Dear Joanna,

For the most part, I have fairly good skin on my face. I don’t break out super often, but I do get bad breakouts on my back. It’s embarrassing and it makes me very self-conscious. With summer around the corner, I need help! What causes it, how can I treat it?


The back has the same sebaceous glands that secrete sebum as the face. Sebum, along with dead skin cells, sweat, and bacteria, can build up in the hair follicles on your back (which are bigger than the ones on the face), clogging them and causing bacne.

Many fabrics including dirty bed sheets, towels, wool clothing, and workout clothes, can also be the cause for your bacne. Bacteria builds up on these materials and subsequently causes bacne breakouts when skin contact is recurrent.

Make sure everyday items that touch your body and face on a daily basis are washed regularly, as this will help prevent breakouts. I recommend changing your washcloths daily and washing your sheets at least once a week.

If you’re an athlete or have a crazy schedule where you can’t shower after a workout and wash the sweat, sunscreen or pollution off immediately, carry some cleansing wipes with you and wipe down your chest and back after your activities. This will help to clean out your pores and tide you over until you can get to a shower.

Also, try to wear more loose-fitting workout shirts or breathable fabric, so your skin can air out more easily. Tighter clothing will trap sweat and oil closer to your pores and hair follicles, clogging them in the process.

Bacne takes a bit more maintenance and time to treat than the face. For an at home treatment, use Environ’s Sebuwash as a cleanser, then apply Biologique Recherche’s P50 Corps, and BR’s Masque Bain de Plantes as a mask over the affected area. For professional treatments, back facials with Red and Blue LED lights will kill bacteria. Environ’s chemical peels will also help kill bacteria and improve the appearance of the back skin. Be patient, and soon enough, your bacne will be a thing of the past!

 


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