Swimsuit season brings a new wave of embarrassment for those with bacne. No one wants back acne, but at least at other times of the year, you can hide it. But, in the heat of the summer, what do you do?
It's time to treat it. And to treat it effectively, we need to first understand why it's there.
What Causes Back Acne?
If you want to find an acne treatment that works, you have to figure out your specific back acne causes. First, determine if your breakouts are actually acne. Those bumps on your back may be something different.
If you see breakouts start when the temperature rises, you may have an infection in the hair follicles known as a “heat rash”. Heat rash also comes from regular workouts when your body temperature rises and you’re wearing sweaty clothes. These bumps pop up with the presence of yeast — which thrives in heat and sweat. And if you’re dealing with breakouts caused by yeast, acne medications won’t help.
Hormone therapy also triggers back breakouts. People with bacne are often taking testosterone, which causes large cystic acne spots.
You also could be dealing with regular acne. If you’re not on hormones, and you notice back breakouts no matter the season or how much you work out, you probably have acne.
A dermatologist will help you find the real cause of your back acne. Then, with the right diagnosis, you can start an effective treatment.
How to Prevent Breakouts on Your Back
If you notice your breakouts get worse with the heat, you’re probably dealing with heat rash, not acne. So stay in a cool, dry environment. But if you work outside in the DFW heat, make sure to shower regularly and change shirts throughout the day to keep the yeast from multiplying.
The same rules apply to workouts. Change your clothes immediately after a high-sweat workout and shower as soon as you can to cleanse the skin.
If you think your hormone therapy is triggering the breakout, cut back on your medication. A lower dosage may make a big difference.
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How to Treat Back Acne
If you seem to have acne, a dermatologist can help get you on a routine and medication that will clear up your back. We usually recommend using a benzoyl peroxide wash on your back regularly.
Bacteria need to live in the pores without oxygen. They can’t grow in the presence of oxygen. Benzoyl peroxide puts oxygen into the air follicle to kill the bacteria. So, with regular washing, you reduce the bacteria that live in the pores.
Also, depending on the severity of your breakouts, we’ll prescribe both topical and oral antibiotics, and we may recommend using Retin-A to topically treat your back breakouts.
But don’t wait too long to treat your back acne. Bacne can leave scars, and big cysts can leave large keloids (raised scars) long after the acne has cleared.
So, to avoid long-term consequences of a hopefully short-term problem, visit your dermatologist as soon as your back starts to break out. They’ll get you cleared up so you can put back acne behind you.