Updated: Dec 6, 2021
No pun intended, but I really do have your back. It is my absolute pleasure to help you achieve clear skin and if it calls for adding a service and a blog to treat bacne, I absolutely will. I have had more than enough people ask me to help with their back blemishes and imperfections, so it was time to take action, hence this blog entry and new service!
Skin can be so challenging since there are so many influential factors; and unfortunately, the back is no different than the skin on our faces. Blemishes can show up on the back due to the same factors that generate facial acne. Together we will learn or re-learn about all the factors that can influence the skin PLUS a few other things that can be causing your back acne to be a little bit different than your face acne.
It does not seem that bacne has a type…What I mean by that is a person with a perfectly clear complexion on their face can have back acne, and a person with acne on the face can also suffer from back acne… so back acne does not seem to care who it will target!
Let’s talk about the factors that contribute to acne. These factors can induce a pimple anywhere on the body! Did you know that people can even get pimples on their scalps and their bums!? So, here are a few things to do or avoid, in helping your acne or blemishes regardless of where it is on your body.
Using the correct products or simply changing up your products is a great first step. Acne can be a hard thing to balance, control and treat. Often times acne products are exceptionally drying to the skin causing dry painful patches that either leaves scales, scarring, or the disruption of the skin creates more blemishes. This is where using a gentle gel or acne cleanser, and having a good serum or moisturizer is imperative to treating acne without stripping the skin too aggressively. In regard to your back it could be as simple as changing up your body wash. Look for a product that is non comedogenic, does not contain any palates, parabens, fragrances or silicones! Finding a product free from those carcinogens and pore clogging ingredients will be a great start! You could also consider purchasing a body cleanser that has salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid formulated within the cleanser. These acids help immensely; my tip to you if you do invest in a cleanser with these properties or ingredients is to lather the product and let sit on the inflamed area for a moment. This is so the ingredients actually have a chance to activate. If you apply the product and quickly rinse it off, it is not effective, and you are just pouring dollars down the drain. Another tip you can try is to try a new shampoo and conditioner that has cleaner ingredients or hair products that are anti-fungal. Another option if you don’t believe your hair product is the issue when washing your hair (if you have long hair) pull your hair to one side of your body. This avoids all the products to stream and rinse down your back. If you have short hair and you have a removable head in your shower bending over and using that is also a fantastic solution.
If you hydrate/moisturize your body or have someone help you apply moisturizer to your back try to stay closer to a lotion verses a cream. Lotions are much lighter and absorb quicker as they are formulated with less oils, which means pores clog less. This is important in regard to your body sunscreen as well! Elta MD is my favourite brand in terms of SPF. They have a wide variety of facial SPF options and a brilliant body SPF! Elta MD SPF is available for retail in store! This product line is a sunscreen brand that is specifically formulated for skincare professionals, doctors and dermatologists. It is oil free, chemical free and non-comedogenic
Your back, like your face, has sebaceous glands which produce oil. The sebaceous glands can over produce oil which would likely cause more back blemishes. Hormones and spiked blood sugar levels are big indicators of sebum production being more prominent. If you know you have imbalanced hormones, or irregular blood sugar, or even if you suffer from an oily facial complexion; it could be quite plausible your oil production on your back is unbalanced as well. Since our back is hard to properly clean and get to, oils will sit on the skin longer than they potentially would on your face. Your skin cells still shed on your back but again, with it being a hard to get place, the mix of skin and oil can absolutely cause blemishes. The best thing to try and control this is to get a back loofa or dry brush that can reach that area for you.
There is no doubt that what you consume influences your overall health and trickles into the influence of skin health. The healthier you eat, the better nutrients your body absorbs, the less stress it puts on the body, the healthier and happier the skin! Eating a non-inflammatory diet is always recommended. I always encourage clients to live an 80/20 balance. This means 80% of the time avoid dairy, sugar, gluten and alcohol and 20% of the time you can indulge. A healthy lifestyle and eating healthy is always a good idea. Consider eating well for more than just your skin. If you have further questions, want recipes or more information how I can further coach you on this let’s get in touch! I am beyond happy to help influence your health.
More factors that are more influential specifically to bacne are as follows:
Depending on the clothing you wear, this could be contributing to your back acne!! The severity of the blemishes can depend and potentially spread based on the materials you are choosing and the tightness of the article of clothing. For example, a tight cotton shirt (especially if gets sweaty from a hot summer day) can trigger inflammation. The cotton holds the sweat and bacteria pressed against the skin which can cause reactions. Workout shirts are also in this category. It is best if you can wear light, breathable, loose workout shirts, so there is less contact and ability for bacteria to manifest. Leggings are another example that can trigger inflammation on the bum or upper thighs, the same reasoning from above contributes to this. If you struggle with bacne or body acne, consider wearing lighter loose clothing to help subside your inflammation.
On the same topic as clothing, be mindful of the detergent you are using to clean your clothes (even your bed sheets and towels) this could be a simple fix. Detergents can be too astringent and stay in the fabrics which then are rubbed onto the skin. Potentially this could be something new to try. Remember to be cleaning your bedsheets/pillow cases and towels frequently!
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by abnormal increased sweating; commonly influencing the palm of the hands, underarms, face, neck, back groin and bum. Of course, if you are struggling with over production of sweat on these areas it could be plausible that it increases blemishes or the chronic severity of acne. Of course, using proper product, eating healthy and consulting a doctor are all strategies you can explore. I have also heard that Botox in these areas will help paralyse some of the sebaceous glands controlling the oil production.
In addition to the previously listed factors, other reasonable considerations that can contribute to acne are antibiotics or a supressed immune system and the use of steroids; so please be mindful of these factors as well. Typically, less common, but still factors to be aware of.
So, although there are prominent similarities between facial acne and back acne, you likely are noticing that your bacne is characterized differently such as appearing more like heat rash or blisters. You may even recognize that how you treat your facial acne, does not work on your back acne. Let’s explore this a little more:
‘P bacteria’, the technical term is called Propionibacterium. Propionibacterium (pronounced “pro-pee-ah-nuh-back-teri-um”) is the bacteria that is a tiny microbe that lives in the oily regions of the face causing inflammation and breakouts within the facial skin. Although this bacteria can affect the back, it is more common to affect the face. Pityrosporum which is the bacteria that triggers back acne is a different type of bacteria, again this bacteria affects other areas of the body, but is more prominent on the back, scalp, thighs, groin and bum. Pityrosporum, (pronounced “pit-tree-oss-pre-um”) is actually a yeast infection known as Malassezia (mal-a-stesia) which also is the culprit to other skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis and folliculitis. So, the takeaway from all these fancy words means simply this:
The skins thickness changes around the body due to what area of the body it is serving and protecting. The thinness and/or thickness of the skin allows for bacteria to manifest differently. Different areas of the body also are more susceptible to specific bacteria. Therefore, when bacteria is introduced to the face, the facial skin is much thinner, which allows for inflammation to spread around. This also means blemishes would surface rather quickly due to the thin surface and harmful bacteria. A back for example, has a much bigger surface area than the face and the skin is thicker. The bacteria would have more opportunity to be dormant and spread causing sporadic inflammation over longer, more stubborn time periods. Although still creating blemishes and inflammation the sources can be different which can cause for more of a complex treatment plan. Sometimes what is known to help acne on the back are products that are based with salicylic acid, aloe vera, omega 3’s and even zinc.
In light of all this, as clients continued to reach out and my research expanded, I created a treatment in order to help those fight blemishes on their backs! I don’t want anyone to feel self-conscience of their bacne and think this isn’t normal, because let me tell you; you are not the only one that suffers with bacne. I have decided to offer the Custom Bacial, this service is like my custom facial, just on the back! What this means is that I will customize the treatment based off what I believe the skin needs at that moment, to help eliminate and treat the bacteria and inflammation, but also the treatment will include product to calm, sooth and hydrate the potential painful and obvious inflamed areas.
I am so thankful to continue to learn and add more services to my menu! I am hopeful I can help those clients feel good about their skin all around. Although, bacne it is of great frustration to those who have inspired this new service and this blog; I do thank you for always giving me opportunity to learn and grow and coming to me for advice and assistance. I hope this can help comfort you and serve you!