It doesn’t really matter where they’re popping—pimples are the worst. But for guys, nothing is more off-putting than having to take your shirt off and reveal an unsightly cluster of back acne or “bacne.” While adult acne is actually pretty common, you don’t have to live the rest of your life sporting bumps that make you feel insecure.
An important part of tackling a problem is finding out the cause. Acne happens when hair follicles or pores are clogged with dirt and oil, so yes, acne can appear on practically any surface area on your body (except for your hands and feet). Here are some common causes of bacne:
Sadly, not all of us are #blessed with porcelain skin. If you have acne-prone skin on your face, it’s not wrong to assume that the skin on your back is the same way. Additionally, your genes can affect the way your skin responds to the food you eat. After all, some people break out after binging on sweets. This is because sugar raises your insulin level, which boosts oil-triggering male hormones, so be mindful of what you consume.
2) Poor hygiene
We know this one might be obvious, but you’d be surprised at how little some guys care about hygiene. Just to make it clear: SHOWER DAILY…preferably with an antibacterial soap. If you want to take it a step further, exfoliate! No, it’s not girly. On that note, don’t wait too long to shower after you work out. Sweat is your enemy here. The friction from clothes can irritate hair follicles and your sweat can clog your pores. According to Dr. Coreen Copuyoc, a dermatologist from Suaviss Lab Whitening and Skin 101, acne is caused by excess oil on the skin. “Microscopically, the acne results from a block in sebum secretion forming a plug called a comedone," she explains. "The comedone may inflame due to certain circumstances in the environment such as heat, excessive sweating, and [other] unhygienic conditions.”
This is for all the guys out there who’ll never admit to taking body enhancement products. Please know that when you take hormonal enhancements or steroids, your body needs to get rid of those excess hormones, and it’s usually through the skin. What’s worse is if you already have naturally high testosterone levels your skin is practically screaming for you to cut that shit out.
Prevention + possible treatments
Because every person’s skin is different, there’s no magic solution when it comes to acne. If you know you have a problem, you have to be extra attentive. Use non-comedogenic soaps and cleansers—these will help keep your pores unclogged. Before hitting the gym, make sure you’re wearing breathable clothing, not spandex. Others have also reached out to dieticians to figure out what foods they should be avoiding—sweets and dairy products are the usual culprits. There are also those who saw significant changes just by changing their pillow cases, bed sheets, and towels more often. If you’re naturally oily, consider showering twice a day—once in the morning and then again right before you go to bed. If these tweaks in your lifestyle don’t work, it might be time to consult a dermatologist so that he or she can prescribe topical treatments for better results.
If your back acne has gone from mild to severe…
Dr. Copuyoc recommends: “It is best to see a dermatologist for more potent prescriptions and medications. These include topical and oral anti-acne medications. Procedures may also be done depending on the goal of the patient; these include extraction, acne surgery, intralesional injections for cystic acne, chemical peels, IPL or intense pulsed light therapy, and laser therapy." Copuyoc explains that doing procedures shortens clearing time of flares and is highly recommended if the patient would like faster results. More importantly, for prescriptions and procedures, it is recommended that patients look for a dermatologist who is board-certified by the Philippine Dermatological Society. This will ensure that all treatments are safe, scientific evidence-based, and effective.
Dr. Coreen Copuyoc is a board-certified dermatologist and a diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society. She presently holds clinic in BGC at Suaviss Lab Whitening and Skin 101, and in Laser 360 Forbes. Follow her on instagram as @coreenmd or consult online via www.medifi.com.