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Between 40 and 50 million Americans suffer from acne, and back acne can be especially troublesome. What is back acne? It ranges from mild, with just a few whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples, to severe, with many spots and large, tender cysts. Sometimes the affected skin is tender to the touch, hot, or painful. Acne is caused by excess oil, hormone fluctuations, and dead skin cells that don’t shed properly. Certain carbs can elevate blood sugar, triggering acne. Genetics play a role, and smoking can trigger acne. Left untreated, back acne can result in scarring, low self-esteem, and depression. Fortunately, there are several different methods for treating back acne.

  • Benzoyl peroxide can be very effective. Use a foaming body wash with 5.3 percent benzoyl peroxide, leaving it on your skin for a few minutes to allow it to penetrate, then rinsing thoroughly so it won’t bleach your clothes or sheets. If you find you need a stronger formula, try one with 10 percent benzoyl peroxide. You can also use a medication containing benzoyl peroxide and/or salicylic acid.
  • Retinoid (adapalene gel) is also helpful. It’s especially effective when used in conjunction with benzoyl peroxide. The adapalene unclogs pores, allowing the benzoyl peroxide to work better. A lotion applicator can help you apply medication to your back.
  • A shift in habits can help prevent back acne.
    • Work out in loose-fitting clothes made of sweat-wicking fabric, washing them every time you use them.
    • Shower promptly any time you’ve done anything that causes you to sweat.
    • Be gentle with your skin, and don’t scrub it roughly or use harsh skin products.
    • Use oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic skincare products.
    • Don’t wear a backpack or use anything else that will rub against your back.
    • Refrain from picking or popping acne.
    • Use oil-free sunscreen to protect your face from harmful UV rays.
    • Change bed linens weekly to remove dead skin cells and bacteria from sheets and pillowcases.
    • Use fragrance-free products for your skin and your laundry.
    • Eat a healthy diet and don’t smoke.

If you have deep, painful back acne, or you don’t see results from your at-home treatment in about 6 to 8 weeks, visit your dermatologist. A dermatologist may prescribe stronger topical medications or may offer oral medications. Light therapies and chemical peels can also help treat acne, and in some cases, the doctor may suggest draining cysts or injecting nodules with a corticosteroid.

Whenever you need help caring for your skin, Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology can provide superior, professional skincare in a manner that’s practical, efficient, and compassionate. With over 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we offer a variety of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and licensed cosmetic service providers can give you the care you need in a comfortable, professional atmosphere. Call (801) 682-4715 or contact us through our website.