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Today in Health & Wellness

Back Acne

Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult

Common Name/Other Name

Body acne, Bacne, Acne vulgaris

Acne is a skin condition where oil, dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria clog the hair follicles (sebaceous gland) that appear on parts of the body. Back acne is acne that appears on the back.

  • Black and white heads
  • Cysts and nodules
  • Papules (small round bumps < 1cm in size)
  • Pimples or pustules
  • Scars
Risk Factors
  • Family history/Hereditary
  • Hormonal change
  • Greasy or oily skin
  • Dirt and bacteria
  • Stress
  • Redness/itchiness
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Benzoyl peroxide has an anti-inflammatory effect and is used as a 1st line treatment for mild to moderate acne. It can be paired with a topical antibiotic or retinoid. Precaution: Increase in skin sensitivity (sunburn). Side effects: Dryness of skin, redness, occasional peeling of skin.

  • Topical antibiotics are used for mild to moderate and severe acne. It decreases acne activity due to its inflammatory properties against Propionibacterium acne. Side effects: Itching, peeling and redness, burning sensation. Drug interactions: Other antibiotics when taken at the same time, medicated or rough soaps, products with high alcohol concentration.

  • Salicylic acid has antibacterial-producing properties that when applied to the skin, it opens skin pores and promotes shedding of dead skin cells. Side effects: darkening of skin, skin irritation Drug interactions: Retinoids, solvents with alcohol, oil, acetone

  • Topical retinoid (tretinoin, adapelene) and oral retinoid (isotretinoin) have an anti-inflammatory effect that normalizes follicle cell lifecycle. These are the 1st line treatment for people with a dark colored skin for fast improvement of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Side effects: Skin irritations, sensitivity to light, darkening or losing skin color, dryness of skin and mucosa. Drug interactions: Other retinoids, vitamin A, tetracyclines, salicylic acid.
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
  • Use anti-bacterial soap when taking a bath. Do not scrub the affected part as it will lead to a scar.
  • Baking soda powder or sodium bicarbonate can unplug the pores and remove dead skin. Mix 1-2 teaspoons with 1 teaspoon of water and make a paste, then apply the affected area and rinse after few minutes. Use this once or twice a week.
  • Apply fresh lemon juice on clean cotton as a natural astringent in removing dirt and oily skin. Apple cider vinegar can also be used by mixing with water in a ratio 1:3, dip with a clean cotton and apply on acne part.
  • Apply ice on the acne part to help reduce swelling and shrinks acne spots.
  • Use a moisturizer (banana peel or over-the-counter creams) to prevent excess oil and prevents further acne breakouts.

Lifestyle modifications

  • Practice good hygiene. Shower after a physical activity or workout, or wipe sweat with a clean towel (if the shower is not accessible). Wash using an antibacterial cleanser.
  • Avoid wearing the same clothes all over again, especially undergarments. Wear loose clothes that are made out of cotton since cotton absorbs sweat.
  • Change laundry detergent if the cause of acne and irritation comes from clothes.
Doctors to Consult
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