Unfortunately, your face isn’t the only place where acne can occur. Pores can get clogged nearly anywhere on your body, including your back, which can lead to breakouts that are referred to as “bacne.” The good news is, just like blemishes on your face, you can both prevent and treat bacne.
What causes bacne?
Regardless of where it occurs, acne has four main causes and any number of these can combine to be factors in the onset of an individual’s acne.
1) Follicular keratinization causes dead skin cells to clump together and potentially block your hair follicles, rather than be cleanly shed.
2) Some individuals have enlarged glands that overproduce sebum (skin oil).
3) While Propionibacterium Acnes, the acne-causing bacteria, is found on all skin, that of some individuals is more hospitable to the bacteria and, therefore, has more of it.
4) Any of the situation above can cause inflammation, which is our body’s way of trying to stop damage and encourage healing. However, inflammation itself can encourage the onset of the acne, resulting in a vicious cycle.
In some cases, what appears to be bacne could actually be a form of folliculitis, a common infection the develops in our hair follicles, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Folliculitis looks similar to an acne breakout, but is typically red and inflamed due to the infection. If you are unsure of the nature of the breakouts on your back, a visit to a dermatologist is a good first step.
How can you prevent bacne?
While bacne has four direct causes, there are secondary factors that can trigger the onset of breakouts.
Wearing sweaty clothing can create a breeding ground for acne bacteria. Plus, tight-fitting clothing that doesn’t breathe can irritate the skin. Instead, wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing, especially when exercising. After working out or sweating, take a shower as soon as possible, being sure to wash your skin with a gentle, ph-balanced cleanser.
What is an appropriate bacne treatment?
Those prone to bacne can use many of the same products that are formulated for acne on faces. Facial and body cleansers formulated with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide will help to not only clear breakouts but also to minimize the severity of future breakouts. If acne is persistent, a topical acne treatment, like Lexli Clarifying Lotion, can be applied to the back in a thin layer.
When outdoors, it’s also important to wear sunscreen to protect your back (and all areas of skin!) from UV rays. Exposure to UV can cause blemishes to darken and scar. And just like the zits on our face, picking at or disturbing bacne can cause further damage to your skin and lead to more inflammation and scarring instead of clear skin.
Photo by Ian Noble on Unsplash