What Causes Back Acne?
To understand why a person suffers from back acne – it is important to understand that acne is a multifactorial problem.
This means that there are plenty of factors that can cause and exacerbate acne. While any of these factors contribute to worsening your acne – eliminating just one of them will also not likely solve your problems.
Here are some of the factors:
Bacne is commonly caused by daily perspiration from our everyday activities. Living in tropical climates like Singapore can aggravate this issue, and when combined with tight-fitting clothing, onsets back and chest acne. A hot and humid environment also encourages bacterial growth. Considering that our backs have larger and more oil glands than the rest of the body, as well as being one of the first areas to produce sweat – bacne is not unexpected.
Another cause of bacne would be hormonal imbalances. This is typically seen in young males, those suffering from severe acne, and females diagnosed with a condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Essentially, excessive hormones cause the overstimulation of oil glands, leading to worsened acne.
After years of recurrent back acne, some of your pores can get damaged, making them more susceptible to blockages. This can lead to bacne happening on the same few areas –sometimes even on the same exact spot.
There are many misconceptions regarding dietary restrictions in acne patients. While many believe that seafood, chili, deep-fried foods and a high fat diet causes acne – there is not much evidence to prove a positive relationship. On the other hand, a diet that is rich in dairy and refined carbohydrates may be the culprits instead.
Too much stress causes our body to produce a hormone known as cortisol, otherwise known as our “fight or flight” response. Cortisol works on our skin to make it oilier – spearheading the start of acne breakouts on the face and body.
It’s not called beauty sleep without reason. Sleeping helps to relax your body and reduce your stress levels, which in turn decreases your body’s level of circulating cortisol – the stress hormone which causes acne. Thus, getting more sleep will improve your bacne!
Back Acne Treatments
There is no need to worry – bacne can be resolved. At The Clifford Clinic, we have developed a unique protocol for treating cases that involve persistent back acne.
First, our doctors will need to find out the cause and condition of your bacne. The recommended treatment will ultimately depend on several key factors: severity of the acne, allergies, medical history, skin type, degree of physical activity and sensitivity.
Our doctors will then evaluate and review various treatment protocols, choosing the one that will best suit your lifestyle. These may include in-office treatments, topical creams and sprays, as well as oral medications.
Here is a quick review of possible treatment options:
Long Pulse Laser Treatment for Back Acne - Bacne
Laser technology has become one of the most trusted forms of treatment for a variety of skin issues, including hair removal, uneven skin tone and acne. Studies have shown that long-pulsed laser treatment is extremely effective for clearing back acne. Using a single wavelength laser, it is able to effectively target acne, while avoiding injury to the surrounding skin.
Studies revealed a significant improvement of inflammatory acne in patients after 3 treatment sessions, performed 1 – 2 weeks apart. With each follow-up treatment, further improvements have been reported.
Chemical peels are primarily used to unclog blocked follicles in order to prevent and treat acne. Regular sessions will help decrease clogged pores, leading to reduced acne breakouts down the road. It can also help significantly reduce the appearance of acne scars on the back, which otherwise can be difficult to remove. Our chemical peels are strong enough for use on the back, yet controlled enough to prevent side effects like burns.
Recognizing that it can be inconvenient and difficult to apply creams on the back, we try our best to keep cream applications to a minimum – offering our patients a special chest and back spray that is easy-to-use. Topical treatments are important for preventing bacteria from flourishing, as well as to maintain the clarity of the pores on the back.
Laser Treatment for Acne Scars
Depending on the type of scars present after bacne, a variety of laser treatments can be employed to lessen the effects of scarring and accelerate healing. Lasers typically used include Fractional CO2 laser, Q-switch laser and V-beam laser.
For persistent acne that keeps recurring on the same areas, it is necessary to treat the individual pores using a more focused and targeted treatment such as AGNES. By directly treating each affected pore, acne is essentially being cured at the root.
Oral antibiotics and Isotretinoin are both effective medications that help reduce bacteria overgrowth. When left untreated, bacne can lead to more severe cases of acne – causing problems like blemishes, keloids and permanent scarring!
When combined with other treatments, the effects are much more potent – our oral medications are designed to have minimal side effects, and work great as a supplement to your laser treatment for best results.
If left untreated, bacne can lead to cystic acne, causing blemishes, keloids and permanent scarring!
Complications of Back Acne
One of the most feared complications of having back acne is scarring. Scarring from bacne often comes in the form of hyperpigmented scarring, hypopigmented scarring, atrophic scarring, or keloid and hypertrophic scarring. Given that healing scars on the body takes 3 times as long as compared to scars on the face – treating scarring from bacne takes plenty of time and effort – but it isn’t impossible.
These are some examples of scarring caused by back acne:
Acne scars become darker post-inflammation, and is worsened due to factors such as sun exposure. These brown marks and blemishes take a long time to fade and typically require laser and chemical peels to lighten them.
Scars become white due to the damage of pigment-producing cells in the skin. This scarring takes the longest time to treat – laser treatments such as fractional CO2 laser can be used to lighten these scars.
As a result of severe acne, scars can become depressed and sunken. Laser treatments such as fractional CO2 laser and INFINI are perfect for treating such scars.
Keloids and Hypertrophic Scars
Similar to scars observed from wound healing, these scars are characterized by bumps that are formed due to repeated inflammation and excessive scar tissue production. In this case, injections and pulsed dye lasers are needed to shrink the scars and flatten the skin.
Depending on the severity of your bacne, a customized treatment plan will be designed just for you. From there, our doctors will be able to advise you further on how many sessions it will take in order to achieve your desired outcome.
All of our treatments are clinically proven to effectively reduce acne without compromising on safety. In addition, we pride ourselves in providing our patients natural looking results with minimal downtime, using minimally-invasive techniques in the hands of well-experienced doctors.
You should expect to notice a reduction of inflammatory acne after 1 to 3 months of the first treatment session, although it is possible for patients to start seeing results within 1 to 2 weeks. Acne is first diminished, followed by the healing of scars that is gradually lightened over the treatment period.
Our Certified Acne Doctors
Dr. Gerard Ee
Dr. Gerard Ee is the founder and medical director of The Clifford Clinic. He is fully accredited in cosmetic treatments including fillers, Botox, light therapies, and more. Driven by his passion for sharing his expertise across the medical community, Dr. Ee has accumulated his surgical experiences internationally from working in the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, National University Hospital (NUH), and Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
Dr. Chow Yuen Ho
Dr. Chow Yuen Ho is the founder and medical director of The Clifford Clinic. With over 10 years of clinical practice experience, the reputable aesthetic doctor specializes in non-invasive aesthetic and acne treatments. Dr. Chow has accomplished so much in this field. He served as the founding Director of Medical Informatics at SGH and then as the Managing Director of the Asian division of Alert Life Sciences Computing.