Back Acne

Back acne is common in many men. The condition is first seen while in a gym or at a sports club and is a major source of embarrassment. Many wrestlers and athletes get severe outbreaks of acne on the shoulders and back. A combination of excess sweating, oily skin and rubbing of the skin against tight clothes has been known to aggravate back acne. In most of these individuals, back acne is always associated with acne of the face and neck area.

Most men will claim that the acne is unsightly and despite all basic skin care the condition appears to be getting worse. The back acne is typically worse during the hot weather. Back acne is generally more difficult to rid of and has been linked to genetic inheritance.

How does one treat back acne?

Back acne is treated with the same medications as facial acne, but because the sweat pores are much deeper in the back, the treatment durations are longer and the higher strength concentrations of the topical medications are required.

Self Care

One may use mild acids like benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid to cleanse the oily back skin. This must be done on daily basis for an extended period of time.

Wash the affected area with an anti-bacterial soap and avoid scrubbing the skin. The type of soap is not important. Washing and a gentle rinse twice a day should suffice. Washing removes all the dead skin and clears the oil on the skin.

One should avoid the urge to squeeze the pimples. Constant pinching of the pustules can lead to scars.

One should shower immediately after exercising or sweating. Changing sweaty clothes is necessary to keep the back area clean.

For those with back acne, one should keep the hair short and clean. Some recommend using a shampoo containing pyrithione zinc. The shampoo is coated on the back for a few minutes and then the skin is rinsed off.

Avoid the sun because sunlight can make acne scars worse.


When the above conservative measures fail, one must go and see a dermatologist. There are a number of medications used in the treatment of acne. Both antibiotics and Retinoids are excellent for moderate to severe acne. The earlier the acne is treated, the less is the chance of scarring. Any infected pustules on the back must be treated with antibiotics.

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