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Back Acne Treatment at Home

woman treating bacne or back acne

Breakouts are basically public enemy number one for so many of us as soon as puberty hits — and unfortunately, the struggle often doesn’t end with just the skin on your face. Breakouts can affect almost every part of your body, and body breakouts can prove more difficult to treat because of the friction and product-rubbing-off factors presented by clothing.

If your body or back breakouts are severe, you might be considering professional treatment to get your skin back on track. While visiting a dermatologist is always a good idea if you have a skincare concern, there are ways to address your back breakouts that don’t involve expensive professional treatments and peels.

Let’s talk about some home remedies and at-home treatments you can use to help get rid of back breakouts so that you know your treatment options before deciding on the best way forward!

What Causes Back Breakouts?

In general, there aren’t a ton of differences between the breakouts you get on your face and the breakouts you get on your back. So the reasons why you get breakouts tend to be pretty similar.

There’s the classic trigger — hormones.

Swings in your hormones can often trigger changes in your skin’s oil production and lead to breakouts, which is why breakouts are so common during your teen years. But puberty isn’t the only thing that can cause your hormones to fluctuate in a way that causes breakouts. Things like hormonal birth control, your menstrual cycle, and certain medical conditions can cause changes in your hormones that may lead to breakouts.

You’ve also probably heard that stress can cause breakouts. And while this isn’t exactly true, stress can impact your hormones, meaning the same hormonal shifts that cause your breakouts can be triggered by stress — and leave you reaching for a cardigan to cover up your open-back dress. 

Breakouts can also just be genetic. If you have naturally oily skin, you may be more blemish-prone — and if you have oily skin, it’s likely that at least one of your parents does too, and their parents before them, and so on. It’s not an ideal family legacy, but it’s good to know why your breakouts are happening!

There are also smaller things that can contribute to back breakouts. Breakouts can occur when you get a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, which can lead to clogged pores and, later, whiteheads and blackheads. If you aren’t using an effective cleanser, you can end up with impurities that get trapped in your pores and hair follicles, leading to unwanted pimples on your body and face. 

This can be especially true when it comes to your back, especially if you spend a lot of time in the sun — you may not think about cleansing your body the same way you think about cleansing your face. 

Still, sweat and sunscreen can build up and create a serious problem, especially if you’re already breakout prone!


And let’s zero in on the sweat part of that equation for a second. If you work out or just get sweaty during your day, it’s easy to put off showering for a little bit to catch up with your phone, watch a little TV, or even commute if you plan to shower after you arrive. But any time you spend sitting in those sweaty clothes, especially if it’s tight clothing, can irritate your pores and cause folliculitis — another significant cause of body breakouts. 

While folliculitis isn’t technically a breakout, it looks and feels much the same, so the two are frequently confused. These two problems respond to similar treatments, so while you might want to make a trip to the dermatologist for backup, the same steps in your skincare routine can help with both issues.

How Can You Take Care of Back Breakouts at Home?

While severe back breakouts may require the help of a certified dermatologist, there are some things you can do to treat back breakouts even without a dermatology degree. Some of these things are very simple changes you can make in your daily routine and habits!

Clothing Choices

It might be time to look into a new aesthetic if you're all about super-fitted workout sets. Loose-fitting clothing is the order of the day when it comes to how to get rid of back breakouts. One side effect of your spandex legging and crop top combo might be a top-notch selfie, but less desirable side effects can include back breakouts caused by friction and sweat, and blemish-causing bacteria getting trapped in your skin pores.

Make sure you shower immediately after working out, too! The less time you spend in sweaty clothes, the better.

Switch Bags

If you often carry a backpack, it might be time to consider a messenger bag or other tote. Wearing heavy backpacks can be too much friction on sensitive skin, leading to breakouts and skin irritation.

Diet Shifts

As with many areas of skincare, making small changes to your diet with the glycemic index in mind may help your skin overall

Low-glycemic foods can help prevent your blood sugar from rising too quickly, which can actually improve severe breakouts over time. That means addressing your overall wellness by choosing fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, beans and oats over white, starchy foods and sweets.

Natural Options

If you’re interested in natural remedies for your blemishes, you have several options available. Some essential oils, like tea tree oil, are thought to have cleansing and soothing properties, which can help ease your skin when it’s breaking out. 

In addition to these at-home remedies, there’s a wide range of over-the-counter skincare products you can use to make sure every type of blemish, whether it’s on your back or your face, isn’t a problem for you in the future.

What Skincare Products Should You Be Using?

Having a skincare routine for your face is common and important, but many of us forget to take care of the skin on our bodies, too. If you have a skin condition or back blemishes, it’s important to make sure your regimen is working hard to keep your skin happy and bright from head to toe. 

Let’s walk through a simple routine to keep you can use to get your back blemishes under control.

1. Cleanse & Exfoliate

If your backne is caused by congested pores — which is likely if you see a lot of whiteheads and blackheads — then exfoliating may be your new best friend. There are two ways to do this, as you probably already know: physical and chemical.

Generally, exfoliating just once or twice a week is sufficient. However, it’s always important to listen to your skin and proceed accordingly. If you experience irritation after exfoliating twice a week, trying scaling back to once a week. Alternatively, if your skin doesn’t seem to be benefiting from just once or twice-weekly exfoliation, you may want to try three times a week.

Additionally, cleansing properly is a key part of banishing back breakouts. While you may love your go-to body wash, if it isn’t designed to help clear up your skin, it may damage your skin. 

And, at the very least, it’s not helping.

Choose a cleanser that is gentle on your skin while still working to clear away impurities and grime. A cleanser with ingredients that are too harsh can end up stripping all of the moisture and oils out of your skin — which can actually make your breakouts even worse. 

It’s a common misconception that harsh cleansers are beneficial when it comes to addressing breakouts — the idea is that getting rid of the oils on your skin is good. However, your skin needs its natural oils in order to stay balanced and nourished, and stripping too much moisture can cause your skin to end up overproducing oil to compensate… potentially leading to clogged pores and breakouts.

Cleanse your skin thoroughly each day with a cleanser that is gentle enough to not irritate your skin, but purifying enough to clear away clogged pores.

2. Treat

After cleansing and exfoliating, it’s time for your post-shower routine. Just like you’d apply a serum as part of your facial skincare routine, you’ll also want to use some cleansing ingredients on your body before you moisturize to help break down your breakouts.

Opt for a lightweight, non-greasy, non-sticky formula that uses purifying ingredients to help minimize the look of dark spots, body blemishes, back breakouts and any other issues you may have with an uneven skin tone or texture.

Spot treatments are a great way to target your specific problem areas with potent formulas — without risking irritation on other areas of your skin. 

Spot treatments can sometimes even help reduce the appearance of blemish scars you may already have from your back breakout. Simply apply your spot treatment to clean skin, leave it on for the instructed period of time, and then wash it away. 

Make sure to always follow the instructions on the product packaging to avoid any side effects like skin irritation.

3. Hydrate & Protect

Just like with your facial routine, again! Finish off your breakout-banishing process by moisturizing thoroughly. Many ingredients that work to combat back breakouts are effective because they help dry up any excess oils that may be lingering on your skin and causing breakouts. But while this is good for your breakouts, it can have some negative side effects. 

Absorbing and clearing away these oils can leave your skin feeling dry. Worst case, it can cause redness and flaking — so even if these ingredients work long term, they can create a whole new issue for you in the short term. 

A lightweight moisturizer is perfect for controlling shine while keeping your skin nourished and hydrated so that everything stays balanced in order for your breakout to heal. The right moisturizer can hydrate and soothe your skin without clogging your pores.

It’s also crucial to protect your skin with at least SPF 30 if it will be exposed to UV rays during the day — ideally, your daytime moisturizer should include SPF.

Protecting your skin from potentially harmful UV rays is important for a wide variety of reasons, but it’s especially crucial when it comes to dealing with your back breakout. There’s sometimes a myth that the sun dries out your skin in a way that helps blemishes — but in truth, too much sun exposure can damage your skin and leave you with dark spots and blemishes you’d rather avoid. 

Make sure to apply SPF before heading out for the day, and consider wearing clothing with good coverage, such as long sleeves.

In Conclusion

Back blemishes can be a serious blow to your ego! Not to mention, any itching, irritation, pain or scarring you might experience as a result of back breakouts can be majorly uncomfortable. And while you probably know how to handle blemishes when they appear on your face, you may not know how to deal with body blemishes. 

There are some minor differences between the two, but long story short — all breakouts are basically the same when it comes down to it. There isn’t a magic trick for getting rid of them, but once you have a little knowledge and the right skincare products, you can turn your back on backne for good.

Aim to maintain a consistent routine with proper cleansing and exfoliation, and consider trying a spot treatment for particularly bothersome breakouts or problem areas. Finish off your routine with a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer, and be sure to apply SPF before heading outside for the day to protect your vulnerable skin. With the right TLC, you can banish your back breakouts — and the blemish scars that tend to come with them. 

By: Ivey Rogers Aesthetician Educator & Community
Engagement Manager

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