The Independent Pharmacy

The Best Ways To Get Rid Of Back Acne For Good

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 5 Feb 2024

Have you noticed acne on your back and are wondering how to get rid of body acne?

The best way to get rid of back acne for good is to combine skin creams or gels (topical medications) such as Differin, recommended by your doctor, with changes in your daily habits. Using topical treatments can help reduce redness and swelling while also preventing future breakouts. For more serious cases of acne, your doctor may prescribe oral or stronger medications like doxycycline as part of a treatment plan.

Doxycycline For Acne
Doxycycline For Acne
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It's also important to keep your skin clean, wear loose clothing that won't rub or irritate your back, and pay attention to your diet. Certain foods can make acne worse. Staying consistent with a good skin care routine and lifestyle habits is the best way to manage back acne long-term and even get rid of it completely.

With the right mix of doctor-recommended products and some changes to your self-care, getting back acne under control and keeping it away for good is very possible.

Here is what you can do to get rid of acne on your back.

Key Takeaways

  • Combine acne creams or gels from your pharmacist with changes to your daily habits to help get rid of back acne.
  • Keep your skin clean, avoid tight clothes that rub, and choose healthy anti-inflammatory foods to prevent flare-ups.
  • See your pharmacist or doctor if over-the-counter treatments don't improve your back acne after 2-3 months. Prescriptions might be needed.

Top Treatments for Body Acne

Effective Over-the-Counter Products

There are many products available at pharmacies and drugstores that can be helpful for treating back acne, especially milder cases. Look for acne cleansers, lotions, and spot treatments that list salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide among the ingredients.

Using exfoliating body brushes when you shower can gently slough off dead skin cells to prevent pores from clogging. And if you're looking for an even more gentle option, try dry brushing. It’s also wise to always follow up cleansing with a lightweight, oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturiser (that won't clog your pores) designed for acne-prone skin. This helps the skin maintain hydration and won’t block pores.

Specific products to look for:

  • CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream with Salicylic Acid: This cream does a wonderful job of keeping your skin moist and supple. It's infused with something called ceramides. These are like little guardians for your skin, strengthening its natural defences.

  • Acnecide Gel: This gel packs a punch with 5% benzoyl peroxide. Think of it as a deep-cleaning agent for your pores, tackling those pesky acne-causing bacteria head-on. A little goes a long way, so you only need a dab to do the job.

Prescription Solutions and Dermatological Procedures

If you see no improvement with over-the-counter options after 2-3 months, it’s a good idea to see your doctor or a skin specialist. Prescription topical and oral medications are more aggressive for treating more stubborn inflammatory back acne like painful cysts and nodules. Acne light therapy, chemical peels and steroid injections can also help.

Prescription topical options may include options like:

  • Epiduo Cream/Gel with Benzoyl Peroxide and Adapalene: This one's a dynamic duo. Benzoyl peroxide takes on acne-causing bacteria, while adapalene is like a refresh button for your skin. Together in Epiduo, they work wonders in not just attacking acne but also boosting your skin’s health.

  • Treclin Gel: Treclin is all about teamwork. Its first player, clindamycin, is an antibiotic that targets acne-causing bacteria. Then you've got tretinoin, a form of vitamin A, stepping in to help rejuvenate your skin. Together, they make a formidable pair in your fight against acne.
  • Differin 0.1% Gel or Cream: Whether you choose the gel or the cream, you're getting the benefits of adapalene. This isn't your average vitamin A – it's a retinoid, which means it's great at not only clearing up existing acne but also preventing new blemishes from saying hello.

For more severe cases, like cystic acne, doctors might prescribe oral antibiotics (like minocycline or doxycycline) or medications that help balance hormone levels, including certain types of birth control pills. Procedures like light therapy or steroid injections can reduce cystic lesions and scarring.

Importance of Sun Protection

Sun exposure can worsen acne in a few ways. UV rays trigger inflammation, while sun damage slows normal skin cell turnover. Sensitising ingredients in sunscreens may also aggravate acne breakouts.

It’s still very important to protect your back from sun exposure using non-irritating mineral options labelled for faces and bodies prone to acne:

  • Look for “non-comedogenic” and “oil-free/water-based formulas” so thick, greasy products don’t clog pores further.
  • Look for sunscreens with ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These natural minerals protect your skin from the sun without irritating acne.
  • Lightly pat on acne-friendly sunscreen instead of vigorous rubbing, which spreads bacteria around. Reapply after sweating or swimming.

Protecting your back from UV damage allows prescribed acne medications to work better while preventing future sunspots and skin cancer risk.

Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies

Dietary Adjustments and Nutrition

Eating healthy foods gives your skin the nutrients it needs to stay clear.

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains. These give your body vitamins, minerals and "good fats" to fight inflammation.
  • Salmon, tuna and foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce acne swelling.
  • Drink lots of water every day to keep your skin hydrated and flush out toxins.
  • We know it can be tough to change eating habits, but reducing snacks like chips, candy, and fast food can be beneficial. These foods can sometimes increase skin inflammation. We encourage you to take small steps towards including more skin-friendly foods in your diet.

While no food alone causes acne, an unhealthy diet high in sugar and unhealthy fats likely makes skin problems worse. Focus on the healthy foods we know to support clear skin - fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains and anti-inflammatory fats like olive oil or avocados. Stay hydrated with water instead of sugary drinks.

Develop Good Workout Habits

Working out is great for your health, but sweat and bacteria on your skin afterwards can certainly cause back acne if you’re prone to breakouts. Here are some tips:

  • Shower and wash your back, chest, and other sweaty areas immediately after exercise using a medicated acne body wash. This prevents pores from getting clogged.
  • Change out of sweat-damp workout shirts, sports bras, tight spandex, etc., as soon as possible after exercising. Put on clean, loose, breathable clothing.
  • Certain hair products like heavy pomades and gels can transfer to skin and clog pores. Either wash your hair post-workout or use lighter acne-friendly styling products.
  • Wash fitness gear and laundry regularly in hot water to kill acne bacteria that build up over time.

By taking a few minutes to cleanse your skin, change clothes, and toss gear in the wash after sweating, you’ll reduce the risk of new breakouts. Making these easy habits part of your normal routine after workouts really helps control body acne!

Resist the Urge to Pop, Pick, or Scrub Acne

It’s tempting to squeeze or pick at acne, but this almost always makes breakouts worse. Picking can push bacteria deeper into pores and lead to infections, red marks or permanent scarring.

Be gentle when using exfoliating brushes or scrubs. Scrubbing too hard can irritate acne-prone skin, potentially causing small tears that make it easier for bacteria to enter and worsen acne. Instead, cleanse skin gently with a soft washcloth, then use medicated leave-on creams with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids to unclog pores and kill bacteria.

Cystic acne must be treated carefully by a doctor. They may inject large blemishes with cortisone to reduce swelling. Home treatment could cause the cyst to rupture under the skin.

It can be frustrating to wait for results, and the temptation to touch or scrub at breakouts is real. We understand this can be a difficult part of the process. Patience is key, and gentle care will bring better results in the long run. This prevents lasting scars so you achieve smooth, clear skin faster.

How to Choose the Right Treatment

Finding the right acne treatment amidst so many options can be overwhelming, but don't lose hope. It's about finding what works best for you, and sometimes that takes a bit of trial and error. We're here to guide you through that process. Consider these tips:

  • Pay attention to active ingredients on labels, not big promises or flashy packaging. Effective ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids unplug clogged pores and fight bacteria.
  • Choose body washes and leave-on spot treatments designed specifically to treat acne-prone skin. Words like “oil-free,” non-comedogenic”, and “won’t clog pores” signal products less likely to make body breakouts worse.
  • Start with over-the-counter washes and creams containing acne-fighting ingredients. Use them consistently for 2-3 months. If you don't see improvement, make an appointment to explore prescription-strength treatments.
  • If you have painful cystic acne on your back, schedule an office visit right away. Unlike milder whiteheads and blackheads, big red lumps under the skin need specialised prescription medications to reduce swelling and prevent scarring.

The key is using products with proven pore-clearing ingredients consistently over time. But don’t wait too long before asking a pharmacist or doctor for help choosing prescription alternatives if needed.

Why Am I Getting Body Acne?

Sweat and tight clothes rubbing on your skin can lead to breakouts on your back. The pores and oil glands on your back are very large. When sweat, bacteria, and dead skin cells fill up these big pores, pimples start to form.

Hormones play a role, too. Acne can flare up during puberty, menstrual periods, pregnancy, and stress. Some people also just have skin that's prone to acne because of their genes.

There are a lot of myths about back acne. Working out, using certain hair or skin products, and eating foods like chocolate or fried foods don't cause acne on their own. But they can make existing acne worse in people who already have it.

Take the Next Step With The Independent Pharmacy

Getting rid of back acne starts with seeing a pharmacist or doctor to explore treatment options that fit your needs. The Independent Pharmacy makes it easy to get personalised help online.

First, fill out our online form to answer questions about your back acne. This helps their experts know important details like:

  • Where are your breakouts located? How large are they?
  • What over-the-counter products have you tried?
  • Do you have cystic bumps or just blackheads and whiteheads?

Next, our team reviews your information and contacts you with a list of treatments tailored to your specific back acne condition.

The Independent Pharmacy takes the time to understand your unique situation and body chemistry. Then, we match you with solutions designed to effectively clear up your back while preventing new breakouts.

Visit their website today to get started by filling out the form, or get in touch with our team if you have any more questions. Managing your back acne is easier when you have caring experts guiding each step.


Will body acne go away?

For many people, body acne improves greatly with consistent treatment. Using the right over-the-counter or prescription products combined with lifestyle changes can help it go away completely over time. See your pharmacist or doctor if body acne persists despite home treatment.

Is back acne hormonal?

Hormone fluctuations during puberty, monthly periods, pregnancy, or stress can trigger back acne. Hormones increase oil production, which leads to clogged pores and breakouts. Prescription medicines that affect hormone levels may help.

What foods cause body acne?

No specific food has been proven to cause breakouts directly. However, an unhealthy diet high in processed carbs, sugar, unhealthy fats and low in vegetables likely aggravates body acne. Stay hydrated and focus on anti-inflammatory whole foods.

What does stress acne look like?

Stress acne often forms around the chin, jawline, and lower cheeks on the face. But stress may also worsen body acne, like chest and back breakouts, by increasing oil production and inflammation. Reducing stress helps.


Acne - Treatment - NHS (

Acne Vulgaris - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf (

Diet and acne: A systematic review - PMC (

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