Bad Back Acne
Back acne is similar to other forms of acne in that it usually starts around puberty when hormones become active, but it can start later in adulthood as well. Back acne can appear in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, pustules or cysts, and can be found on the back and sometimes on the buttocks. Cysts, which are deeper, are the worst form of acne and may cause scarring. Treatment for back acne is similar to other types of acne.
Acne, or pimples, form when the sebaceous glands produce too much oil, clogging pores and hair follicles, then bacteria accumulates around the area and acne begins to form. Skin irritation, such as wearing tight clothing or carrying heavy backpacks, appears to play a role in making back acne worse. If your parents had acne, there is a good chance that you'll have it as well, as it tends to be genetic.
What You Can Do
Try to prevent perspiration by wearing cooler clothes. Shower after strenuous activity, using an anti-bacterial cleanser or an anti-acne soap. Gently pat your skin dry with a towel; never rub hard as this can aggravate your acne. If a shower is not possible, at least wipe any perspiration from your body and change your clothes to get rid of excess perspiration on your skin. Try to avoid skin irritations.
Over-the Counter Treatments for Back Acne
Using an acne medication containing at least 10% benzoyl peroxide is one of the best methods for treating back acne. Many benzoyl peroxide medications can be purchased over-the-counter, but if a greater strength is needed, it is available with a prescription. Benzoyl peroxide is often used in combination with alpha-hydroxy products for exfoliation, which helps shed dead skin cells on the back.
Prescription Treatments for Back Acne
If over-the-counter medications aren't effective, you should see a dermatologist. There are a number of prescription medications available, including oral and topical antibiotics. Retinol, which is a derivative from vitamin A, is a good medicine for back acne as it speeds up the generation of new skin cells. Oral contraceptives can be used in treating women with severe back acne. Many medications are used in combination with other forms of treatment to get the best results.
Back Acne Myths
It is not true that back acne is caused by your lack of cleanliness. Acne is not caused by dirt---it begins with an excess of oil building up beneath the skin. In fact, scrubbing too hard or too often can make your acne worse. There is no evidence that eating certain foods, such as chocolate or soda, will cause acne or make acne worse. Acne is not contagious---you cannot catch it from someone else.
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