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6 Tips to Help You Manage Back Acne

Banish bacne with just a few tweaks to your routine.
December 14, 2022


If you’ve ever hesitated to wear a backless dress or covered your back up with a towel at the beach in hopes of hiding your back acne, you’re not alone. Back acne, or bacne, as it’s sometimes called, is pretty common. 

Unlike acne on your face, however, back acne isn’t talked about as much, but the good news is  there are certain steps you can take in your skin care routine to help manage it. So if you’ve started noticing more blemishes and breakouts on your back lately, keep reading for advice on how to best take care of your skin and manage back acne.

What Is Back Acne?

Back acne is simply acne that’s located on your back — upper or lower — rather than on your face. It can also come in many different forms including blackheads, whiteheads, papules, and even painful cysts. Although back acne and acne in general are most common during one’s teenage years, it’s a skin condition that can occur at any age.

Acne blemishes occur when hair follicles become clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. If you have acne anywhere on your body, you already know that blemishes can also be quite persistent at returning again and again, but a consistent skin care routine can keep it at bay.

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How to Manage Back Acne

Back acne can be prevented and treated right from home. Here are six tips for making your routine back acne friendly.

1. Cleanse Gently

As good as it can feel to scrub your back, this can actually worsen acne. Skip body scrubs and exfoliating tools like dry brushes on your back. Instead, use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser formulated for acne-prone skin when washing your back. Look for body washes that feature ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

2. Try a Retinoid

An over-the-counter retinoid can help with banishing back acne, and it can also help lighten any discoloration that often comes along with acne. To make sure the product reaches the right spots, get a back lotion applicator, then put the product onto the tool before gently applying the retinoid to your back acne.

3. Wear Loose Clothing When You Exercise

how you workout can also impact your back acne. Whenever you plan to work up a sweat, try to go for loose-fitting clothes made of cotton or sweat-wicking material so you don’t trap bacteria against your skin. Additionally, make sure to remove your workout clothes and shower as soon as you can after your workout, or use an oil-free cleansing wipe to wipe off sweat.

4. Avoid Picking at Your Acne

Even though it might feel satisfying to pick at or pop your blemishes, don’t do it. This will only worsen your acne, so it’s always best to take a hands-off approach. Thankfully, it’s a lot easier to avoid touching your back than your face.

5. Put Your Hair Up

Your hair can deposit oils, dirt and residue from your hair products onto your back, leading to more acne. To avoid this, try and keep your hair off your back if you can, but especially when you’re working out or are currently having a breakout.

6. Talk to Your Dermatologist

If you try all of the tips above and don’t notice any improvement in your bacne, make an appointment to speak with a skin care specialist. Some forms of back acne may require a prescription product or an oral medication. 

Next: How to Prevent Pimples in Your Ear, According to a Dermatologist


Edited by: Témi Adebowale, Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Production Assistant: Jason Parigian, Digital Tech: Sam Kang, Photo Assistant: Hannah Lewis-Lopes, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Stylist: Melina Kemph, Wardrobe Assistant: Kayla Martinez, Prop Stylist: Katrina Rozeville, Prop Assistant: Zach Molina, Model: Avery McMahon

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