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Dermatologist Treatments for Back Acne

Dermatologist Treatments for Back Acne Dermatologist Treatments for Back Acne

Back acne is a common concern for many people, and can be both embarrassing and uncomfortable. Back acne can vary in severity but has a higher susceptibility for serious acne cysts and nodules due to larger sebaceous glands being located on the back than on the face. Back acne can further be a problem due to an increase in "acne mechanica" cases, which is a form of acne caused by skin irritation, such as back pack straps, tight clothing and body sweat. Regardless of the cause, there are several treatment options available for the treatment of the condition.


The first line of treatment for back acne is topical medications. Topical medications can be both over-the-counter or prescription, depending on the severity of the acne. Ointments with salicylic acid are the most common form of topical treatment. Salicylic acid works by correcting skin cell shedding problems, helping to remove blocks from pores. Other topical medications include benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, sulfur and azalaic acid.


For more serious chronic cases of back acne, isotretinoin may be prescribed. Isotretinoin is a powerful retinoid. This retinoid is derived from Vitamin A, and according to the American Academy of Dermatology, is the only treatment method that targets all four main causes of acne formation, including bacteria, inflammation, abnormal skin cell shedding and sebum oil production. Isoretinoin is highly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of serious risks associated with the medication, including birth defects if used by women who are pregnant. For this reason, the FDA has put in place a monitoring system to insure safety while in use.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy can also be used for back acne. Laser therapy uses specialized laser technology that sends energy deep into the layers of the skin where the sebaceous glands are located. The sebaceous glands are responsible for producing sebum, and oil that when present in excess on the skin can mix with dead skin cells and from plugs in the follicles on your skin. The energy from the laser destroys these sebaceous glands, helping correct excess sebum production.

Light Therapy

Blue light therapy can also be used for the treatment of acne. Blue light therapy uses FDA approved equipment to produce a high-intensity blue light that penetrates the affected areas of skin on the back. The energy of the light is able to target and kill acne-causing bacteria beneath the skin known as Propionibacterium acnes.

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