The Real Reason You Get Back Acne

Let's face it, any kind of acne (no matter where it is on your body) is never ideal. But while face acne is widely discussed, back acne (also known as bacne) is often forgotten — unless, of course, you suffer from it. And no matter how often you loofah or scrub, no skincare routine seems to help clear it up. So, what's the real reason we get back acne?


As dermatologist Dr. Justine Kluk explained to Glamour UK, "Similar to the causes of spots everywhere, bacne is caused by excess sebum production, the build-up of dead skin cells, and bacteria." She continued, "The skin on our backs is extremely thick so the potential for blocked pores is very high," adding, "For those who are prone to spots, the accumulation of oil and dead skin cells in our pores creates an ideal environment for a particular bacterium called 'propionibacterium' acne to thrive."

However, like face acne, there are various other factors that contribute to or potentially worsen back acne and knowing what they are could help you prevent it.

Sweaty gym clothes can cause back acne

As Elizabeth Hale, a dermatologist in New York City, revealed to Allure: "One of the most common causes of back acne is sweaty clothes." Yep, apparently there is a downside to exercising after all. "Hair follicles in the back can trap sweat and bacteria and cause breakouts, so the first thing is to get out of that sweaty sports bra after the gym," Hale explained. And you should probably get changed out of your other gym clothing immediately after exercising, too.


According to Julie Morris, an aesthetic nurse at Effortless Skin, even wearing long hair loose and down your back could worsen bacne (via Glamour UK). Depending on how often you wash it, there could be all sorts of hair products in your hair that are being transferred to your back, clogging your pores. Then, there's also clothing items, like your regular bra, that don't seem dirty but haven't been washed for quite some time (weeks?). Basically, if you anything that comes into contact with your back super-clean, you have a much better chance of staying free from bacne.