Unfortunately, pimples or acne do not limit themselves only to the face. It is not rare that, as soon as the face acne clear off, they appear again on other parts of the body. A person who is prone to pimples on the face is more likely to have them on other parts of the body as well.
Aside from the face, pimples can appear on the back, chest, neck, shoulders, and upper arms. Those on the back may be the worst, because they are hard to reach and therefore hard to treat.
Causes of back and body acne
Acne on the back, sometimes called “backne”, are caused by the same factors as the acne on the face. Those factors include overactive oil glands, excessive dead skin cells and overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria.
Acne develop around follicles. Follicles can get trapped by excessive oil and dead skin cells, as well as by dirt and debris. When this happens, a blackhead is formed, and if it gets infected by bacteria, it becomes acne.
Body pimples usually appear on upper parts of the body, like back and torso, because those parts have more sebaceous glands, just like the face, so the probability of a follicle getting clogged is higher.
It is not likely that wearing clothes aggravates the back acne or contributes to their flare-up, but some fabrics, like lycra and wool do promote sweating and this the irritation of the area. Also, clothes and items that cause friction, like backpacks, purse straps, bra straps, tight-fitting clothes and athletic pads can aggravate the acne.
Treating back acne
Since the follicles get clogged with excessive oil but also from the dirt and debris, it is vital to have proper hygienic habits. Showering daily is imperative, and it is recommended to use loofah or a shower puff. However, if the acne on the back are already flared up, they should not be irritated and it is recommended to use antibiotic soap and cleansers that contain salicylic acid and to make a gentle lather. It is also important to rinse the lather thoroughly, otherwise it will dry up and form debris.
A well-balanced diet, plenty of water and exercise can reduce problems with back acne. Foods with high fat content, like greasy, deep-fried food and snacks, as well as sugary snacks, are better avoided.
Exercise can help prevent acne but strenuous exercise can actually aggravate the problem. For some people, like professional athletes, it is not possible to cut down on exercise so for them it is important to shower after working out or practicing.
The back should be completely dry before putting the clothes on. If the back is exposed to the sun, it should be protected with sunscreen.
Clay masks and scrubs can clean the pores and remove dirt and excessive oils.
Inflamed acne can be treated with anti-inflammatory ointments, antibiotics, topical retinoids and with cortisone injections.