, may cause feelings of self-consciousness and low self-esteem. Treating back acne with a board-certified dermatologist is critical to preventing acne scarring, which is often even more challenging to treat than the initial breakouts. If you find yourself struggling with the presence of back acne, there are luckily plenty of prevention methods and treatment options available that can help. Scheduling a consultation with an acne expert like Dr. Michele Green in NYC is the best way to understand and manage your breakouts.

Dr. Michele Green in New York City is an internationally renowned board-certified dermatologist with over two and a half decades of experience providing customized acne scar and acne treatment plans to some of the world’s most discerning individuals. Taking a holistic approach to back acne treatment, Dr. Green will recommend a unique combination of the best specially formulated skincare products, prescription treatments, and in-office therapies to help you achieve a healthy, clear, radiant, and pimple-free complexion that lasts. Dr. Green is regarded as one of the best dermatologists in New York City by Castle Connolly, Super Doctors, and New York Magazine for her dedication to her patients and expertise. To get started with eliminating your back acne once and for all, call 212-535-3088 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Green at her private, boutique dermatology office in Manhattan’s Upper East Side neighborhood.

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