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Showers & Back Acne

By Barb Nefer ; Updated July 18, 2017

The word "acne" is usually associated with facial breakouts, but pimples can happen anywhere the skin has hair follicles. The Acne.org information website explains it is common on certain body areas like the arms, legs and buttocks. It can also appear on your back, and showers may help you control it.

Cause

All acne has the same basic cause, according to the CNN Health website. Skin oil known as sebum mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria to block hair follicles, which are also referred to as pores. The blockage leads to inflammation and pimple breakouts. Back acne or "bacne" is often more severe than its facial counterpart, Acne.org warns, because the back skin is thicker and its pores are deeper. Like other acne, back pimples are not caused by poor personal hygiene so showers will not prevent them if you are producing excess skin oil or have a genetic tendency to develop them. The American Academy of Dermatology explains adults are more likely to get acne on the back and other body parts.

Factors

Certain factors make back acne worse, but some can be alleviated by showering. Clothing irritates the back skin and may make you sweat, especially in hot weather or if you are doing physical activities. The moisture worsens pimple outbreaks. Shower as soon as possible after sweat-producing activities like workouts, Acne.org recommends.

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Process

Back acne requires special care when showering. All pimples get irritated if you use harsh soaps or cleansers and scrub them vigorously. Use the mildest possible soap and rinse your back thoroughly with plain warm water. Dry your back gently with a clean, soft towel and put on fresh clothing. Do not wash the affected area more than twice a day. Excessive washing may aggravate the bacne.

Treatment

Combine your back acne treatments with proven pimple fighters such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These ingredients are present in many over-the-counter treatments and you can use the same treatments on your face and other affected body parts. The CNN Health website states stronger topical medications and antibiotics are prescribed for severe cases.

Prevention

Breathable clothing helps prevent back acne because it allows sweat to dissipate. This keeps bacteria from multiplying as rapidly as clothing that traps moisture on your back until you can shower. The CNN Health website explains avoiding potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods may also reduce outbreaks. It states foods traditionally associated with acne, like chocolate and greasy items, do not have any effect. Never scratch or squeeze back pimples as they can get infected.

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