Back Acne

Acne on your back is annoying and persistent. It can hurt your confidence and keep you away from the pool or beach. We discuss what back acne is, how it’s different than facial acne, and the best ways to treat it:


What is Back Acne?

The pimples on your back occur for the same reason as pimples everywhere else on your body: a combination of over-active oil glands and “sticky” pore openings lead to a clogged pore.

For a full explanation of the lifecycle of a pimple, click here. Some quick facts about back acne:

  • Back acne is more common in males, but occurs in both genders.
  • Approximately one fifth of all males experience some form of back acne.
  • Over half of all people who experience facial acne have some form of back acne.

How is Back Acne Different than Facial Acne?

The main contrast between facial and back acne is the size of the pore on the back. Pores on your back are much larger and produce more oil. This typically means they are harder to clog. However, it also means that when acne does form, larger and more inflammatory lesions are more likely to occur (like cysts and nodules).

The irritating combination of sweat, and clothes rubbing against your skin can be a major cause of your breakouts. It’s impossible to completely avoid any contact with your back, but being aware helps. Also make sure to shower regularly and find some time to let your back breathe some fresh air.

How to Treat Back Acne:

Mild back acne is usually treated the same way that mild facial acne is: with consistent application of topical over-the-counter products, most notably benzoyl peroxide. Moderate to severe back acne calls for systemic medication that can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. Typically benzoyl peroxide is combined with an antibiotic pill, like doxycycline or minocycline. Antibiotics regulate the levels of bacteria in your pores and also decrease inflammation, which is associated with more severe acne.

To get the best back acne treatments available, consult with a dermatologist. The doctor will create a personalized treatment plan for your skin-type and acne severity, and will usually recommend a combination of prescription medications. If you have any tips about how you conquered your back acne, leave a comment below!


Thiboutot, Diane, Harald Gollnick, and Vincenzo Bettoli. “New Insights into the Management of Acne: An Update from the Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne Group.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 60.5 (2009): S1-S50. Web. <>.

Fabbrocini, Gabriella, M. C. Annunziata, and V. D’Arco. “Acne Scars: Pathogenesis, Classification and Treatment.” Dermatology Research and Practice 2010 (2010): 1-13. Web. <>.

“Information and Treatments for Back Acne.” Back Acne., n.d. Web. <>.

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