How to Get Rid of Back Acne, According to a Dermatologist

I hate to say it, but anywhere you have skin, you can have acne. Sure, the face is the most talked about place, but getting rashes on your back is also very common. While one of the best spot treatments can certainly tackle a spot or two, you’ll need to make bigger changes to your overall routine to actually get rid of the bacne. The good news: there’s a formula hard and fast enough to calm body acne.

For some, getting rid of the bacne can be as simple as taking a shower after sweating. For the others? You may need to visit your dermatologist and follow a prescription diet. For the full breakdown on the bacne, keep reading. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nkem Ugonabo explains everything you need to know.

What is Bacne?

Back acne is often used as a catch-all term that refers to rashes on the body.“, explains Dr. Ugonabo. And, just like acne on the face, it can present differently in different people. You may have blackheads and whiteheads, cysts, or inflamed red bumps.

But there is a catch. Sometimes the bumps on your back aren’t acne at all. “There are other ‘breakouts’ that can mimic acne because they look like pimples,” says Dr Ugonabo. “You might have folliculitis, which refers to inflamed hair follicles caused by the buildup of sweat and dirt. It’s also possible that your bumpy back indicates a follicle-blocking skin condition called keratosis pilaris (KP).

How to Treat Back Acne

If you have mild to moderate bacne (think: whiteheads, blackheads, and a few red bumps), you’ll probably be able to manage your breakouts with over-the-counter products and a few lifestyle changes. But, if your rashes are painful or more severe, be sure to contact your board-certified dermatologist.

Don’t jump and choose

It should go without saying, but don’t start squeezing, popping and picking your pimples. This will introduce new bacteria, can lead to infection, and quite frankly will make things worse. “It will only increase your risk of dark spots, hyperpigmentation and scarring.”

Avoid tight clothing

If you’re dealing with folliculitis, rubbing against the skin will only perpetuate the problem. And if it’s Actually acne? Friction will contribute to inflammation. As such, Dr. Ugonabo says your best bet is to wear loose, water-resistant, sweat-wicking clothing.

Don’t sit sweaty

“Waiting too long to shower after a workout can increase the likelihood of a breakout,” Dr. Ugonabo says. As soon as you finish your gym session, do a quick rinse. While a full shower with one of the best salicylic acid body washes is certainly ideal, sometimes it just isn’t practical right now. If you’re in a pinch after sweating, scrub your body with a cleansing wipe.

Change your shower routine

Take a close look at your shampoo and conditioner. They could be to blame for your breakouts. When you wash your hair, the product runs down your back. If the products are not formulated for acne-prone skin, they could clog pores. Be sure to look for shampoos and conditioners that are oil-free and labeled non-comedogenic.

Dr. Ugonabo also recommends adding treatment products to your shower routine via body wash. “I like ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid,” she adds. Products with these ingredients should help clear breakouts, but it won’t happen overnight. Give them a good six weeks to start working.

Talk to a dermatologist

“If you’ve tried over-the-counter products, but the acne isn’t improving or getting worse, I highly recommend seeing a board-certified dermatologist,” Dr. Ugonabo advises. She adds that a dermatologist will A.) be able to confirm that you are in fact dealing with back acne and not something else, and B.) will write you a script for a prescription medication. In some cases, your doctor will recommend a topical wipe or cream such as clindamycin. In others, they’ll suggest oral antibiotics, like doxycycline.

The best products to get rid of body acne

Meet the expert

Dr Uganobo

Dr. Nkem Ugonabo, MD, MPH

Dr. Ugonabo is originally from New York and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology from Stanford University. She then worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company before completing her master’s degree in public health at Harvard and her medical degree at the University of Michigan. She returned to the New York area for her dermatology residency at the prestigious NYU Medical Center where she was named Chief Resident in her senior year. During her residency, she served on several institutional committees and was selected to chair the Housestaff Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee. She has also pursued extensive research into laser treatment of pigmented lesions, patient safety, combination treatments involving fillers and lasers, and the mental health of acne patients taking Accutane. At the end of her residency, she received the Dr. Irwin Freedberg Award for the resident who best represents the field of dermatology in the world of medicine. Following her residency, Dr. Ugonabo was an American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) Aesthetic Dermatologic Surgery Fellow at UnionDerm in New York, where she worked as a sub-investigator on several clinical trials investigating the treatment of skin scarring. acne, photodamage, cellulite, muscle. stimulation and melasma.

Dr. Ugonabo has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of American Medical Association Surgery, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Dermatologic Surgery, Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, British Journal of Dermatology, and Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. She has presented at numerous national and local meetings, including the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Annual Meeting, the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) Annual Meeting, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) and the Winter Clinical Dermatology Conference.

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