Unveiling the Culprits: What Causes Back Acne in Males

Unveiling the Culprits What Causes Back Acne in Males

Acne is a common skin condition that affects individuals of all ages and genders, leaving its mark on physical appearance and often taking a toll on self-confidence. While acne on the face is more widely discussed, many individuals, particularly males, also experience the frustration of back acne. Back acne, or "bacne," can be just as distressing and uncomfortable, leading to itchiness, redness, and even pain. Understanding the causes of back acne is a crucial step in effectively managing and treating this condition.

In this blog post, we delve into the underlying factors that contribute to the development of back acne in males. We explore a range of potential causes, including hormonal imbalances, genetic predisposition, lifestyle factors, and skincare practices. By gaining insights into these triggers, we aim to empower individuals with the knowledge they need to take proactive steps towards preventing and managing back acne.

What is Back Acne?

Back acne, also known as "bacne," refers to the occurrence of acne breakouts on the back. Similar to facial acne, back acne consists of various types of blemishes such as pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and nodules. These acne lesions can appear on the upper back, lower back, shoulders, and sometimes extend to the chest.

Back acne is caused by similar factors as facial acne, primarily involving the pilosebaceous units—hair follicles and sebaceous glands—that become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. When these follicles are blocked, inflammation occurs, leading to the formation of acne lesions.

What Causes Back Acne?

The causes of back acne can vary, but some common factors include:

Hormonal imbalances: 

Fluctuations in hormone levels, especially during puberty, can stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce excess oil, leading to clogged pores and acne breakouts on the back.

Genetic predisposition: 

A family history of acne can increase the likelihood of developing back acne. Certain genetic factors can influence the skin's sensitivity to hormonal changes and the production of sebum.

Sweat and heat: 

Excessive sweating, coupled with heat and friction from tight clothing, can create an environment conducive to bacterial growth and clogged pores, contributing to back acne.

Poor hygiene and excessive oil production: 

Inadequate cleansing of the back, especially after sweating or physical activity, can lead to the accumulation of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells, triggering acne.

Pore-clogging substances: 

Certain skincare and hair care products containing pore-clogging ingredients like oils, silicones, or heavy moisturisers can exacerbate back acne

What are the Symptoms of Back Acne?

The symptoms of back acne include:

  • Presence of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, or nodules on the back.
  • Redness and inflammation around the acne lesions.
  • Itching or discomfort in the affected areas.
  • Potential pain or tenderness, especially with larger or deeper cystic acne.
  • Scarring or hyperpigmentation in severe cases.
  • Occasionally, pus-filled or swollen lesions may be present.
  • Possible spread of acne to the shoulders and chest.

Back Acne Treatment


Use a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser to wash your back and remove impurities.

Topical treatments: 

Apply OTC creams or gels with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur to target acne lesions.

Prescription medications: 

In severe cases, a dermatologist may prescribe topical or oral medications, such as retinoids, antibiotics, or hormonal therapies.


Gently exfoliate the back once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.

Avoid squeezing or picking: 

Refrain from squeezing or picking at back acne, as it can worsen inflammation and lead to scarring.

Wear breathable clothing: 

Opt for loose-fitting, breathable clothing made from natural fibres to reduce friction and allow the skin to breathe.

Shower after sweating: 

Rinse off and cleanse your back after sweating to prevent the buildup of sweat and bacteria.

Avoid pore-clogging products: 

Use non-comedogenic, oil-free skincare and hair care products to prevent further clogging of pores.

Manage stress: 

Practice stress-management techniques, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies, as stress can exacerbate acne.

Consult a dermatologist: 

If home remedies and OTC treatments don't show improvement, seek professional advice for personalised treatment options.

Take Away

Back acne, or bacne, can be distressing, but effective treatment options are available. Cleansing with a mild cleanser, using topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, and avoiding pore-clogging products are essential. If needed, consult a dermatologist for personalised treatment, including prescription medications. Remember to be patient and consistent in your skincare routine for clearer, healthier skin.


Q: Is back acne common?

A: Yes, back acne is relatively common, particularly among teenagers and young adults. It can affect both males and females.

Q: How is back acne diagnosed?

A: Back acne is usually diagnosed through a visual examination by a dermatologist or healthcare professional. They assess the presence of acne lesions on the back and may ask about medical history and lifestyle factors.

Q: What hormones cause back acne?

A: Back acne can be influenced by hormonal imbalances, particularly an increase in androgen hormones such as testosterone. These hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, contributing to clogged pores and acne formation on the back.


How to Get Rid of Back Acne, By Rena Goldman, on March 8, 2019

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