There is nothing more terrifying than discovering a big, red pimple in the middle of your back, especially when bathing suit season is around the corner or you’re hoping to wear a plunging back line for a ladies’ night out.

Unfortunately, back acne is real and it affects almost everyone at some point in our lives, but what is it?

What is Back Acne?

It turns out that your face isn’t the only place you get acne. Your back can experience whiteheads, blackheads and every other form of pimple.

Back acne usually occurs when clogged skin follicles from a buildup of bacteria, dead skin cells or dirt. Most often they present as large red pimples, but whiteheads are fairly common too. And more often than not, they are painful.

What Causes Back Acne?

There are several reasons you could be experiencing back acne and understanding the root cause can actually help you fix it.

Back Acne Caused by General Acne

Acne, regardless of the location, is caused when pores are clogged. Your skin’s natural oil can’t escape and ends up allowing bacteria to flourish and the end result is inflammation. Depending on the depths of this inflammation will determine what sort of pimple erupts.

Blackheads and whiteheads are caused by mild inflammation, while big pustules and papules are a result of bacterial inflammation much deeper down – these are the pimples that feel super sensitive and painful.

Back Acne Caused by Sweat

Whether you’re sweating thanks to a killer workout or from general overexertion, sweat can cause back acne.

Sweat mixes with your skin’s oil and any toxins that may be on the outer surface, and if you don’t wash it off quick enough it can irritate your pores.

Back Acne Caused by Clothing and Materials

Your skin is incredibly absorbent and the materials it comes in contact with may be causing back acne.

Clothing that is tight or made from material that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe may be causing your back acne. It suffocates your pores, preventing it from letting bacteria escape.

The same goes with certain types of material. Your bed sheets and any other material that your back is exposed to for prolonged periods of time are common irritants. Unwashed couch cushions, car seats or bed sheets can absorb oil and dirt and create nasty back acne causing bacteria.

How to Prevent Back Acne

Preventing back acne is not as difficult as it may sound. In fact, there are some super simple ways you can prevent breakouts and they don’t take much effort on your part.

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not – we promise!

Take Regular Showers

Showering regularly is essential for a smooth, clear back. Showering with a mild body wash can help you wipe away the sweat, dirt and grime that can cause your pores to become clogged without irritating your skin.

Showering is especially important after you workout or sweat for any reason. Don’t allow the sweat to just hang out on your skin. It’s also important to shower if you’ve been wearing tight clothes or something like a backpack that has prevented your skin from breathing for extended periods of time.

Remember, a mild body soap is best so you don’t cause further inflammation or irritation.

Be Mindful of your Laundry Products

The products you use for your laundry may also be causing back acne. Scented laundry detergents or dryer sheets usually contain skin irritating ingredients and can dry out your skin, not to mention pore clogging oils.

Instead of scented laundry products, choose gentle, acne-safe ones. Look for laundry detergents that are free from Lauryl Sulfate or Laureth Sulfate.

Many brands labeled “clear” or “gentle” are typically safer than others. Flip that bottle around and have a good read of the label just to be on the safe side.

Avoid Comedogenic Skincare and Beauty Products

Just like with laundry Products, your skin care and beauty products can cause back acne because they may contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Other back acne causing ingredients include lanolin, petroleum and silicone also cause acne or skin irritation.

Identifying these ingredients is pretty simple, but if you ever have any doubt request a full list of ingredients from the manufacturer. Most manufacturer websites provide detailed lists, which is nice.

Avoid Certain Medications

There are certain medications that can exacerbate current back acne or increase your odds of getting it.

Medications that cause back acne include (but are not limited to) androgens, which are male hormone inducing drugs.

Lithium is another drug that causes back acne. Now we don’t suggest that you stop taking these drugs, especially if you need them. If you are experiencing back acne then we recommend speaking with your doctor and asking if there are any alternatives.

How to Get Rid of Back Acne Naturally

If you are sick and tired of suffering from nasty back acne breakouts then you’re probably looking for a few ways on how to get rid of back acne naturally.

Well you are in luck, because we have a few simple solutions.

Get Rid of Back Acne with Exfoliation

Exfoliating is the process of gently scrubbing away dirt and dead skin cells that are clogging your pores. Gentle exfoliation allows all the junk to be removed in order to allow fresh new skin to shine through.

When done regularly (and by regularly we mean weekly, not daily) you help strengthen and brighten your skin.

There are many different ways you can exfoliate. You can use a loofa, back brush, or exfoliating body wash with microbeads.

If you don’t have any of those on hand you can make an at home remedy for back acne exfoliation by combining baking soda and water. Using 1 part baking soda and 3 parts water, create a smooth, watery scrubbing paste.

If you can’t reach your back yourself, have a friend or your spouse gently massage it all over your back.

Exfoliation will help increase your circulation in addition to clearing up that back acne.

Clear Back Acne with a Body Spray

One of our favourite solutions to any acne problem is a DIY face spray or body spray. Acne sprays are perfect for when you’re on the go, or unable to hit the shower as soon as you’d like. They also help freshen up your skin when you’re starting to feel a little musty.

Our surefire back acne spray requires only 3 ingredients; tea tree oil, witch hazel and purified water.

In a travel sized bottle mix together 1 tablespoon of witch hazel, 10 drops of tea tree oil and then fill the remaining space with purified water. Make sure there’s a little room at the top so you can shake it up nice and good.

Before each use give your bottle a nice shake. Allow your skin time to soak in all the goodness.

Witch hazel is a natural toner and it helps hydrate your skin, rather than dry it out.

Tea tree oil is a common ingredient in many natural anti-acne products. It contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that kill back acne causing bacteria. It also smells fantastic.

Spot Treatment for Back Acne

Some people suffer from serious back acne breakouts, but if you’re battling a raging solo invader, then a spot treatment for back acne is all you will need.

Spot treatments allow you to treat only the affected area without drying out your entire back. And because you are only treating the pimple itself you can use stronger ingredients to really clear it up.

One of our favourite spot treatments includes 2 simple ingredients; crushed Aspirin and water.

Aspirin’s main ingredient is acetylsalicylic acid which happens to be great for exfoliating your skin. Aspirin itself, also helps reduce inflammation which can help alleviate redness and puffiness caused by your back pimple.

Making this spot treatment is as easy as it sounds. Simply crush up an aspirin and add water drop by drop until it’s a thick paste. Using your clean fingers, rub it onto your pimples and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

Products to Get Rid of Back Acne

Everywhere you turn you can find a new ad for an acne solution. There are creams, toners, cleansers and body washes galore. Price points vary from affordable to ‘break the bank’ and it’s hard to tell what will work before you buy.


Beautiful skin begins beneath the skin, which is why we love supplements for treating back acne.

Note: We always recommend consulting your physician before starting any new supplement.

Zinc for Back Acne

Zinc is important for fighting back acne because it helps your body reproduce skin cells. It also helps reduce inflammation naturally so whether you add zinc in supplement form or ensure you get it through a well-balanced diet, the benefits will be the same.

Probiotics are another supplement worth trying out. Probiotics help alleviate stomach discomfort and aid in the digestion of nutrients. When your body doesn’t absorb foods properly it can wreak havoc on your body and more often than not, your skin. Taking a probiotic daily can reduce your odds of a breakout.

Vitamin B for Back Acne

Vitamin B is quite possibly one of our favourite supplements. It has a whole host of benefits, and they aren’t just for your skin.

But since we’re talking about Vitamin B for back acne, it helps by reducing inflammation, improves immunity and preserves the integrity of your skin.

Magnesium for Back Acne

Magnesium is another mineral that helps fight back acne. It increases skin cell growth and boosts protein production, which are both essential for creating beautiful new skin.

Magnesium also helps balance out hormones that may be causing acne flare ups. On top of that it reduces inflammation.

Exposed Body Wash

If you’re looking for an all over body wash to keep back acne away then you definitely need to test out Exposed Body Wash.

Exposed Body Wash contains 3 anti-acne ingredients; salicylic acid, provitamin B5 and sage extract. Together they clear your pores, regulate your skin’s natural oil production and detoxify your skin.

You can purchase this body was on its own or in a kit. The kit comes with Exposed Acne Treatment Serum, which is an effective spot treatment, and their Derm-X body cloth for gentle exfoliation.

All in all it’s a great solution for preventing back acne and treating mild cases of it.

You don’t have to suffer from back acne forever. By combining some of the aforementioned solutions you can not only treat current back breakouts, but prevent future ones from coming.

Dish it — how do you handle back acne breakouts? Share your treatment hacks and experiences in the comment section below.

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