Back acne, also known as “bacne” for short, is acne that appears on the back or other areas of the body such as the arms or buttocks.
Back acne manifests itself in the form of pimples, pustules or painful cysts under the skin.
Just like regular acne, there is no one particular cause of back acne but a combination of factors that may contribute to its formation.
Oily skin, bacteria, dead skin cells, and possibly sweating from tight clothes or non-breathable fabric may cause back acne or worsen already existent back acne.
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A quick review of the skin structure can helps explain acne.
Small oil glands buried below the skin, the sebaceous glands, produce sebum that moves through a small canal lubricating the hair follicles and the skin.
A skin pore is the opening of the canal at the base of the hair; acne is the result when shed skin cells combine with sebum and clog the pores of the skin.
Acne lesions can fall into five basic categories:
- Comedones, generally called whiteheads and blackheads, happen as soon as hair follicles turn into clogged. Blackheads are partially blocked pores which are dark in appearance because the melanin or skin pigment in the sebum has become oxidized. They are not filled with grime. Whiteheads are totally blocked pores, the lesions are raised and filled with pus.
- Papules are bumps on the skin that are not filled with fluid.
- Pustules are dome shaped bumps filled with pus.
- Nodules are severely inflamed areas that extend into the deep layers of the skin. Often very painful, nodules are like in look to papules but much larger and may leave scars.
- Cysts are the harshest form of acne. They are larger than nodules, often painful, and are the hardest form of acne lesions to treat.
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Back acne, or bacne, is more frequent in males than females, though both genders can develop the skin lesions.
The lesions can occur in any or all of the five basic forms. Back acne can be more severe than facial acne simply because the skin on the back has more sebaceous glands than facial skin.
No matter where acne is located, the causes are all the same.
Heredity plays a significant part in back acne.
Adolescents suffering from back acne may find their parents, uncles, aunts, or cousins suffered from the same condition.
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Hormonal increases, particularly an increase in androgen, cause sebaceous glands to work overtime.
This is common during puberty and during a female’s menstrual cycle.
Stress can result in a flare up of acnes. Anabolic steroid use can result in severe back acne.
Eating chocolate does not cause back acne.
Various researchers believe there is a relation between drinking reduced fat milk and acne.
People with back acne may have lower levels than normal of vitamins A and E.
Back acne is not caused by dirt but proper hygiene can help unblock pores.