5 Little-Known Back Acne Causes That Are Making Your Skin Miserable

Little-Known Back Acne
5 Little-Known Back Acne Causes That Are Making Your Skin Miserable

Bad news:

Pimples aren’t limited to your face.

They can appear literally in any area of your body that has sebaceous glands. This includes your shoulders, chest, and your back.

Yes, your back. And we’ll call those spots back acne.

Though back acne can easily be concealed, it doesn’t make it more appealing than facial acne. In fact, its location makes it a lot harder to treat.

Want to know how to prevent it?

Check out these 5 back acne causes to prevent it or (hopefully) stop it from coming back.

No pun intended.

1. Your Genetics

It isn’t limited to back acne, though.

Your genes are one of the top causes of acne, no matter where it’s located. But just because you have a family history of acne, it doesn’t mean you’ll get breakouts right away.

It only means that compared to other people, you’re more sensitive to its triggers.

Having acne-prone or oily facial skin can also be a factor. The same overly active oil glands on your face may also be present on your back and that’s probably why you’re experiencing breakouts.

5 Little-Known Back Acne Causes That Are Making Your Skin Miserable

And don’t forget your diet.

My body chemistry is completely different from yours. Foods that make you breakout may have a different effect on me, and vice versa.

So, if having acne is in your genes, how can you avoid it?

First is to observe proper hygiene. Take a bath twice a day using non-comedogenic cleansers and body washes designed to kill acne-causing bacteria.

If possible, avoid hot showers. They may feel relaxing, but they actually dry the skin out.

Also, try talking to your dietician. He’ll help you get to the root cause of the issue and discover which foods are making you breakout.

2. Your Dirty Sheets

Speaking of proper hygiene, check this out:

After a long day at work, who knows how much bacteria your skin has accumulated. They then transfer to your sheets and combine with sweat and dead skin cells.

5 Little-Known Back Acne Causes That Are Making Your Skin Miserable

The result? Clogged pores.

In a 2015 survey, only 44% out of 1,187 participants said they change their sheets once a week.

Only 31% change them twice a month, 16% change them once a month, while 32% never change them at all.

And you know what’s gross? Things like fecal matter, mites, and fungus can accumulate in just one night.

That’s why it’s important to wash your sheets at least once a week. Opt for laundry detergents made for sensitive skin since they are free from harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin.

3. You’re Taking Hormonal Enhancement Pills

Let’s take bodybuilders as an example.

Most of them take supplements or steroids to display their gains. The problem with this is that their body finds it hard to eliminate the high levels of testosterone.

Too much testosterone causes acne since it stimulates the oil glands to produce more sebum. Excess sebum then clogs the pores, eventually causing acne.

The least you can do is to stop taking hormone enhancers.

Aside from having clearer skin, you can also avoid a number of risks including being infertile or impotent.

But though it’s a type of male hormone, this doesn’t mean ladies are exempted.

5 Little-Known Back Acne Causes That Are Making Your Skin Miserable

Testosterone levels go up before the start of your period. So the breakouts you get before your period? It probably isn’t a part of your imagination.

Sadly, there’s little you can do when it comes to this natural cycle. But, there are things you can do to make sure no other factors can contribute to your breakouts.

Think about how you crave for sweets and sugar during your period.

Too much sugar can actually cause acne. An increase in sugar forces the body to produce more insulin.

Ok. So what now?

High insulin levels stimulate the production of sebum. And as you may know, too much sebum is one of the major causes of clogged pores.

What you can do is at least cut your sugar cravings during your period to prevent acne from getting worse.

4. You Have Long Hair

Before having negative reactions, hear me out first.

I’m not telling you to cut your hair short. What I’m suggesting is to tie it in a ponytail or wrap it in a bun. Because believe it or not, your long locks might be the one causing you to breakout.

5 Little-Known Back Acne Causes That Are Making Your Skin Miserable

You see, your hair is full of dirt and oil that can transfer to your back. When these mix with dead skin cells and sweat, you know the next thing that’s going to happen.


Aside from keeping it tidy, wash your hair on a regular basis.

Use shampoos that fight acne to keep your hair clean and address the issue at the same time.

If this isn’t possible, never let your shampoo and conditioner reach other areas other than your head. These hair products contain ingredients that could irritate the skin and clog the pores.

5. You Wear Tight Clothes

This is true even for your workout attire. You may look cute and girly in them, but you’re causing more damage to your skin than you can imagine.

Sweat and dirt get trapped inside and thus, clog the pores. They also cause Acne Mechanica, a condition caused by several factors like too much heat, friction, and pressure, and is common among athletes.

One simple solution is to wear clothes that allow your skin to breathe. Also, choose garments that pull the moisture away from your body instead of absorbing it.

You might want to change your post-workout habits, too.

Make sure to shower immediately to rid of dirt and excess sweat after working out. Alternately, you can keep a clean and fresh towel handy to wipe yourself after sweating.


A combination of improper diet and poor hygiene leads to back acne. No one is exempted from getting back acne, but the good news is it can easily be prevented.

I hope this list of common back acne causes made you realize that it isn’t as complicated as it seems. All you have to do is to avoid these things and your confidence will be back in no time.

Again, no pun intended.

Have you struggled with back acne before? What other causes do you believe are missing from this list?

Dr Kathleen May Eusebio-Alpapara

A board-certified dermatologist who practices both medical and cosmetic dermatology

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