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Here's how to treat spots on your back to tackle bacne once and for all

Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Bye-bye back blemishes.

We've all heard of acne and how it can affect the skin on our faces, but what about bacne? Yes, breakouts are so common on the back and neck that the condition has been given it has very own nickname.

From one skinfluencer's 7-step skin clearing routine, to another's Accutane cure, to another's "skip-care" ethos, we're spoilt for choice when it comes to finding information on how to treat our acne.

We know what to do if our acne is hormonal, the specific ingredients to incorporate into our regimes, and the treatments to tackle acne scarring.

But when it comes to our backs, it's a problem we tend to ignore for most of the year - that is, until the warmer months roll around and we start reaching for those off-the-shoulder outfits and strappy summer dresses.

Really though, we shouldn't be waiting to treat acne - wherever it appears as neglecting the condition will only make it harder to treat in the long run.

The good news is simple tweaks to our daily personal care routines can make a huge difference and they're easier to implement than you'd think.

So if you're keen to address your bacne once and for all, here's what you need to know according to the skincare experts...

What is bacne (back acne)?

Bacne is acne that occurs (yep, you guessed it) on your back. It's exceptionally common and can appear as bumps, whiteheads, or blackheads as well as more severe cystic acne.

It's most likely to appear on the upper back and shoulders, since these areas contain the most sebaceous glands, but can occur anywhere on the body.

What causes bacne?

To prevent bacne from occurring or returning, it's important to know what causes it in the first place. "Similar to the causes of spots on our face, bacne is caused by excess sebum production, the build-up of dead skin cells, and bacteria", says dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk."

The skin on our backs is extremely thick so the potential for blocked pores is very high", she adds. "For those who are prone to spots, the accumulation of oil and dead skin cells in our pores creates an ideal environment for a particular bacterium called 'propionibacterium' acne to thrive. This triggers inflammation in the skin leading to angry red bumps and pus-filled spots."

In addition to this, there are lifestyle factors that can contribute to outbreaks, such as hormones and excessive sweating. "Body acne is more probable during the summer, if you work out regularly and if your skin is already acne-prone", says Julie Morris, Aesthetic Nurse, Effortless Skin.

This is because the bacteria that causes acne thrives in moist, damp conditions. It means keeping your sweaty sports gear on for hours is a recipe for problems. Even having long hair can cause bacne because the grease and oil from your lengthy locks and hair products can be deposited on your back. Grim.

Even so, there are simple steps we can take daily to help curb the problem – and we've put them together below.

7 top tips to clear up your bacne

Dr Justine Kluk shares her advice for treating back spots...

1. Wash your skin in the shower every day, using a loofah or wash cloth to help achieve a thorough cleanse.

2. Look for a body wash or body moisturiser containing the ingredients salicylic acid, glycolic acid or lactic acid and use an exfoliating scrub in the shower two or three times per week to prevent dead skin cells from building up and blocking your pores.

Murad Blemish Control Clarifying Body Spray, £36, contains menthol, salicylic acid and niacinamide to go deep within the hair follicles to remove blockages, and Paula's Choice 2% BHA Body Spot Exfoliant, £31, can be applied after cleansing to prevent blocked pores.

3. Shower as soon as possible after exercise. Bacteria loves warm, moist conditions so it is important to remove your gym clothes as soon as possible, especially bra tops and make sure skin is sweat-free and clean.

4. Wash bras after every wear (or every other wear at least). While we wouldn't dream of wearing the same pair of pants two days in a row, many of us fail to wash our bras regularly enough. However, if you're experiencing bacne, it's more important to make sure your bra is clean as bad bacteria can build up on the straps.

5. Whatever you do, don’t pick, squeeze or scratch your spots. This increases inflammation and can open up the skin to even more harmful bacteria, potentially causing infections. Plus, spots are more likely to result in scarring after they have been picked.

6. Change your sheets, pillow cases and towels regularly as these can collect oil, dead skin cells, bacteria and residue from hair, skin and body products if you're not changing them often.

7. If you’ve tried all of these things and are still struggling to get on top of your breakouts or are aware of developing scars, see a dermatologist who can advise you on prescription treatment.

This originally appeared on Glamour UK

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