What is Bacne?
Back acne or ‘Bacne’ is a mild to severe condition of acne on your back. Whilst you can easily ignore it, that’s what makes it all the more dangerous.
Apart from its impracticalities (where you avoid going to beaches or wearing backless dresses) and its confidence crushing abilities, it can be a serious health issue if ignored.
The cause of acne on the back is similar to anywhere else on the body; bacteria is trapped in the pores which causes inflammation. However, the back can be a breeding ground for this kind of bacteria and for inflammation in general due to the sweat, tighter fitted clothing and less accessible in terms cleaning.
Because of this environment, once you have acne on your back, it spreads fairly quickly if you ignore it and can become a more severe form of acne — cystic acne. If cysts start appearing on your spine, it is best to immediately seek treatment as it allows a direct route for bacteria into your spine.
Here are possible treatments and prevention methods for bacne.
Along with maintaining good hygiene and cleanliness, epsom salt baths are very beneficial in renewing the skin. It naturally dries out any acne on the back whilst killing any bacteria.
Simply fill up a tub with hot water, add a few cups of epsom salt (add enough till the water tastes salty) and enjoy. Keep your back submerged for at least 30 minutes and do this several times a week. Make sure you keep a bottle of water with you as it can dehydrate you.
It is natural to feel a little light headed or nauseous as epsom salt works great at detoxifying the blood. These are normal symptoms of a good detox so no cause for alarm.
If you have access to the sea/ocean, it will also have a similar effect.
There are certain foods which aggravate bacne more than others and this be different for every individual. Some react badly with dairy products but in general, sugary foods should be avoided whilst trying to heal bacne. The American Academy of Dermatology have also established a link between carbohydrates (essentially sugar when broken down in the body), such as white bread and potato chips, and acne.
This is because sugar can lead to chronic inflammation — which basically means it can lead to more puss formation, redness and pain.
Go for foods low in sugar and salt with as little processing as possible. A good fix for the inflammation is taking foods high in anti-oxidents (fruits should be a minimum).
A common treatment for bacne is to use topical antibiotics such as retinoids however this should usually be used for more severe cases of back acne. Contact your doctor for the best advice on medications.
In most cases, taking the above steps is sufficient in seeing a major improvement in your skin and antibiotics should be used as a last resort as they can have unpleasant side effects. Retinoids for example may cause:
- Redness and itchiness
- Initial breakouts
- Dry skin
Any topical medication is likely to contain benzyl peroxide that can bleach your clothes, which is an inconvenience to many.
Severe acne on the back and chest can suggest some type of hormonal imbalance may be causing it.
What kind of hormonal imbalance?
Irregular Insulin Production
Whenever we eat any sugar, carbohydrate or fat, insulin is released by our pancreas to not just regulate the amount of sugar in our blood but to also allow our cells to utilise that sugar in the form of energy and convert the rest into storage. All the sugar that we do not immediately use is converted to glycogen (storage).
However, when we consume a primarily sugar/carb based diet and don’t require the energy it provides — it will constantly build up glycogen stores to the point where no more can be stored. If we keep eating the same diet however, our body responds by increasing insulin production to force the body to continue storing.
THIS is where the problem occurs. Over-production of insulin actually causes more sebum to be produced and as we all know very well, sebum is a significant factor to pores becoming blocked and acne forming.
When our pancreas is not functioning the way it should, hormonal acne can arise in any part of the body. Continuing a poor diet will only worsen the situation, no matter how well the other aspects are taken care of.
The solution is to cut the sugars and carbs and switch to more protein and leafy greens. Lean beef is especially good as it has no effect on insulin production and leafy greens are packed with anti-oxidant to help reverse any damage.
You also need to make sure that your lifestyle matches your diet. If you still want to consume some sugars or carbohydrates for a period, increase the amount of energy you expend in exercise. Not only will this improve blood circulation but also ensure your glycogen stores are used.
The first thing you need to do is make sure it isn’t purely hygiene related.
This means you: -
- Make sure you are showering/washing body every day
- Change your shirt or top daily (or more if you sweat a lot). Sweat can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Change your bed sheets every 1–2 weeks
- Are not scratching or touching your back
You also need to use a good soap that can clear the bacteria from the skin but not strip out the natural oils. Many acne washes and soaps will dry out the skin which stimulates sebum production, which as we saw earlier, can block pores even more, worsening the acne. Some products such as the Taoist Soap, which isn’t drying or fat based manage to tick these boxes. But it also fights inflammation which will reduce the swelling and redness of acne too. This is due to its blend of rare, natural ingredients collected from the mountains of Korea, which cause the blood vessels in skin to dilate and circulation to increase.
There are other natural products that can be used as gentle cleansers to remove bacteria however they don’t have the same anti-inflammatory effect, which is what speeds up the healing process.