You’d think that once you’re past puberty, acne would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately for many people, acne and even back acne can happen at any age, even well into adulthood. Luckily, “bacne” as we so fondly call it, is very treatable and preventable. Here’s how to combat it.
1. Chemically exfoliate your back
Just like face acne, bacne is often caused by a buildup of dead skin cells and sebum that block your pores. Although that super creamy and heavenly scented coconut body wash may smell amazing and feel luxurious, it’s not doing your bacne any good. Instead, use a body wash that contains AHAs and BHAs like salicylic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid to chemically exfoliate your back, dissolve dead skin cells and unblock pores. We recommend the Mario Badescu AHA Botanical Soap to cleanse your body every day.
2. Swap out your body wash
Alternatively, use a body wash with 5-10% benzoyl peroxide to aggressively kill the bacteria that is causing you to break out on your back. Sometimes, bacne can also be caused by an overgrowth of yeast, the same type that causes scalp dandruff. Using a zinc-packed antifungal shampoo or body wash like Selsun Blue can help combat this.
3. Shower immediately after a workout
The bacteria that causes bacne thrives on sweaty skin, so make sure to shower immediately after you’ve cooled down from a workout. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for a full shower, wipe down your skin with cleansing wipes, AHA or BHA pads to keep the pores clear until you can shower later.
4. Wash your clothes and linen frequently
Anything you sweat in becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, so make sure you wash your clothes frequently, especially gym clothes and undergarments. The same goes for your bed sheets and towels at least once a week.
5. Switch your fabrics
Consider switching to sweat wicking fabrics or antimicrobial fabrics so that you stay cool and the bacteria doesn’t breed. Clothes that are too tight, especially compression clothes can trap dirt and sweat, so wear looser fitting clothes that allow your skin to breathe. You should also avoid using things that rub against your back like a backpack, because it can irritate your skin and aggravate bacne. Switch to a handheld or cross body bag instead.
6. Eat Clean
Just like the skin on your face, what you eat reflects on it. Foods that are high on the glycemic index (GI) like white bread, white pasta and white rice tend to trigger acne. A healthy diet with lots of wholefoods like vegetables, fruits, lean protein, healthy fats and whole grains can fight bacne.
7. Visit your dermatologist
If all of the above isn’t improving your bacne, a trip to your dermatologist is always a good idea. Dermatologists can prescribe more aggressive forms of treatment such as hormonal therapy, extractions, peels, short-term antibiotics, laser treatments, and prescription creams.