Back acne also referred to as backne or body acne, is caused by the same factors that cause it to appear on the face. As the facial area, the back is also prone to develop acne due to the dense concentration of the sebaceous glands.
According to the National Health Services, half of the people with acne also develop it on the back.
Other areas include the shoulders, back, and buttocks. The difference is that the back, buttocks, and shoulders are covered with clothing while the face is not.
Back acne can affect both adult men and women in the same way it can affect children. However, it is more common and severe in men than in women.
Some conditions cause it to appear suddenly while others give rise to a gradual onset.
Back acne causes and risk factors
However, though the cause of acne is not known, there are factors that can trigger and cause its onset on the back.
Back acne can develop at any age but it is most commonly seen during the teenage.
The overactive sebaceous glands secrete excessive sebum, an oily substance, due to hormonal changes in the body, especially during puberty and teenage.
This is due to the secretion of androgens by the adrenal glands during that period. Androgens are the male sex hormones and this phenomenon is seen in both boys and girls.
In women, hormonal changes that take place during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy are the main reason for the development of acne.
Some women develop acne during menopause. This is probably due to a drop in estrogen levels or an increase in androgen hormones like testosterone.
You may develop menopausal acne even if you are on hormone replacement therapy to ease your menopause symptoms.
In women especially, the wearing of tight clothing can aggravate the condition due to the collection of sweat on the back.
Androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands to secrete more sebum. People with acne also shed more skin cells. This thick oily substance causes the blockage of the hair follicles, through which the sebum and the dead skin cells are normally drained onto the surface of the skin
The sebum and the dead skin cells are trapped inside. First, a blackhead is formed. There are bacteria present on the skin. When they get inside the clogged pore, they have an ideal environment to multiply and cause infection.
When bacterial infection sets in, the blackhead turns into a pimple. An outbreak of pimples is called acne.
As the sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria continue to accumulate inside, the hair follicle continues to swell. Ultimately, it ruptures and drains its contents (which includes pus due to infection) onto the surrounding skin. This can cause painful pustules, nodules, and cysts.
Besides the hormonal changes causing acne, there are other factors that can cause it to appear on the back in adults and in children. The skin on the back is relatively thicker. Add to it the dense population of sebaceous glands on the back, which makes the back prone to this skin condition.
The genetic reason is an important factor that makes you prone to develop acne on the body including on the back and the buttocks. If both parents have acne, 3 out of their 4 children will develop this skin condition.
If you drive a car daily for long periods, your back does not get ventilation because it is in direct contact with the back of your seat. This can cause heavy sweating, which can clog the hair follicles on the back.
Pollution and high humidity are other factors that cause you to sweat profusely on the back. Add to it the dust from pollution. This mix can give rise to breakouts on the back.
Hot weather too can cause you to sweat more, which can predispose you to clog the skin pore. This will cause back acne and its breakouts. Add to that wearing tight and nonporous clothing, which makes you more prone.
Children and teenagers too can be prone due to the heavy backpacks they carry to school or college. This causes more sweating and the tight straps cause pressure on the hair follicles and clog them.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, what you eat can predispose you to back acne.
Foods rich in simple carbohydrates have a high glycemic index and they can raise your blood sugar levels quickly and can cause acne flares
Such high-GI foods include white bread, chips, and white potatoes. Peanuts, vegetables, and beans are examples of low GI foods.
Another factor that can cause acne flare-ups is stress. This is vividly clear from the fact that students are more likely to experience a breakout around exam time.
Certain medications too can trigger a back acne flare. Examples include corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, lithium, and phenytoin.
Treatment options to get rid of back acne are available and you should put them into practice at the outset for a quicker result.
If you are prone due to the risk factors mentioned above, you could do well to practice natural preventive measures.