Bacne: The Lowdown on Those Pesky Pimples on Your Back
During my mid-teens, I vividly remember discovering breakouts just below my shoulders, and freaking out, because I’d never heard of spots that appear on your back before. I felt embarrassed, and confused, because now not only did I have to deal with face acne, but also the infamously titled “bacne”. There weren’t many resources online telling me what was happening, and I felt too ashamed to reach out to anyone I knew personally about the problem, so I just suffered in silence, hoping each day that the problem would eventually go away on its own.
Back then, I would have really appreciated some words of comfort, telling me that what I was experiencing was common, and it didn’t necessarily mean that I was different or unclean, compared to your average teen.
So, what exactly is back acne, and why does it develop in the first place?
Like acne that appears on our faces, “bacne” is usually the result of a buildup of excess oil, dirt, bacteria, or dead skin cells clogging our pores, resulting in red bumps, sometimes with accompanying white or blackheads. In cases of cystic and nodular acne, cysts and nodules may also appear. A flare up on our backs can occur due to hotter weather causing us to sweat more, or certain items of clothing trapping our sweat during or after strenuous activity. Although anyone can experience back acne regardless of age and gender, it tends to be more common in teenagers and young adults, and to those assigned male at birth.
Other factors that may make you more likely to experience spots on your back include genetics, activity level, choice of clothing, and hormonal levels. Stress and anxiety can also cause flare-ups in acne, due to a rise in cortisone levels.
Treatment - the dos and don’ts
of handling bacne
If you are experiencing breakouts on your back,
Shower and clean your body regularly.
Change into clean, fresh clothes after showering/bathing.
Use clean linen and regular change your towels and bedding.
Try to manage the stress you endure on a day-to-day basis.
Try to squeeze or pop your spots, as this will increase risk of scarring.
Use heavy clothing accessories, such as sports pads, or bulky backpacks, if at all possible.
Overexpose yourself to UV rays from the sun.
In the case of scarring, 47 Skin offers an Anti-blemish and Scar Repair range that helps reduce the appearance of spots and blemishes, as well as the lasting marks they leave. The Silver Chitoderm in our products aids the regeneration of skin cells, and supports the skin’s structure.
Like acne anywhere on the body, “bacne” can be irritating, and may cause you to feel self-conscious. It’s important to remember however that it’s not unusual to experience the odd breakout, and that you should love your skin regardless of flare-ups.
A number of universally loved and admired celebrities have opened up about their own personal experience with back acne, demonstrating just how common the condition is.
Dancer and actress Maddie Ziegler recently took to social media to discuss her struggles with back acne. Posting on her Instagram stories earlier this year, she wrote “I have had back acne for over two years on my back. It’s a bacterial/yeast problem. I do all the things and it won’t go away and I’m VERY insecure about it.”
Having appeared on Dance Mom’s, Ziegler’s experiences with her skin growing up have been well-documented, and she’s regularly maintained a candid attitude about her insecurities, choosing to share her vulnerabilities with her millions of fans. In 2018, she mentioned during a video titled “Get ready with me” that she was noticing spots on her chest, calling the flare-ups “annoying.”
It can be easy to feel embarrassed about acne on parts of the body that perhaps we wouldn’t expect it, however it’s important to remind ourselves that it’s not something to be ashamed of, and that even those that appear glamorous and picture-perfect experience these kinds of struggles too.
If you feel as if your back acne is more bothersome or persistent than you would perhaps deem normal, it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor or dermatologist, in order to potentially explore other avenues of treatment besides the tips listed above.