What's with the Bacne?!

October 14, 2019

One of the biggest bummers of adulting is realizing that breakouts aren’t just for your face! One of the most difficult and most dreaded places that a breakout can occur is your back, or “bacne” in millennial speak. 

Acne flareups can be found anywhere you have oil-secreting glands or hair follicles, including your face, chest, back and shoulders. Like your face, your back has numerous sebaceous glands that secrete sebum. Clogged pores are generally caused by buildups of sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. Clogged pores become acne breakouts. 

Not all bacne is created equally, there are different types of breakouts commonly found on your back:

Whiteheads – form when a clogged follicle stays closed underneath your skin, forming a white bump.

Blackheads – form when the clogged follicle is located on the surface of your skin and is open, the black-tip is caused by a reaction the sebum has when exposed to the air (commonly misunderstood as dirt in the follicle). 

Pustules – the very visual term for pimple, characterized as a white or yellow pus-filled papule with a red base. 

Nodules – occurs when the acne lesion develops deep below the skin’s surface and hardens. Nodules are often large and painful.

Cysts – Larger, pus-filled acne lesions that are painful and can lead to scarring.

 Preventing bacne flareups can be more difficult than your face or chest due to it being an area that is more difficult to access. However, there are tips to help prevent future breakouts. While hormonal fluctuations and genetics are leading causes to bacne, environmental factors can also contribute.

Certain medications are known to increase acne as a side effect. If you are worried that a medication you are taking may be causing your breakouts, speak with your doctor or pharmacist right away.

Oil-based or heavy moisturizers or hair products can lead to clogged pores. When you’re in the shower, make sure to wash your back last, after your hair, to ensure all residue from your conditioner is washed off.

Sweaty clothes is one of the main culprits to bacne. Bras, sports bras, pressure from your purse strap or a backpack rubbing against your back can all cause breakouts. Avoid re-wearing bras and shirts that could be exposing the area to old sweat. 

If all else fails, a trip to your dermatologist is probably in order. A dermatologist will be able to identify the type of acne present on your back and prescribe a treatment plan.

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