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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 (13)

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

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 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 10 reviews

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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. 

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
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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 47 reviews

Back Acne


Most back acne needs a pill - a systemic antibiotic - along with good topicals. We use a lot of lasers and light therapy now, including the Solta Isolaz and the Palomar (Cynosure) Acleara. Both are pulsed light treatments with vacuums to make the acne lesions respond faster. Blue light therapy can also be helpful.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Acleara procedure may help you


You may try Acleara treatments for your back acne.  It combines a vacuum with pulses of specially-filtered light to help clear your pores and treat acne breakouts.  The Acleara device is cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration to treat a wide range of acne in all skin types.  You may immediately notice that your skin is drier, less oily, and feels fresher.  Current acne breakouts usually will begin to clear up over the next two days.  You may also combine it with topical salicylic acid peels and/or  benzoyl peroxide lotion.  Results are often satisfactory.

Gregory Turowski, MD, PhD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
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Acne - The perfecta laser can be a wonderful treatment for acne


The ideal acne treatment may be different depending on the individual. In my Raleigh, NC medical spa and laser center we incorporate a combination of treatments including the perfecta laser which is a wonderful treatment for acne. It can quickly heal acne and the redness and irritation that accompanies acne. 

Peels or microdermabrasion can help with acne and of course the correct home care products. 

Visit a plastic surgery medical spa with multiple lasers, including the Perfecta Laser and skin care treatments for the best consultation

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
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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.