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 24

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
Washington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

What's the Best Back Acne Treatment?

Acne may appear on your back, chest, buttocks and thighs.

This kind of acne is usually triggered by excessive heat and friction from tight clothes. These conditions allow bacteria that reside on the surface of the skin to enter the hair follicles and sebaceous glands and cause infection and pimples.  

Back acne (backne) can be at least partially prevented by not using backpacks. These cause frictions and sweat that make your back acne worse. 

What can you do?

Tight clothes at the gym can keep all the sweat in and rub against your skin — causing you to break out. Instead, try to wear breathable clothing that wicks away sweat and keeps your body cool. Your beloved jeans are made from rough, thick cloth. Try to avoid them, especially in the summer!

Shower and change clothes after exercising!

When you exercise your skin is warm, which provides bacteria optimal growing conditions. Staying in your sweaty clothes can irritate the skin and trigger body acne and folliculitis which is the name for infected hair follicles. If you really can’t shower right away, at least use a baby wipe on most of your body and a cleansing wipe on your face (and anywhere else you’re breaking out).

If you have severe acne, change your sheets once a week and pillowcases once or twice a week.

The germs on your body and your hands get transferred to your pillowcase and then to your face. if you don’t sleep with a shirt on, the dirt from your sheets could clog up your pores and make your body acne worse.
Your hoodies and scarves are in close contact with your face and body. They frequently harbor dirt and bacteria.

Make sure you’re regularly washing all your clothes.

Treatment should be based on special anti bacterial cleansers, topical benzoyl peroxide and if these do not help oral antibiotics or Accutane.

For more info check the free MDacne app (Free download on Apple's Appstore). 

Yoram Harth, MD
Israel Dermatologist

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Treating Back Acne

This is a great question , and one that I never take lightly.

Body acne treatment can be as simple as a good salicylic wash and scrub . Note that many active wear clothing lines now promote "breathable" fabrics that wick perspiration. If your back acne is mainly blackheads, then consider treating the clogged pores with such changes.

If the lesions are inflamed, we often advise IPL laser treatments and consideration of oral antibiotics.

BBL Acne Treatment

Active acne can be treated with BBL(Broadband Light) Therapy by Sciton. The shorter wavelengths of BBL™(480 nm), in the blue-light spectrum, attack p-acne bacteria on the surface and in the sebaceous gland. Along with a home skincare program designed for acne-prone skin, you can experience significant long-term clearance. The treatment is simple, quick, pain-free, and requires no downtime. It is appropriate for mild to moderate acne. Hope this helps!

John W. Antonetti, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Back acne

Depending on the type of acne, their are various prescriptions that can be used. You can also have extractions and a chemical peel on the back to set you on the right track, which would be similar to face acne treatments.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Back Acne

The treatment of back acne is similar to facial treatments, except its more difficult to apply topical agents. The skin is thicker and usually requires a regime with more than one agent. You should schedule an appointment with an experienced dermatologist to evaluate you.

David J. Sire, MD
Fullerton Dermatologic Surgeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Best Back acne treatments!

The best back acne treatments include a combination of oral antibiotics and topical creams. This includes Doxycyclin, Minocyclin or even Keflex. Topicals include Benzoyl Peroxide Wash and Clindamycin lotion. I also recommend Accutane. Dr. Behnam.

Ben Behnam, MD
Santa Monica Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Backne treatments

Acne on the back or backne, can be very difficult to treat.  The easiest way I usually start with benzoyl peroxide wash in the shower, topical creams, and often oral antibiotics.  Chemical peels help a lot.  In severe cases, isotretinoin is sometimes used if its a cystic scarring type of backne.  We also do Isolaz acne treatments on the back and occasionally Photodynamic therapy.  There are lots of ways to treat backne, get to a great board certified dermatologist to help you. 

Rebecca Baxt, MD
Paramus Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Back Acne

A rose by any other name is still a rose.

Acne on the back is still acne.

And from your language, it looks like you might be headed for an unrealistic expectation as in "get rid" of acne.

It's probably wiser to think in terms of making the acne condition "better."

I'm not going to name products because every patient is different and the way they are treated should be tailored to them.

The one suggestion I will make is that if you are a student or work sitting for hours during the day, you seek out some kind of cushioning that lessens the pressure from the back of your chair.  Acne can flair in those areas -- athletes see it under chin straps and shoulder pads.

See your doctor for the appropriate treatment.

Michael A. Greenberg, MD
Elk Grove Village Dermatologist
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 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.