Little known tips for back acne

Let's face it, pimples can be a challenge to treat, no matter where you get them. Unfortunately, getting pimples isn’t limited to your teen years. Seems a little unfair, as we enter our 30's and 40's and think acne is behind us, but acne can happen at any age for a variety of reasons and can appear on any part of your body, including your back.

But, alas, it’s possible to clear up those blemishes. Here’s how:

What causes back acne?

There are many reasons people get acne, so it’s important to know why and how pimples form.

Your body produces an oil called sebum. It’s made in the glands connected to your hair follicles. Sebum moves up the hair follicles to add moisture to your skin and hair.

Pimples form when extra sebum and dead skin cells build up. This buildup blocks skin pores and bacteria. When the hair follicle wall swells out, it forms a whitehead pimple.  When the clogged pore gets exposed to air, blackhead pimples form.

Some common causes of acne are:

  • Genetics. A history of acne can run in your family.
  • Medications. Acne can develop as a side effect of some medicines like certain antidepressants.
  • Hormones. Hormonal changes in the teenage years are often the cause of acne. But for women past puberty, pimple outbreaks can be linked to hormonal changes that happen during menstruation and pregnancy or even PCOS
  • Sweat. Sweat, especially if it’s trapped under tight clothing, can make acne worse.
  • Stress. Stress isn’t a direct cause of acne, but it could be a contributing factor.

Some research shows that foods you eat could be linked to acne.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there is some evidence that certain carbohydrates (e.g. white bread, potato chips etc) known to increase your blood sugar levels can also contribute to acne. For some, dairy products might also be a trigger.

 Back Acne jacqueline Evans

Treatments for back acne

In most cases, you can help get rid of acne by making some lifestyle changes. Here are some things you can do to help get rid of back acne:

1. Shower after a workout

Letting the sweat and dirt sit on your skin after a workout can be a big contributor to back acne. Shower as soon as you can after a workout. You should also wash those sweaty workout clothes between sweat sessions.

2. Exfoliate

Use a gentle exfoliating scrub with ingredients such as coffee grains to remove extra dirt and oils from your skin. This can help reduce the amount of dead skin that could clog pores.

3. Wear loose-fitting clothing

Your workout habits can irritate back acne. For example, tight clothing can trap dirt and sweat and rub it into your pores. Working out with no shirt against a sweaty gym machine or on a dirty floor, can also cause problems.

Go for loose-fitting clothing that lets your skin breathe and helps wick away sweat.

4. Keep hair off your back

Long hair may be adding oil and dirt to the skin on your back, causing acne outbreaks. Wash your hair regularly, and put it in a bun or ponytail during sweat sessions.

Also, don’t allow conditioner or shampoo to run down your back. Ingredients in these products can contribute to clogged pores.

6. Choose sunscreen carefully

Protecting your skin from damaging sun is important, especially if you’re exposing your bare back. But greasy sunscreen can also contribute to clogging pores. Make sure to choose products that are light on the skin.

7. Eat healthy

Ever heard the expression “you are what you eat?” An unhealthy diet can affect our bodies in a variety of ways. If you’re prone to acne, certain foods could be triggers.

Research shows that foods high on the glycemic index (GI), meaning they cause your blood sugar to rise quickly, may make acne worse. These foods include white breads, white pasta and rice, and white potatoes.

It’s a good policy to practice eating a healthy, balanced diet with lots of:

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • lean protein
  • whole grains


Do you have back acne?  Did something help?  I’d love to know!  Please comment below so we can all learn from each other and support each other better.  I do love reading your comments. 

Jacqueline xo

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1 comment
  • Thanks so much for this article Jacqueline.
    My daughter is 17 and has pimples all over her neck and back. We don’t know what to do to help her!! I know diet makes a difference but we don’t know where to start …

    Ros on

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