What Causes Back Acne?


Acne breakouts on the back, often called “bacne,” can be a source of distress. Dealing with acne on the face is challenging enough, but when it shows up on the back, too, it hardly seems fair. However, what causes bacne has nothing to do with fairness, and — this might surprise you — everything to do with the same factors that trigger facial acne.

What is Bacne?

Whether you’re dealing with mild bacne, severe bacne, or both, the underlying causes are the same:

  1. Propionibacterium acnes bacteria within the pores causes aggravation.
  2. The aggravation leads to visible redness.
  3. Excess oil (sebum), tiny hairs, and debris get backed up in the pore lining.
  4. The oil serves as a food source for P. acnes, allowing it to flourish.
  5. You see various sizes of red, often uncomfortable, pimples dotting the skin's surface.

Along with a couple of other factors, including genetic tendency toward acne, the series of events above is essentially what causes acne on the back. Bacne is not just caused by dirty skin, eating chocolate or fried foods, or from merely being a teenager. Bacne can occur for numerous reasons to anyone, even adults.

The problem is that bacne tends to be more stubborn than acne that appears on the face. For some reason, it’s simply more difficult to treat. However, if you stay on top of it with a consistent routine, you can banish back acne and prevent it from coming back. Find out how to get rid of bacne and achieve clear skin with Paula’s Choice body care products.

Learn more about back acne breakouts.

Shop highly rated skincare best sellers for acne-prone skin from Paula’s Choice.

References for this information:

Indian Journal of Dermatology, July 2017, pages 341–357
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, February 2014, pages 22–30
DermatoEndocrinology, January-February 2011, pages 41–49; and March-April 2009, pages 68–71
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, June 2008, pages 551–556; and June 2007, pages 597–600
Postgraduate Medical Journal, August 2006, pages 500–506