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 22

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

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 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 9 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 43 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.