Annoying at best and painful at worst, waking up to find a smattering of angry red pimples across your back is never fun. You probably have a well-honed plan of action for a breakout on your face, whether that’s using expensive salicylic acids or applying a DIY dab of toothpaste. But you might not be so sure how to get rid of back acne.

If you have acne on your back – or ‘bacne’, as some people call it – and lots of people do have it, you don’t have to hide away until it clears up naturally. We spoke to experts to get their top tips on how to get rid of back acne.


What causes back acne?

Asian woman having acne , dark and red spots on her back

First, you need to understand what causes these breakouts in order to find out how to get rid of back acne best in your case.

“Body breakouts are mainly caused by the effect of hormones on the sebaceous glands. These are small oil-producing glands attached to hair follicles,” says Dr Susan Mayou. She’s a consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic. “Most people don’t realise that the highest concentration of sebaceous glands in the body is actually on the facial T-zone and the back.”

Mayou says acne on the body is formed in exactly the same way as facial acne. However, the skin is much tougher on your back, so the pores are less flexible and might be more resilient to home treatments.


View this post on Instagram



✖️“How do you have the confidence to wear things that show your bacne?”⁠✖️ I get this question a lot and I truly wish I could give you 3 clear steps to “get there”⁠⠀ ✖️My truth is that I don’t think “gee woza love this” and go out and rock it⁠⠀ ✖️There are times that I’ve used concealer on my shoulders and that’s ok⁠⠀ ✖️Most of the time, however, I don’t really care⁠⠀ ✖️The people in my life also don’t care⁠⠀ ✖️They see through the scars or they just don’t even really notice⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ 〰️The most important factor for me, and this is when my stubborn streak is really helpful, is that I refuse to not do the things I love, wear the things I like out of fear.⁠⠀ 〰️Out of fear of what someone MIGHT think or worse, my own judgment.⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ ✖️I don’t think it’s realistic to expect people to LOVE the way they look every day. I definitely don’t.⁠⠀ ✖️But mostly I practice caring less and focusing on all the jillion other way more important and interesting things in my life⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ #bacne #acne #acnepositivity #skinpositivity #takecareofyourskin #hormonalacne #adultacne⁠ #iamwellandgood #healthyish #wellness #intuitiveliving #raiseyourfrequency #spiritualgangster #wellnessblogger #mindfulliving #beherenow #buzzfeedhealth #healyourself #thejoysquad #longrunpresets #thenewhealthy #mindfulness #makesmewhole #healthyhappylife #wellnesswithoutobsession #realtalk #naturallyyou

A post shared by georgie ☽ nantucket, ma (@georgiemorley) on


“Back acne is a real thing, and even something like not showering post-workout can cause breakouts, due to excess sweat and bacteria,” says Pam Marshall, clinical aesthetician and founder of Mortar & Milk.

Marshall, who is known as ‘the acne whisperer’ in certain skincare circles, says practising good hygiene is the number one thing she tells her clients to do. This is one of the most effective ways for them to keep their backs pimple-free.

“The skin on the back is thicker, so it’s important that people are proactive by showering right after a sweaty gym class,” she stresses. Likewise, cleaning your workout mat and chucking your gym kit straight into the wash after use can help to keep your back clear too.

How to get rid of back acne

It can be tempting to slather your back in drugstore spot treatments, but skin experts say this might actually aggravate the problem further. “I personally don’t always recommend that clients use the same products as I recommend for their face,” says Marshall.

The first step is to eliminate lifestyle decisions that can contribute to the issue. “This could be anything from not showering after a workout, to not changing your bed sheets often enough,” Marshall explains.

What treatments are there?

If that doesn’t make a big enough difference, the skincare expert says she will use Clinisept, available on Amazon. Clinisept is an antimicrobial spray which will combat any excess bacteria on your back.  “When the back is cystic, I might use an AHA cleanser and then Clinisept, although I never introduce an AHA cleanser for the face, as it’s too aggressive.”

Where appropriate, she also advises her clients to adapt their diet too. “Whey protein, for example, will trigger androgen stimulation, so I often remove protein shakes from meal plans.”

Exfoliating in the shower once per week can help reduce body breakouts, as it can remove dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells. We recommend PraNaturals Brown Sugar Body Scrub, available on Amazon. It’s a gentle scrub containing brown sugar and natural oils from an ethical brand.

Mayou also suggests avoiding heavy moisturising creams, fake tans or perfumes, as these can further clog the pores.

“Everyone has different hormone fluctuations, different diets and different lifestyle patterns, and that’s key here,” says Marshall, who believes identifying the triggers for your acne is an important step.

“If individuals are not responding to home treatments for body breakouts, prescription medication may be necessary,” adds Mayou. “The first option would be topical medication, or retinoids in the form of creams, gels and lotions to help unclog the pores in the skin.”

Overall, it’s advisable to see a dermatologist if your back acne persists, as they can discuss your individual skin concerns and ensure the best treatment for the issue.

You may also be interested in…

This article may include affiliate links to products and services where we may receive a small fee to support the running of this site if you make a purchase or is a sponsored article from one of our select editorial partners providing valuable advice and information to our readers.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.