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What Causes Blackheads on Your Back?

What Causes Blackheads on Your Back? What Causes Blackheads on Your Back? What Causes Blackheads on Your Back?

Acne is a common skin condition that most people experience. One of the first signs of acne consists of comedones, more commonly referred to as blackheads. Blackheads begin when natural oil from the sebacious glands, called sebum, combine with dead skin in the follicle to cause soft plugs. These plugs can occur anywhere on the body in proximity to a sebacious gland, including the back. Blackheads on the back can be caused by several factors.

Abnormal Hormone Levels

One major contributing factor to the formation of blackheads on the back are abnormal hormone levels, specifically a type of hormone known as androgens. Although produced in larger numbers by the male testes, androgens can also be produced in women through the adrenal glands and ovaries. When these hormone levels increase, sebum production increases, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Excess sebum can increase the production of blackheads. Abnormal androgen levels are common during puberty, pregnancy and menopause.

Tight Clothing

Wearing tight clothing that consistently rubs against the skin can also contribute to back acne. Tight clothing increases friction on the skin and traps moisture and sweat against the body. This action irritates the skin follicles and increases the chances of comedone formation. Tight backpack straps can also irritate back follicles.


Certain medications may increase your chances of developing blackheads. Medications such as corticosteroids and anabolic steroids are used to decrease inflammation, cancer recovery treatments and muscle building. A side effect of these medications is an increase in androgens. These androgens increase sebum production, resulting in a greater risk for blackhead formation.


Your genetics can increase your propensity for developing blackheads on the back. Having a father or mother who has experienced problems with acne increases your risks for struggling with acne as well, states the Mayo Clinic. Your genetics control many factors that contribute to blackhead formation including the rate in which skin cells shed, how much sebum your body produces and the level of androgens your body produces.

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