An Asian woman wearing a low bun and showing her upper back

Back acne, or “bacne,” is acne vulgaris that occurs on the upper back. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, back acne happens when sweat, dirt, and sebum become trapped inside the pores on our backs, which tend to be much larger. This leads to inflammation in the form of acne, or whiteheads and blackheads. The upper back, specifically, has more oil glands and is more prone to acne. Here are a few dos and don’ts for keeping your back clear and acne-free.

Do Shower After a Workout

Showering prevents bacteria from building up on your back.

Even if you think you didn’t sweat all that much, you still need to shower after a workout to prevent bacteria and sebum from clogging your pores. Try to shower immediately after you wind down and use a soap that cleanses and fights germs. Lifebuoy Antibacterial Body Wash Total 10 has Activ Silver, a powerful antibacterial ingredient that destroys germs.

Don't Forget to Exfoliate

Gentle exfoliation helps reduce dead skin on the epidermis and prevent clogged pores. You can use a physical scrub like Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash, which gently removes dirt and debris without being too rough on the skin. It is formulated with NutriumMoisture, which maintains your skin’s natural moisture as well as a refreshing scent that makes showering something to look forward to.

Gently exfoliates your dull-looking skin

Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash

Do Try a Salicylic Acid Toner

You can also use a salicylic acid toner to gently lift dead skin cells, remove excess oil, and control sebum production in the skin. After cleansing, apply POND’S Acne Clear Pore Conditioning Toner on your upper back. It contains salicylic acid and tea tree oil, which unclog pores and reduce pimples. It also gently refines the skin.

Do Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes

Skintight clothing, especially during workouts, can irritate the skin and make back acne worse. They can trap sweat and dirt and rub them into your pores. Clothes can also prevent contact with potentially dirty surfaces such as the floor, gym equipment, or a mat that might aggravate the affected area.

Do Wash Your Sheets Weekly

Change your bed sheets every week!

Sweat, oil, and dirt can also accumulate on our bedsheets. Don’t forget to wash them weekly, especially if you’re prone to acne or if you like to sleep with your upper back exposed. You'll want your sheets to be clean so that you won’t wake up with new breakouts. Use fragrance-free products to avoid irritation and hot water to kill bacteria.

Don't Wear Your Hair Down 

Just as we try to keep our hair off our faces when we’re experiencing breakouts, you don’t want your hair touching your back when it’s flaring up. Natural oils, dirt, sweat, and products can build up on hair strands, and these can transfer onto the skin and clog the pores. Try keeping your hair up to prevent it from irritating your back while you’re treating your back acne.

Follow the tips above to keep back acne under control. For extreme cases, visit your dermatologist, who will prescribe medicines to control your breakouts.