Here at VITAMAN, we’re often asked about the treatment for back acne. This ultra common yet hardly talked about condition affects just about every guy at one stage or another.
In today's article, we're addressing the back acne scourge. We’ll explain what causes this embarrassing condition and what you can do to banish bacne for good.
What causes back acne in men?
Back acne is mainly caused by a build-up of sweat and dead skin cells clogging up your pores. It is why you often breakout after a grueling session in the gym.
Sweat build-up and dead skin cells aren’t the only cause, though:
- Genetics - Just like most things in life, acne can run in your family.
- Hormones - Hormonal changes, especially in teenagers, can result in breakouts. For men, the main offenders are excessive testosterone (the male sex hormone) and increased cortisol (the stress hormone).
- Medication - Bacne can be a side effect from a variety of medications or supplements, especially those that affect your hormones, such as anti-depressants.
- Sweat - Excessive sweating, especially under tight clothing, can worsen Bacne breakouts. Trapping sweat against your skin leads to clogged pores which results in pimples.
- Harsh Residual Chemicals - Certain chemicals from shampoos and conditioners can trap bacteria, creating a breeding ground for bacne. Some ingredients that you really want to avoid include petroleum and silicone.
- Stress - While not directly causing acne, stress can be a contributing factor. A 2003 study from the Department of Dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine found "changes in acne severity correlate highly with increasing stress, suggesting that emotional stress from external sources may have a significant influence on acne."
- Lack of Sleep - Sleeplessness won’t just make you grouchy - it’s also a proven trigger for acne. It is strongly related to acne caused by hormonal changes, especially cortisol. While you sleep, your cortisol levels naturally decrease. Having too little or interrupted sleep can stop this process, increasing stress and worsening acne.
Does testosterone cause back acne?
Excessive testosterone and cortisol levels can both lead to an increase in acne and back acne. It is because they both contribute to the production of sebum - oil produced by glands within the pores of your skin.
Sebum isn’t all bad. It’s actually designed to remove dead skin cells away from hair follicles. However, having high levels of testosterone and cortisol can cause these glands to become overactive. This causes the glands to produce too much sebum, which blocks the pores and results in bacne.
How to prevent back acne
When it comes to back acne treatment and preventing back acne, the right methods will do both.
Thankfully, most cases of back acne don't require a trip to the dermatologist. Plus, they can be effectively treated at home by making simple lifestyle changes.
To treat and prevent back acne, it's all about sticking to a routine and using the right products. Start by following the steps below:
What foods to avoid if you have back acne?
Do greasy foods cause acne?
While the American Academy of Dermatology does not advocate dietary changes to manage acne, studies have still shown a relationship between breakouts and diet. This is what we know:
Sugars and refined carbohydrates
While we all love the occasional takeout, too many sugars and certain carbohydrates can cause an increase in bacne. In fact, any foods that have a high glycemic index will contribute to an increase in bacne.
This is because these types of ingredients cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Your body then produces large amounts of insulin, as well as other hormones, in response to bringing your blood sugar levels back to normal.
This insulin spike also causes an increase in sebum production. And the result is - you guessed it - more breakouts.
What foods help get rid of bacne?
Unfortunately, there are no foods that will get rid of bacne completely. However, some foods help avoid insulin spikes and reduce inflammation. This helps to improve the appearance of bacne and better allows your body to heal.
Whole grains, oats, and starchy vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, parsnips, and sweet potatoes. These are all slow-release carbs that, unlike refined carbs, take longer for your body to digest. This means they don't produce the same sharp spike in your blood sugars but gradually release energy over time. With no spike in blood sugar, this means no spike in hormone production. As a result, there is no overactive sebum production and no bacne. Simple right!
Salmon is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce inflammation and lessen the appearance of acne. Other foods to add to your shopping list include fatty fish like tuna and mackerel and fruits such as strawberries and cherries. Even some spices such as turmeric have all been linked to a reduction in inflammation. Click here for a list of the natural and organic ingredients we swear by and use in our products.
Back acne treatment that works
Showering after workouts
Here’s a tip, guys: Don't let the sweat and toxins that get flushed out of your system sit on your skin, as this is one of the most common causes of bacne. Make sure you shower as soon as possible after a workout.
Keep your shower temperature to 98°F (37°C) - 101°F (38.3°C). This basically means keep it warm but not super hot.
Avoid taking a hot shower - more than 105 °F (41°C) - at all costs.
Hot water stimulates your skin's sebaceous glands which makes them produce more oil. And more oil means more pimples, acne, and bacne!
For the last 30 seconds of your shower set the temperature to cold. This closes your pores and makes it harder for them to become clogged.
Wearing loose-fitting clothes
When working out, you often see guys wearing tight-fitting workout gear (we’re looking at you gym junkies). The issue with tight clothing is that it can cause sweat to get trapped and block pores. The solution is to wear loose-fitting clothing, which allows your skin to breathe and wick the sweat away.
If you’re not ready to give up those t-shirts that show off your guns, there is one alternative.
You can invest in smart fabrics that wick away sweat and use meshes to allow your skin to breathe. However, you’ll still need to make sure that you change your gym clothes regularly or wash between wears.
Avoiding harsh chemicals
When we wash our hair, shampoo and conditioners will often run down our backs and cling to those hard-to-reach areas.
Applying sunscreen can also contribute to the problem (but this is no excuse to skip it). Guys with long hair also need to be extra careful as the oils in their hair can make acne worse.
Not to mention that most shampoos, conditioners, and shower gels can be a cocktail of harsh chemicals (parabens, sulfates, silicone, and even formaldehyde) that can dry out your skin and make acne even worse.
Dead skin is not only ugly, but it’s also one of the main causes of back acne. Your back can be hard to reach when you shower, which makes it difficult to scrub. This leads to a build-up of dead skin which in turn leads to bacne.
The solution is to make sure you're exfoliating with a quality men's body scrub. This will remove dead skin and unclog pores, revealing fresh, clean skin underneath.
When selecting a body scrub look for one that contains natural ingredients. Avoid any products with those tiny plastic microbeads, as they can clog pores and make bacne worse.
Having a balanced diet
Diet can drastically impact our bodies affecting everything from weight, blood sugar levels, and hormone production. And yes, it can even contribute to acne!
While it can be tempting after a few beers, try to avoid greasy, oily foods and foods full of sugar. These can make acne and other skin conditions worse. You want to maintain a balanced and healthy diet with plenty of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits vegetables, and healthy fats.
Getting 8 hours sleep a night
Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest known causes of acne. In fact, a bad night’s sleep can disrupt your body's natural rhythms, throwing off hormone production, as well as a host of other issues. Sleeplessness also causes you to be less able to handle stress (which we all know about). This is another leading cause of acne.
If you don't get a good night's rest, the result could be a huge breakout the next morning. So go to bed early (or at least at a reasonable time) and change your bedding while you're at it. Your 2-month-old, sweat-soaked sheets will not be helping!
Take time to de-stress
Stress is one of the leading causes of acne so it's important to find time to relax and relieve stress. While you don’t have to visit a yoga retreat, try to pick up an energetic hobby, listen to your favorite music, read a book, or make time for meditation.
It doesn't matter what you do to relax, find what works for you and make time for it. Even just 5 minutes of breathing exercises can be enough. Your skin will thank you!
How to get rid of Back acne fast
There is nothing more embarrassing than a bacne breakout - especially when summer is just around the corner.
However, back acne treatment is possible with a combination of a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, plenty of sleep, the right shower routine, sensible clothing choices, and choosing the correct products to take care of your skin. The hardest part of avoiding future breakouts is maintaining this consistently.
It may take a few weeks of consistent effort before the problem completely goes away. If you’ve taken all the advice we have provided and you’re still not seeing any significant improvement, then it would be best to seek professional help from a doctor or dermatologist.
If your bacne is growing its own postcode, then you need our natural men's Sea Salt Body Scrub.
With natural ingredients like Australian sea salt, it’s proven to help treat and prevent back acne. Australian Sea Salt contains trace minerals which de-clog your pores and relieve the congestion that contributes to ingrown hairs and acne, leaving your skin healthy, smooth, youthful-looking, and blemish-free.