How to Treat Acne on Your Back

Published July 26, 2018
Back and shoulder with acne scars

Back acne can often affect your self-confidence just as much as facial acne, especially during the summer months when your back might be more visible. Treating acne on your back can be similar to treating acne on your face; however, there are some key differences as the pores on your back are larger. Whether you only have the occasional blackhead or constant cystic spots, there are some foolproof ways you can improve the clarity and consistency of your skin.

Treating Acne You Can't See

Treating body acne can be problematic when you can't always see what you're dealing with. If you're struggling to turn your head far enough to locate pimples on your back, shoulders, or back of the arms, the following tips may help:

Use a Mirror

Face away from a standing or fixed mirror and turn your head towards it so you can see your back acne over your shoulder. If you still can't see it properly, grab a handheld mirror and hold this up as your back faces the fixed mirror. If you position it correctly, you should be able to see all aspects of your back.

Use the Four-Point Sweep Method

If you're trying to apply products yourself, you can use the four-point sweep method. This is where you:

  1. Use your right hand to run up and over your left shoulder and down the left hand side of your back.
  2. You then use your left hand to run up and over your right shoulder and down the right hand side of your back.
  3. Afterward, use both hands to sweep the top of your back by starting them both in the center and pulling them away from each other.
  4. Finally, use both hands to reach around the center of your back and brush downwards to cover the bottom area.

Ask Your Roommate to Help You

When it comes to applying products, you can use the four-point sweep method. However, if you're really struggling to reach a certain area, ask a friend, family member, or roommate to help you.

Ways to Treat Back Acne

There are many tricks and tips you can implement into your daily routine to treat back acne.

Keep It Clean

The most important thing to do when you have back acne is to keep the area clean. Leaving excess dirt and debris on your skin can cause the pores on your back to block even more, resulting in angrier-looking acne. Make sure you cover the area during your cleaning regime daily and dry your back properly to finish.

Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate!

Part of your cleaning regime when you have back acne should include exfoliation with a gentle scrub. Exfoliation helps to get rid of any dead skin cells to improve the overall appearance and texture of your skin. Use a loofah or similar scrubbing product in the shower for skin that looks clearer and feels smoother.

Use Acne-Fighting Products

When cleansing your back each and every day, make sure you use a product with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, camphor, tea tree oil, and clay. These ingredients actively tackle acne breakouts to produce healthier-looking skin. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends leaving over-the-counter acne body washes on for two to five minutes to treat mild to moderate acne.

Tie Your Hair Back

If you have long hair, it may be adding excess oil or dirt to your back, causing more breakouts. Make sure you wash your locks frequently, avoid shampoo or conditioner running down your back, and tie your hair up during workouts or hot weather.

Wear Loose Clothing

When choosing your outfit for the day, avoid wearing tight clothing to minimize friction against your back, especially when you're perspiring. Lighter colors and fabrics like cotton are ideal.

Go for a Back Facial

Many salons now offer back facials as well as regular facials, which are great for giving your back some much-needed TLC every six weeks. During a back facial, your beauty therapist will perform a deep cleanse and exfoliation, and then finish off with a massage to replenish the body's nutrients.

Treat From the Inside Out

Consider treating your back acne from the inside out in the following ways.

  • Change your diet - "You are what you eat," so try to eat a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid white bread, white pasta and rice, and white potatoes, as these are high on the glycemic index. This means that they cause your blood sugar to rise faster, which could worsen your acne.
  • Antibiotics - If your case of back acne is severe, your doctor might decide to put you on antibiotics to kill bacteria and prevent future bouts of acne.
  • Topical creams - Your doctor may also decide to provide you with medicated creams to work alongside on your antibiotics or on their own to combat breakouts.

Keep Your Routine Consistent

Finally, always remember that your skin thrives off a regular routine, whether it's the skin on your back or skin on your face. It needs constant upkeep and care if you want to achieve the best results.

Back Acne: Be Gone

Back acne can be just as challenging as facial acne to treat; however, once you've established a routine that suits your skin, it'll only be a matter of time before your breakouts clear up and you'll feel confident enough to have your back on show again.

How to Treat Acne on Your Back