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Best Dermatologist Treatment for Back Acne Scars

Acne is commonly treated on the face but “BACNE” or back acne is often neglected. While patients may turn to their dermatologist for acne treatments on their face, they often forget about treating their back. As a result of follicles being clogged with oils, dead skin cells and bacteria, the numerous sebaceous glands on your back are prone to pimples, infection, and subsequent acne scarring. Patients seek out Dr. Green to get rid of these acne scars on the back and shoulders. Dr. Michele Green is an internationally known expert in NYC, board certified in dermatology, and specializes in treating acne scarring, particularly on the face, chest, and back. Through a combination of skin care, resurfacing treatments, laser treatments, microneedling, and chemical peels, Dr. Green will be able to restore your skin and treat your back acne scars. Since acne scars on your back may be red, hyperpigmented, keloidal, or boxcar, there are different treatments depending on your specific type of acne scar. Dr. Green has the latest cutting edge technology for treating acne and acne scarring in her private boutique New York office.

Best skin care to prevent and treat back acne

The first step in treating acne and acne scarring is choosing the proper skin care regime. During your consultation with Dr. Green, she will review with you all of current skin care products and make recommendations for cleansers, toners, and exfoliating agents. Acne, especially on the back, usually starts around puberty with all of the hormonal changes that occur. People who are prone to acne breakouts, and whose hormones are fluctuating, need to have their oil-producing glands treated and “dried out”. Although many patients have their first breakouts in their teens, many people persist having acne throughout their 20’s, 30’s, and well into adulthood. Just like acne on your face and chest, acne can cause dark spots and permanent scars on your back.

Choosing the proper skin care is critical for acne patients, since you want a cleanser and other products that will treat oily skin, blackheads, comedones, pimples, and cystic acne. In terms of acne cleansers, you want to choose products which can “unclog” your skin. Key ingredients to look for when choosing the right products for back acne are salicylic acid and alpha hydroxyacids. Salicylic acid and glycolic acids increase skin cell turnover and help unclog your pores. Dr. Green’s Retexurizing pads combine both of these key ingredients to exfoliate, and unclog your skin, to encourage new skin cells and healing of the skin. Lactic acid also helps exfoliate the skin and can be useful in lightening dark spots from acne breakouts.  Once the pores are cleared, there is a decrease in sebum, oil, and bacteria, blackheads, and the overall degree of acne and inflammation are reduced.

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What is the best way to fade dark spots from back acne?

For many patients, every blemish or acne breakout leads to a dark spot or acne scar. That is why it is so important to treat acne, on the face, chest, neck, and back, as soon as it forms. For areas of the skin which have hyperpigmentation from acne breakouts, Retinols and Hydroquinones are best to use to treat this discoloration of the skin. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and also helps to decrease the pigmentation of these dark marks, and encourage their rapid healing with Vitamin C serum, Retinols, Retinoids and Bleaching creams. Cosmelan products are also effective for back acne and are combined with chemical peels. Topical skin care and the correct treatment products have a vital role in combating and reducing these dark spots.

The post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, (PIH), caused by acne breakouts are not true scars, but dark marks, which can be lightened and treated in all skin types. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, hydrafacials, combined with the correct skin care, will improve these marks and even out the skin tone and texture. It is very important to use the correct sunscreen as well while you are trying to fade out these dark marks. An SPF of 30 or above with a chemical sunblock or physical sunblock is recommended to prevent further discoloration of the skin, and allow the skin to heal. Finally, when looking for the best moisturizer or lotion, it is important to choose one that is oil free and non-comedogenic so that it doesn’t further clog your pores.

What is the best laser treatment for back acne scars?

There are several different cutting edge lasers which Dr. Green utilizes to treat back acne and remove acne scars on your back. If your concern is the redness from acne, the Vbeam laser treatment would be the ideal laser for these types of acne scars. The Vbeam laser is the gold standard in treating red lesions, especially acne and red acne scars. It can take several treatments to reduce the redness in acne scars or other types of keloid or hypertrophic scars. There is no recovery time or side effects with the Vbeam laser treatment and this procedure can be combined with laser resurfacing or chemical peels.

Acne scars on the back can involve the entire surface including the shoulders. These back scars can cause the entire texture of the back to be affected with both raised keloid scars and depressed atrophic scars. In these cases, Dr. Green utilizes a combination of treatments to correct these scars. For keloids, Dr. Green uses intralesional kenalog to inject into the scar tissue itself to reduce these raised scars. For more textural and atrophic scars, the Fraxel and eMatrix are superior lasers for treating these scars and promoting new skin cells and collagen formation. With fractional laser resurfacing, the Fraxel is able to make microscopic holes on the surface of the skin and encourage the healing of depressed scars of acne on the back and face.

For patients who have dark skin tone, the eMatrix laser would be the preferred treatment for these atrophic or depressed scars. Ematrix also encourages new collagen production with only 48 hours of downtime. In addition, eMatrix is a “color blind” laser which can be used on all skin types without any side effects of hyperpigmentation or discoloration.

There are times when the acne scars, especially on the back and shoulders, are deep and tethered due to the significant amount of atrophy or damage to the skin. In these cases, Dr. Green combines subcison with injections of hyaluronic acid such as Juvederm or Restylane. The subcison releases the scar tissue and allows new collagen to be formed. The addition of hyaluronic acid into the scars allows an immediate cosmetic improvement of the scar and long term collagen stimulation and increased rejuvenation. It is this combination approach, that Dr. Green has developed, by combining different treatment modalities, that allows her to have superior results in treating acne scars on the face, neck, chest and back.

Chemical Peels for back acne scars

Chemical peels are an excellent way to reduce pigmentation, discoloration, and dark marks from old acne breakouts. By combining chemical peels with lightening creams, such as Dr. Green’s Eight percent Hydroquinone or Murad’s lightening serum, the skin discoloration can improve more rapidly. By combining chemical peels with Retinols and Retinoids, the cosmetic rejuvenation of the skin is accelerated and new skin cells are formed, with new collagen stimulated. The result of these treatments are more even skin tone and texture with excellent clear back on the back, chest, or face.

How to care for your skin after acne scar treatment?

It is very important to continue to avoid the sun and use the proper skin care during and after acne scar treatment. It is best to treat acne scars on your back once your acne is under control. If you continue to breakout it is critical to your overall treatment plan to first “cure” your acne. Otherwise, you may find that as soon as you treat your acne scars, new acne blemishes arise, and these then need further treatment. This is why Accutane is often the final “cure” for many patients from this vicious acne cycle. One of the downsides of taking Accutane is that it will defer treatment with Fraxel laser for one year after you finish your treatment. During this time, it is always critical to avoid the sun since this can cause new acne flares, and worsen the discoloration from any dark marks from your acne. It is important to continue to use gentle exfoliators and cleansers, and oil free moisturizers and sunscreens, to maintain your clear skin and prevent irritation or new acne breakouts.

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Before & After Accutane treatment for back acne

Types of acne scars

There are several different types of acne scars that can result from acne breakouts. Depending on the type of acne scar formed, the treatment may vary. The following are the main types of acne scars:

  • Atrophic scars – which are thin, flat, or depressed scars.
  • Rolling scars – are typically broad depressed scars with ill defined borders.
  • Boxcar scars – depressed scars which are broad with sharply defined borders.
  • Icepick scars – narrow and deep depressed scars.
  • Keloid scars – hypertrophic scars which are raised in appearance.

Read more about acne scar types

How to best treat boxcar scars?

There are two types of atrophic scars, icepick scars and boxcar scars. Icepick scars are generally best treated with laser therapy. Boxcar scars are the most common type of acne scar, comprising between 20 to 30 precent of all atrophic scars. They are most commonly located on the lower cheeks, jaws, and on the back and shoulders, where the skin is thicker.  Boxcar scars are caused by long term inflammatory acne, which doesn’t heal properly. Due to the large inflammatory response, the skin does not produce enough collagen to heal the area, and these scars are formed. The deeper the inflammation, the worse the scar generally becomes. Boxcar scars, especially those on the back where the skin tissue is thicker, often benefit from punch excision in combination with resurfacing the skin with cosmetic treatments like Fraxel laser, microneedling, chemical peels, or microdermabrasion.

Deeper acne scars are more difficult to improve in cosmetic appearance. For this reason, combining different treatments, is the best way to reduce the cosmetic appearance of boxcar scars. Whether the treatment is subcision combined with hyaluronic fillers and laser treatment, or punch excision followed by Fraxel laser treatment, this combination approach allows Dr. Green to treat the various aspects of these depressed scars. Boxcar scars are very difficult to treat and require an expert in these type of acne scars, like Dr. Green in NYC, for the best cosmetic results.

Microneedling for back acne scars

Microneedling has become an increasingly popular way to treat acne scars, including back acne scars. Microneedling has virtually no down time and with this non-invasive treatment, skin tone, texture, and acne scars, call all be improved. Microneedling, also called collagen induction therapy, utilizes very small surgical-grade needles, to make microscopic holes in the skin. These small holes trigger a controlled wound healing effect and stimulate the induction of new collagen and elastin. This new collagen production is what is responsible for tightening the skin, improving the surface irregularities, and clearing acne scars on the face, chest, and back. Dr. Green often combines Platelet Rich Growth Factor (PRP) with microneedling since it has the added benefits of stimulating wound healing by incorporating your own natural growth factors into the procedure.

Acne scar treatment

Acne scars take a psychological toll and can often contribute to low self esteem, anxiety, and depression. Treating acne as soon as possible is critical in preventing acne scars. However, if the situation has progressed, and you are left with back acne scars, it is this combination approach to treatment which is the most successful in getting rid of back acne scars and shoulder scars.  Most patients have a combination of acne scars, ice pick scars, boxcar scars, and keloid scars. These different types of scars may require different techniques to reduce their appearance. This is why consulting with an acne scar expert, like Dr. Michele Green, is critical to the success of acne scar treatment.

How to clear back acne

Acne can be caused by many reasons, from genetics, hormones, greasy food, stress, to the wrong skin care products. There are times when topical treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid, or retinoids  are just not enough to reduce the acne breakouts. Every breakout is a potential acne scar, and they key is to prevent the acne from occurring. Oral antibiotics, such as Minocycline, and Docycycline, may be needed to prevent further acne breakouts. When the cause for back acne is hormonal, oral contraceptives or Spirinolactone, may be indicated. Photodynamic therapy, with blue light, works very well for acne patients who are unable to tolerate oral antibiotics.  In cases where the acne is genetic, Accutane (Isotretinoin) may be needed to cure acne. The key is to treat blemishes to prevent acne scars from developing. Isotretinoin is associated with many side effects such as birth defects, depression, and joint pain, and needs to be closely followed by an experienced board certified dermatologist, like Dr. Michele Green.

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How do you prevent acne breakouts on your back?

There are several ways to prevent acne breakouts on your skin, especially on your back. One of the main reasons that patients have bacne (back acne) is  the sweat caused by exercising and not showering immediately afterwards. Showering removes the sweat and prevents the pores from clogging. Tight fitting exercise clothing and spandex can exacerbate this condition by trapping the sweat on your skin and causing further acne breakouts. It is always best to wear breathable fabrics, such as cotton, while exercising, and showering right after your workout is completed.

Other ways to prevent back acne is to stay out of the sun since sunlight, heat, and sweat, all contribute to clogging your pores. Always choose a non-comedogenic product to use on your back, whether it be a sunblock or moisturizer. In addition, avoid harsh scrubs or any products that irritate your skin, as this irritation can damage your skin and lead to further scarring. Finally, not picking or squeezing your acne is vital, as popping your acne leads to the spread of bacteria and causes acne scarring.

Home remedies for back acne

There are many ways to prevent and treat acne at home including the following:

  • Shower and properly clean your skin
  • Exfoliate your skin after workouts or sweating. Keeping exfoliating pads handy like Dr. Green Retexturizing Pads, are a quick and effective way to clean the skin even when you can’t immediately take a shower.
  • Tea tree oil has been showed to have antibacterial properties. Tea tree oil originated from Australia and has been proven to be effective in killing bacteria on the skin.
  • Avoid loss hairstyles which allow hair to fall on your face or back. The oils from your hair can contribute to acne breakouts, so wearing your hair pulled back into a bun can help prevent this exacerbation of sweat on your skin.
  • Use sunscreen and lotions that are oil-free and non-comedogenic to prevent acne flares.
  • Healthy diets including fruits and vegetables and limiting the intake of refined sugar and processed foods can improve your acne.

How to clear back acne scars?

If you are tired of your back acne breakouts and want the best treatment options for your acne scars, it is time to consult with Dr. Michele Green, an internationally recognized leader in the treatment of acne scars. Dr. Green is a  board certified dermatologist and uses the most cutting edge treatments to cure acne scars in her private boutique NYC office. With years of experience at treating the most stubborn acne and acne scars, Dr. Green is consistently voted one of the best dermatologists in New York. Take the first step to clear skin and contact us online today or call 212-535-3088

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