Bacne 101: Causes and prevention

Here’s an unfortunate truth: acne is not limited to your face. Other areas of your skin can be prone to breakouts, and many of you will be all too familiar with bacne, a.k.a. back acne, or its close cousin chest acne.

While bacne can often be hidden under clothing, the summer months can be particularly stressful for those dealing with a back breakout; it’s harder to stay covered up as the temperature rises and you hit the beach. At Epiology, we’re proud advocates of being confident in your own body (acne or not), but know this is often easier said than done when it comes to bacne.

So what causes bacne? And how can you work to prevent the next breakout?

Causes of bacne

The causes of bacne are very similar to those of facial acne: genetics, clogged pores due to sweat, bacteria, oil and increased sebum, and hormones. Your back has numerous sebaceous glands just like your face, where dead skin cells and oil can accumulate and block the pores in the skin.

Bacne is also commonly associated with acne mechanica, a type of acne caused by excess heat, pressure and friction on the skin. Tighter clothing and wearing a backpack are key triggers, and why athletes and students can be prone to this type of acne.

What can you do to prevent bacne?

While staying hydrated, eating well, and de-stressing can help prevent all forms of acne, here’s some tips specific for bacne:

1.     Don’t stay sweaty

We’re all for a good sweat sesh at the gym, sports club or outdoors, but once you finish don’t sit around for hours in your sweaty clothes, particularly sports bras due to their close fit. Your clothes will be harbouring all the good and bad bacteria sweated out from your skin, so when you sit around in those clothes the bacteria are sitting there too (sounds a bit off-putting!).

Hop in the shower as soon as you can, or wipe down your back and change into clean, dry clothes. It’s also important to change out your bedsheets and towels regularly, to ensure everything that touches your back is fresh and clean.

2.     Tools for the job

Just like with facial acne, Epiology can help prevent bacne as well. Using our Anti-Acne Foaming Cleanser and Advanced Anti-Acne Cream, you can prevent the spread of acne-causing bacteria, remove oil and leave skin feeling clean, smooth and moisturised.

You may be thinking though; your back is one of the hardest areas of your body to reach yourself. That’s why we suggest investing in a cloth or sponge with a long handle, so you can apply the cleanser to your back effectively. Teamwork can also make the dream work here; ask a close friend or family member to help apply the moisturising cream to any areas you’re not flexible enough to reach.

3.     Eliminate pressure

With bacne and acne mechanica, think about what might be causing friction against your back and how you can adjust or create a workaround:

  • Look for a backpack that is more lightweight and fits properly to minimise friction
  • Create a buffer such as wearing a clean t-shirt underneath any sports gear
  • Wearing more loose-fitting clothing will allow your skin to breathe better

A final word

While bacne may be easier to hide, you don’t have to live with it; take note of these tips to care for this hard-to-reach, acne-prone area.

If you have success preventing bacne with Epiology, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us with your story today.


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