How to Get Rid of Back Acne (Bacne)

Cynthia Bailey, MD|August 9, 2012

workout bacneI just received a wonderful email from Jennifer, one of my web customers. She had suffered for years from back acne brought on by sweating. "Bacne," as some people call it, is a problem that plagues athletes, people who sweat because they work out regularly to stay healthy, and folks that live in humid climates where sweating is a way of life. It is emails like Jennifer's that keep me writing for my website and adding the skin care routines that I've developed for my patients' skin problems over the years that I've been practicing dermatology. Jennifer's email is so nice I want to share it with you.  She wrote:

Dear Dr. Bailey, I cannot thank you enough for your information on back acne and the zinc soap. I have dealt with back and chest breakouts for almost 20 years, and have been to numerous dermatologists - not one ever mentioned pyrithione zinc as a solution. I thought I had tried everything - sprays, washes, etc. - and all they did was dry out my skin and make it itchy - and I would still get breakouts the minute I broke a sweat. After a couple of weeks of using the zinc soap at night and benzoyl peroxide wash in the morning, my back and chest were completely clear - which has never happened in my entire life. And a few months later, they are STILL completely clear. I can finally wear tank tops again. My skin is soft and smooth, and my husband comments on it all the time. He can't believe the difference. So glad I found your website. Thank you so much. Jennifer B.

Back acne is one of the more frustrating forms of acne; it's poorly understood and tricky to treat because acne products are designed for facial acne, which is different for many reasons. I see a lot of patients with back acne. I, my husband, and my kids are also prone to it, so at my house we really care about fixing it... and I've developed a great skin care routine to do just that. These products are in every shower in my house! I combined the 3 most effective topical treatments I've ever found into a Bacne Skin Care Routine Kit. It's what has helped Jennifer, me, and my family and it's the treatment that I rely on in my practice for my bacne patients. In my Bacne Kit, I use a combination of:

  1. Pyrithione zinc to control the pityrosporum yeast that causes most cases of bacne, in my experience.
  2. Benzoyl peroxide in a strong 10% foaming cleanser to control acne causing bacteria and to help unclog clogged pores and to loosen blackheads, all of which play a role in bacne too.
  3. Physical exfoliation with the Salux cloth, a brilliant invention that helps smooth out the skin, loosen clogged pore debris, and scrub the medicated cleansers deeper into the skin.

Click here to see my Bacne Skin Care Kit.

dermatologist advice for best Back Acne Treatment products

Jennifer, thanks for the lovely email. It is readers and customers like you that make this web project so satisfying for me.

Photo: thanks and gratitude to Lululemon Athletica (makers of some of my favorite athletic clothing, FYI!)

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