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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 skin care can help you see clearer skin more quickly.
You may even be able to clear your back on your own.
You may see clearer skin from treating it yourself if you:
Anyone who has deep, painful acne on their back (or anywhere else) will need a dermatologist’s help.
OTC stands for over-the-counter. It’s medical jargon that means any treatment which you can buy without a prescription.
Studies show that the following OTC acne products can help clear mild (or moderate) back acne when used along with acne friendly skin care:
Benzoyl peroxide (emollient foam wash): This helps to kill the bacteria that cause acne. Used daily, it can help control back acne and reduce flares.
Letting the benzoyl peroxide sit on your skin for a few minutes has two advantages:
You’ll find OTC benzoyl peroxide foaming washes in different strengths. Using a product that contains 5.3% benzoyl peroxide is less likely to cause irritated skin, dryness, or peeling.
If you feel that you need stronger medicine, you can start with a foaming wash that contains 10% benzoyl peroxide. That’s the strongest concentration of benzoyl peroxide that you can buy without a prescription.
Retinoid (adapalene 0.1% gel): Using this along with benzoyl peroxide can improve your results. This OTC retinoid can help unclog pores, which will help the benzoyl peroxide work better.
Dermatologists recommend applying adapalene after you shower or before going to bed. Again, you want to apply it daily.
For treatment to work, you must get it on your back. Investing in a lotion applicator for the back can help you apply the medicine where you want it.
If you’re not sure where to find one of these, just search online for a “lotion applicator for the back.”
To get the results you expect from treatment, you’ll also need acne friendly skin care. 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:
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.
It can take time to see results from treatment. If treatment works, you may start to see results in 6 to 8 weeks. Complete clearing can take 3 or 4 months.
If you don’t see any difference in 6 to 8 weeks, you may need a dermatologist’s help. With a dermatologist’s help, virtually every type of acne can be successfully treated.
Bikowski J. “A review of the safety and efficacy of benzoyl peroxide (5.3%) emollient foam in the management of truncal acne vulgaris.” J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(11):26-9.
Brand B, Gilbert R, et al. “Cumulative irritancy comparison of adapalene gel 0.1% versus other retinoid products when applied in combination with topical antimicrobial agents.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003;49(3 Suppl):S227-32.
Del Rosso JQ. “Management of truncal acne vulgaris: current perspectives on treatment.” Cutis. 2006 May;77(5):285-9.
Eichenfield LF, Andrew C. Krakowski AC, et al. “Evidence-Based Recommendations for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pediatric Acne.” Pediatrics. 2013;131 Suppl 3:S163-86.
Leyden JJ, Del Rosso JQ. “The effect of benzoyl peroxide 9.8% emollient foam on reduction of Propionibacterium acnes on the back using a short contact therapy approach.” J Drugs Dermatol. 2012;11(7):830-3.