How to Get Rid of Back Acne

In our Q&A series, beauty experts address your most bewildering issues. Here, we consult the pros on how to get rid of back acne. Have a beauty-related quandary of your own? Submit your question in the comments below or via Twitter.

Back Acne

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Q: What are main causes of back acne and how do I get rid of it?

A: Although acne is the worst when on the face, acne on the body is harder to treat and can even be painful. Our least favorite spot — the hard-to-reach back. We caught up with Dr. Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist  on the main causes, and most importantly, how to get rid of back acne and nix those unwanted blemishes.

“Back acne can be caused by hormonal fluctuations, excess bacteria and dead skin cells that are blocking the pores, or exercise and excessive sweating,” says Dr. Jaliman.

Topical antibiotics can do the trick. Jaliman recommends looking for benzoyl peroxide gels and body washes, salicylic acid toners or pads and glycolic acid toners/pads. Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash ($5.79, drugstore.com) is a salicylic acid wash that doesn’t dry out the skin. Another one of her favorites is Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash ($6.49, neutrogena.com) which contains glycerin to moisturize and eliminate blemishes. “If all else fails, prescription antibiotics by mouth usually clears it up.”

If you think excessive sweating is the problem, Jaliman offers simple solutions. “It’s important to shower immediately after exercise and to wear breathable fabrics while exercising, like cotton.” Spandex and other tight fitting garments actually increase sweating.

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