Bacne or back acne is a form of acne affecting the trunk. It is most frequently seen in teenagers, however if left untreated, it can persist well into adult life.
This form of acne is commonly associated with facial acne. Bacne occurs in areas with the highest concentrations of oil glands.
Bacne is a common condition in Brisbane due to heat and humidity. Effective treatments are readily available.
Specialist Viewpoint on treating back and trunk acne
Most cases of mild bacne can be treated with over the counter washes and scrubs. I encourage patients to try a wash with Benzoyl Peroxide as the first step. Ask your chemist for BENZAC AC wash, and apply as directed. Moderate to severe cases of back acne should be medically treated. Antibiotics such as Doxycycline or Minocycline can help, severe cases are treated with an extended course of isotretinoin (Roaccutane or Oratane). Early treatment of severe cases of back acne is very important, as this can reduce scarring. Unlike acne scarring located on the face, bacne scars are more difficult to treat. Most scars due to trunkal – back acne present as lumpy red scars. A series of steroid injections can reduce the lumpiness, whist vascular V Beam laser can reduce the redness.
Bacne is most commonly seen in teenage years and is due to a number of factors, including genetic and hormonal. Environmental factors such as sweating, heat and occlusion can also make this form of acne worse. Back and shoulder acne is most commonly seen during the teenage years. Hormones such as testosterone stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Sebaceous glands are at the highest concentrations on the face, back, chest and shoulders, hence bacne is commonly associated with facial acne.
The high humidity in Brisbane also provides occlusion and excessive sweating, which can worsen bacne.
Mild to moderate cases of back acne can respond to simple over the counter washes and scrubs. A course of antibiotics prescribed by your GP can also help reduce acne in these areas.
Try the following methods before visiting the Acne Specialist Clinic.
- Exfoliate your back with a loofa such as Buf-Buf pads. You can combine a mild Salicylic Acid scrub such as Neutrogena Orange Wash (sal acid).
- Try some Benzoyl Peroxide. Benzac AC wash is available via most pharmacist in Brisbane. Use as directed, remember to leave on for 1-2 minutes before washing off. Be careful not to scrub too hard if you are using Benzac AC wash, as skin irritation may occur. Do not combine this method with Salicylic Acid washes as skin irritation will occur.
- Visit a GP or our Specialist Acne Nurse for a prescription of antibiotics. An 8-16 week course of erythomycin, doxycycline or minocycline may improve your back acne.
Specialist treatment of severe or scarring bacne is very different compared to over the counter washes and scrubs. If we detect that your acne is potentially scarring, or if it is severe, or affects your emotional well being, we may use a special drug called Roaccutane or Oratane.
Roaccutane is a vitamin A drug, and is restricted for the management of severe cases of acne, including bacne. For facial acne, the course of Roaccutane treatment is around 8 months. For severe cases of trunk acne involving the shoulders, chest and back, a prolonged course of 12- 16 months is indicated. Treating severe cases of bacne can be tricky as flare-ups can be expected early in the course of Roaccutane. Our Specialists may combine drugs such as EES or Prednisolone to reduce flare-ups.
Yes, research has shown that acne can be related to diet. Some milder cases of back and trunk acne can respond to dietary changes, however moderate to severe cases may not respond, and medical intervention maybe required.
Most cases of bacne or back acne are mild, and over the counter washes and scrubs can be successful. Moderate to severe cases of bacne should be treated as scarring can occur. Unlike facial acne scars, acne scars on the back and chest areas are more difficult to treat, and hence prevention of scarring is very important. Severe cases of bacne and trunk acne can also cause pain, itching and significant social embarrassment.
The most frequent form of acne scarring on the back, chest and shoulders are lumpy scars known as hypertrophic or keloid scarring. These scars are usually pink- red in colour, lumpy and occasionally itchy or painful. Acne scars in these areas usually respond poorly to laser treatments, however maybe improved with a series of steroid injections. Several injections are needed over many months, but eventually the scars will flatten. Early red scars can respond well to V-Beam vascular laser.
A referral from your GP is not required, however this is encouraged. A referral will keep your GP up to date with your medical treatments, and also enable you to claim a partial refund from Medicare.
Call the Acne Specialist Clinic on 07 3871 34 37 to make a booking or ask about the referral process.