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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Back Acne


 Hi everybody! I’ve attached a picture of my back. I always had good skin until recently Ive had a big breakout on my back. I’ve been using Murad Body Spray but it is not doing much to take away my acne. I would love some advice on how to stop back acne? Thanks, Alisha 

Re: Back Acne

I myself have suffered from body acne since I can remember and the only combination of products that have ever worked for me are Clinique acne bar soap and Acnefree Salicylic acid body spray. I have never applied any lotion or oils to my back or chest, besides sunscreen. Just those 2 products and I've been consistently clear for years! Fyi, I've tried the Versed acne body spray, Murad, as well as Dermalogica's toner spray with no positive results. Good luck to you.

Re: Back Acne

What kind of acne spray are you speaking about and where can I get it? 

Re: Back Acne

Hi @LeeshR ! I also recently started getting back acne, thanks to age-related hormone imbalance. Here are a few things that have helped me: 


  1. See a dermatologist (or your primary care doc), if you can. Even if you don't want to do this right away, it's a good idea if your acne doesn't improve within a few months and you need more help than any OTC products can provide. You could have a skin condition that mimics acne, and a derm can diagnose that. Given my particular skin issues (my skin's inflammation-prone), I asked my derm for advice early on. 

  2. Use a salicylic acid (BHA) or benzoyl peroxide wash on your back. I'm allergic to the latter, so I use BHA on my back. Any BHA product marketed as a facial cleanser can be used on your back. You must let it sit on your back for a couple minutes to let the BHA do its job, and then you can rinse it off. (Same goes for a benzoyl peroxide wash like PanOxyl, which is available in strengths of 4% and 10%.) I've been using Paula's Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Acne Cleanser 6 oz/ 177 mL which contains just 0.5% BHA. I recently started testing The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser 5 oz / 150 ml which is 2% BHA. You could also try CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, which I believe is 2% BHA. I use a BHA cleanser on my back every other night (I shower at night) and my regular body wash (CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar) on other nights. 

  3. Change your sheets and pillowcases more frequently, and never sleep in the shirt you wore all day. This should reduce bacteria. Note that acne is not a "dirty body" hygiene issue. Frequently changing and washing sheets and pillowcases isn't about keeping them free of dirt when it comes to acne. It's all about reducing bacteria. I change my sheets at least once a week, and I rotate my pillowcases: use one side for 2 nights, use the other side for another 2 nights, and then change pillowcases. 

  4. Try a different BHA spray. Murad Acne Control Clarifying Body Spray 4.3 oz (assuming that's the one you use) contains 0.5% BHA. It'll work, just slower than a spray with a higher % of salicylic acid. I use Paula's Choice CLEAR Acne Body Spray which is 2% BHA. There may be other products out there in the 2% range. 

  5. Consider adding a second acne-fighting ingredient (in addition to BHA). I've yet to see an azelaic acid product in back-friendly packaging, but you could try applying something like Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster 1 oz/ 30 mL or The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream 1 oz/ 30 mL to your back. Azelaic acid attacks acne-causing bacteria while helping fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (like the dark marks left behind by acne) and feeding your skin antioxidants. You can also consider applying a leave-on benzoyl peroxide treatment, but be warned: that ingredient stains clothing and sheets. It does kill acne-causing bacteria, though. If you can handle the smell of sulfur, that's another acne-fighting ingredient to consider. 

    If you can't reach all areas of your back (I can't reach all of mine) and don't have someone to apply a serum or cream for you: I often use an Artis Oval 10 brush to apply things (including moisturizer) to my back. You can also get a plastic tool designed for applying lotion to the back. A friend recently gave me one that folds up and has a removable and easily washable silicone pad, and that thing is very handy. 

  6. Remember to use moisturizer on your back. Contrary to popular belief, "drying out" acne doesn't help much. Instead it can weaken your skin barrier, leaving your skin wide open to more acne-causing bacteria. If your body lotion is non-comedogenic, it's probably fine for your back. 

  7. Use broad spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF 30) daily on any back skin that's exposed to sunlight, regardless of weather or season. You should also reapply it every couple hours. 


I hope you find a solution that works for you! 

Re: Back Acne

Honestly the thing I found helped me the most was just cleanliness. I used to get backne all the time but just started washing my bras and bedsheets more often and it really fixed most of it. 

Re: Back Acne

Have you switched laundry detergents recently by any chance? I realized a while back that my skin is really sensitive to laundry detergent, and harsh ones that leave a residue break me out. So now I use a hypoallergenic kind and use distilled white vinegar as fabric softener to make sure there's no residue. My skin still freaks out if I'm traveling and have to use a new kind of detergent. 😛 

Re: Back Acne

@LeeshR Have you tried Alba Botanica Acnedote Face & Body Scrub?

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