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What's the Best Back Acne Treatment?

I HATE the back acne (backne) breakout i've had for too long. What really works best to get rid of back acne?  Is the back acne treatment the same as for facial acne?

Doctor Answers 16

Acne on the Back

Acne on the back can be difficult to treat with just topicals although most topical antibiotics and comedolytics (retinoids) do work for mild back acne. However, it is very difficult to consistently apply the medicine to the back and be weary as some topicals that contain benzoyl peroxide can bleach clothing and sheets.

Regarding backne, I would recommend seeing a dermatologist since over the counter medicine will typically not do the trick either. Prescriptions consisting of orals and topical antibiotics are often the most appropriate.

West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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Treating acne on the back

Acne on the back is difficult to treat because of the problem of physically reaching the affected area. It's impossible to reach all of the affected areas to apply a cream or lotion. That is why I always choose cleansers first in treating back acne.

I like cleansers with glycolic or salicylic acid. These help unclog the pores by exfoliating the top layers of skin, releasing the oil and debris that is trapped in the pores and also decreasing the likelihood that new clogged pores will form. When these treatments aren't enough, it may be best to try an oral antibiotic.

It is also important to remember to shower soon after exercise. If you are sitting around in sweaty clothes after your workout, the pores are more likely to get clogged and trigger a breakout.

Jordana S. Gilman, MD
Atlanta Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Back Acne treatments

Laser and light technology together with certain peels and injections, can clear existing acne blemishes and produce truly dramatic effects. You should be advised on the proper skin care mechanism to clear and control your acne, and can be prescribed both topical and oral medications. Once you eliminate active breakouts, laser treatments, dermabrasion and/or peels can erase any changes in skin texture and tone due to scarring.

Ava Shamban, MD
Santa Monica Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

... depends on how bad acne is- lotions or tablets, read more-

Bacne or back acne can be more resistant to treatment compared to facial acne. 

I will simplify treatments by suggesting 1. Topical  2. Oral 3. Topical and oral medication. 

OK, if you have mid acne you can try Benzoyl Peroxide 5% - trick is to leave on for 90 seconds before washing off. Another compounded solution is 5%-8% Sal acid in ethanol.

Looking at option 3 you can combine these lotions with antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. 

Last resort (or first choice if you acne is scarring) is Accutane (ISOTRETINOIN). For Bacne, you will require a longer treatment period, possibly up to 14-18 months. 

I hope this helps you....


Dr Davin S. Lim 
Cosmetic and Laser Dermatologist

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Best Back Acne Treatment

Back acne is very common however it is not treated as much because most patients aren’t bothered by it as much as facial acne. The treatments would be the same for the back as the face, the only difference being the back is generally less sensitive making stronger products necessary. They may be difficult to apply but topicals work great for back acne. Oral antibiotics have been the preferred choice of treatment because of their simplicity. Peels are also an excellent method of minimizing back acne as well as lightening any acne scarring. Resorcinol and Salicylic acid peels have worked with great success as well.

Back acne treatment

Some of the same acne medications can be used on the face and the back, but it is best to consult with a dermatologist to see which one is right for you. To start I usually recommend a trial of a 5% benzoyl peroxide wash for at least a month. If the wash does not help significantly there are many other acne treatment options whether it is for cystic, comedonal, or scarring acne.

Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Treatment for back acne.

Treating the back for acne can be difficult due to the location and need of regular application of prescribed treatment. Salicylic and Glycolic products are usually standard to clear up and prevent further break outs. Chemical peels are also a good alternative to use on the back due to the fact that the area typically is less sensitive than the face and may be possible to peel at a deeper level. Skin Medica's Vitalize and Rejuvenize would be a good peel for back acne.  It is aways recommended to seek a professional to determine the proper care for your skin. 

Back Acne Treatment

Back acne is treated in a similar fashion to facial acne.  Typically, a combination of oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics, and topical retinoids are used.  However, prevention is key for back acne.  For many patients, acne on the back is worsened by not showering immediately following exercise.  Sitting in this sweat enables the bacteria that cause acne to further linger on the back.  We suggest all our patients, at minimum, use a toner following working out or shower with a cleanser targeted to treat acne.  Your skin care provider can evaluate your particular condition and help develop the best treatment reigmen.

Aurora Badia, DO
Fort Myers Dermatologist

Back acne and Facial acne Treatments

Back acne and facial acne treatments are generally similar, however, the “spreadibility” of treatments for your back may make some usual, facial options unavailable (try getting that tiny tube across your entire back). So we like foams and large pads that can easily reach this larger, difficult to reach area. Also, back acne makes me start thinking about systemic options, like oral antibiotics and isotretinoin, not just topical fixes.

Bobby Buka, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Los Angeles Back Acne Treatment

Our office recommends chemical peels to exfoliate the back and reduce the likelihood of acne formation.

Raffy Karamanoukian MD FACS

Los Angeles

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.