My Back Has Acne, Help?

If you have acne on your back—or “bacne” as some people call it—you don’t have to wait for it to clear on its own. Treatment and the right skincare can help you see clearer skin more quickly.


You may even be able to clear your back on your own.

Who can treat back acne at home?

You may see clearer skin from treating it yourself if you:

  • Have a few blemishes on your back (mild acne)

  • Developed back acne recently

  • Have a mix of whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples on your back, but nothing that’s painful or goes deep into the skin (moderate acne)

Anyone who has deep, painful acne on their back (or anywhere else) will need a dermatologist’s help. 

Acne friendly skincare essential

To get the results you expect from the treatment, you’ll also need acne-friendly skincare. Without it, your acne can flare, even when you’re treating it.

To help their patients with back acne get the best results, dermatologists recommend the following:

1. Develop these habits when working out or getting sweaty.

  • Wear loose-fitting workout clothes made of cotton or sweat-wicking fabric.

  • Wash workout clothes after each use.

  • Shower and change clothes ASAP after working out (or doing anything that causes you to sweat).

If you cannot shower immediately, use an oil-free cleansing wipe to gently wipe off your sweaty skin. You’ll also want to change out of sweaty clothes.

2. Cleanse your skin gently.

 Scrubbing the skin with acne may seem best, but this actually worsens acne. When washing your back and applying acne treatment, you want to be gentle.

3. Stop irritating your skin with harsh skincare products.

 Antibacterial soaps, astringents, and abrasive scrubs can worsen acne. Ditto for loofahs, back brushes, and buff puffs. For best results, you’ll want to use gentle, fragrance-free skin-care products.

4. Use oil-free skincare products and cosmetics.

 The packaging may read “non-comedogenic,” “non-acnegenic,” “won’t clog pores,” or “oil-free."

5. Avoid using anything that rubs against your back, such as a backpack.

Anything that rubs against your back can irritate your skin, causing back acne to flare. Swap a backpack for a handheld bag. If you carry a purse on your shoulder, place the strap on your arm.

6. Resist the temptation to pick and pop acne, even on your back.

This will only worsen acne.


Buy non-comedogenic, SPF 30, broad-spectrum, and water-resistant sunscreen.

7. Protect your skin from the sun.

People often believe that the sun’s rays will help clear acne, but the sun can actually worsen acne. The sun’s rays tend to darken acne and cause it to last longer.

You can help clear acne by always wearing oil-free sunscreen when outdoors. You’ll want to apply sunscreen to all skin that clothes won’t cover.

8. Change your sheets and pillowcases weekly.

Clean sheets and pillowcases are essential for clearing back acne. You may want to change pillowcases twice a week. By the end of a week, sheets and pillowcases are swarming with dead skin cells and bacteria.

When washing sheets and pillowcases, be sure to use fragrance-free detergent. If you like fabric softener, it, too, should be fragrance-free.

When to see a dermatologist

It can take time to see results from treatment. If the treatment works, you may start to see results in six to eight weeks. Complete clearing can take three or four months.

If you don’t see any difference in six to eight weeks, you may need a dermatologist’s help. With a dermatologist’s help, virtually every type of acne can be successfully treated.