What’s The Story With Bacne? by Deb Chase

Backne free back I was pretty spotty as a teenager.  When I got discouraged with  yet another failed attempt to clear up my face, my dermatologist would try to comfort me saying “but your back and chest are always clear”.  His heart was in the right place, if not his science.

Acne on the back ( aka bacne)  and acne on the chest is more common in men  and especially during adolesence. It appears where hair  follicles ( which have oil glands) are either more numerous  or more active.   Its  also harder to  see what is going on  below the neck and in the back, and  thus harder to clear.

The Best Bacne Treatment

According Mount Sinai super derm Dr Gary Goldenberg, bacne  signals the need for oral medication.  He starts patients on either  oral antibiotics or oral isotretinoin ( aka Accutane)  to not only clear the skin but to prevent scarring as well .He also prescribes a benzoyl peroxide cleanser such as Pan Oxyl. Once or twice daily the back and chest should be washed with the BP cleanser using  a soft  sponge bath brush rather than a rough loofah.  Twice a day application of benzoyl peroxide/clindimycin combo like Acanya or Duac  should be part of your treatment plan.  You’re going to need   a “bacne buddy” to help you apply the medication over the entire affected area on the chest and back.

Oral antibiotics  will be used for up to three months.  Oral isotretinoin is used for 4-6 months depending   on your weight  and reaction to the drug.   Isotretinoin  makes the skin more   sensitive to the skin, but with  larger, harder to reach areas  it makes it tricky to apply adequate  amounts of  sunscreen.  To avoid problems always wear a shirt or tee shirt  to protect the skin.  Even a regular tee   provides some protection, but sun protective clothing can  give up to 50 USF.  You can  find great examples of sun protective  tees, pants  and hats from  REI and Coolibar.

FYI– The original oral  isotretinon was called Accutane.  It is no longer available.  Dr Goldenberg often presctibes   Absorica, another oral isotretinoin that absorbs well without the need for a high fat  meal.

3 thoughts on “What’s The Story With Bacne? by Deb Chase

  1. Thanks for these tips, Deb.

    I’ve battled acne for decades — including bacne. One nonprescription option that seems to work for me is washing my back with a acne wash cleanser on a long-handled, mesh pouf sponge/loofa. My esthetician told me that it’s important to wash the back like this especially after shampooing and conditioning my hair in the shower. If the cleansing alone doesn’t work, I also use a 10/2 glycolic and salicylic acid infused pads or spray on my back. Also, if I want my back to look good for an event, I get a chemical peel about a week or so before the event.

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