A dermatologist’s tips on getting rid of back acne for summer

back acne
By Elis Marcu 12th April 2021 Category: Advice

As restrictions are beginning to ease, the anticipation for Summer 2021 is rife. With the prospect of warmer weather and the opportunity to gather with friends and family, many of us are looking to swap our loungewear for summer clothes.

However, the idea of summer dressing can feel daunting to those who feel insecure about their skin. Back acne is a skin condition which can diminish confidence.

Back acne affects over 50% of acne sufferers and sometimes it can be difficult to know how best to treat it and when to expect certain results.[1]


Dr Daron Seukeran

sk:n clinics’ Medical Director Dr. Daron Seukeran, provides insight into back acne and realistic timeframes for getting rid of it.


Causes of back acne

The causes of back acne can be similar to facial acne. Acne on the back is caused by a combination of dead skin cells and oil blocking the hair follicle, causing whiteheads and blackheads known as comedones. Further inflammation and irritation can occur due to bacteria which is present on the skin.

acne formation

Additional causes include genetic tendency, hormone changes or external reasons such as bacteria, sweat or friction – all of which can lead to back acne. Surprisingly, certain medications, such as steroids or anti-epileptic medication, can also be contributing factors to acne on the back.

Can back acne be prevented?

If you are prone to acne on the back, it can be challenging to prevent it from developing. However, it could be useful to introduce exfoliating ingredients into your body wash (such as salicylic acid or lactic acid) as this will help remove dead skin cells and reduce blockage of your skin’s pores.

Following up with a non-comedogenic moisturiser will also help prevent your skin’s pores from becoming blocked.

To manage back acne, it is important you do not pick or squeeze your spots as this can result in skin scarring. The use of retinoids or topical treatments will help, but often an oral antibiotic or other forms of medication may need to be prescribed by a doctor or dermatologist. 

How to treat back acne

Unfortunately, back acne is not something which can be treated overnight, however, there are multiple at-home and in-clinic solutions to treat and manage it.

At-home remedies include the use of anti-bacterial washes, or washes containing acids, these can be bought over the counter. Benzoyl peroxide is also available over the counter, however, acne on the back can be stubborn, therefore in-clinic acne treatments could be more effective in tackling it.

If you can visit a dermatologist you’ll have more treatment options available to you. You can be prescribed benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, and, in some cases, the oral contraceptive pill to help to tackle back acne. If the acne is severe and starting to cause scarring, oral medication such as antibiotics are prescribed for a few months. 

Need help?

At sk:n, we have the largest network of acne nurses and doctors in the UK, who can help you discover better skin and regain your confidence. If you’re struggling with acne, find your nearest sk:n clinic today and book an appointment with our experts today!

[1] [1] ‘Acne’, NHS Inform, https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/skin-hair-and-nails/acne

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