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Why do people get back acne: What Causes Back Acne in Males? 5 Likely Causes | Tiege Hanley

What Causes Back Acne in Males? 5 Likely Causes | Tiege Hanley

It’s a sad fact of life: back acne happens.

We all have pores on our backside that can become clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells.

The unfortunate result is back acne, or “bacne,” as it’s often called.

The good news is that back acne in men is easily preventable.

The secret to successfully treating your back breakouts is figuring out what causes back acne in males in the first place.

Here are three things you should know about back acne:

  • Acne on the back is most common in guys who exercise regularly and wear tight athletic gear.
  • Wearing breathable fabrics and practicing good hygiene can reduce back breakouts.
  • Using an acne treatment system is an easy and affordable way to treat stubborn back acne.

Want to achieve a blemish-free backside?

Here are five likely causes of back acne in men and how to get rid of it for good.

1. Tight Clothing and Gear

We get it. You enjoy showing off your chiseled biceps at the gym.

But that ridiculously tight shirt you’re wearing could be the sneaky cause of your back breakouts.

The combined heat, pressure and friction from your tight clothing or athletic gear can trigger a specific form of acne breakout known as acne mechanica.

According to a 1992 study published in Cutis, athletes are at a particularly high risk of acne mechanica (see claim: “Athletes in certain sports are at particular risk for this condition.”)

The treatment for acne mechanica is simple: Stop wearing the tight clothing and gear that triggers breakouts.


2. Not Changing Out of Sweaty Clothes

Don’t be that guy—the one who hangs out in his sweaty clothing for hours after his workout.

Although it’s true that sweat doesn’t cause acne directly, it can trigger pretty nasty back breakouts.

Besides, hanging out in your sweaty clothes will make you smell.

Sure, some ladies enjoy a little manly musk, but most people are going to wrinkle their nose at your body odor.

To get rid of back acne, change out of your wet clothes ASAP and wash your stinky workout gear, pronto.

Can’t get to a shower in a timely manner?

Consider keeping Salicylic Acid wipes in your gym bag and giving your backside a quick swipe.

3. Missing Your Back in the Shower

We’ve all been guilty of this on occasion. The back is a spot that is easy to forget about in the shower.

After you exercise, be sure to show your backside some love by washing the area with a Salicylic Acid-based cleanser or a gentle bar soap.

Exfoliating your backside once or twice a week can also do wonders for your back acne.

4. Shaving Your Back

Got a hairy backside? If you shave your back regularly, this could be the sneaky source of your back acne.

Shaving-related acne commonly affects guys with curly hair because the hair follicle is more likely to curl back into the skin.

However, shaving-related back acne can happen to anyone, especially if you’re using a dull or unsanitary blade.

To reduce the likelihood of back breakouts, make sure that your shaving technique is on point.

Remember to prep your skin before you shave and always use a clean, sharp blade.


5. Overactive Oil Glands

It’s widely known that acne tends to be worse in people who have an oily skin type.

Unfortunately, guys generally have much oilier skin compared to women.

According to a 2017 review published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, men in general have higher oil production due to their higher testosterone levels (see claim: “Men in general have higher sebum output attributed to higher testosterone levels…”)

Testosterone signals the body to increase its oil production.

This excess oil—along with dead skin cells and acne-causing bacteria—can lead to acne breakouts on the back.

Using an acne treatment system is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to reduce excess oil and treat your stubborn breakouts.

After starting your acne treatment, give your skin at least two weeks to show improvement.

Actual Tiege Hanley customer testimonial:

“Over a 3 year period, I probably spent over two grand in skin care and still had acne. I decided to reach out and request to be a part of the Tiege Hanley Acne trial and I have been blown away. After two weeks, my skin was clear. It’s not the acne cream alone that cleared it up, but how all of the products work together as a whole.” Kyle B., NJ.

Getting Back to Clear Skin

Back acne is a stubborn beast with a mind of its own.

Although it’s usually the result of staying in sweaty clothes for too long, some guys seem to be more prone to it than others.

A consistent skin care routine can help you get back to clear skin and keep back pimples at bay.

If that doesn’t do the trick, it may be worth seeing a dermatologist.


Basler, R S. “Acne mechanica in athletes.” Cutis vol. 50,2 (1992): 125-8.

Endly, Dawnielle C, and Richard A Miller. “Oily Skin: A review of Treatment Options.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology vol. 10,8 (2017): 49-55.

Tags: Acne Cream,
Men’s Skin Care Routine

Why it happens + how to get rid of it

While the myriad ways of dealing with cystic acne have been well documented, how to nix the spots that can spread over your neck, shoulder and back region is less talked about. But, back acne (also known as ‘bacne’) affects more than half the people who have facial acne, according to the NHS. So, it feels like this is something that deserves a little more of our attention.

For expert advice on this tricky issue, WH asked some of the country’s leading dermatologists and skincare experts for their advice.

3 back acne causes: why does bacne happen?

Founder of beauty-editor favourite Murad Skincare, Dr Howard Murad explains that there are several reasons why some people suffer from acne and some don’t.

1. Hormones

‘Firstly, hormones. Effectively, when your testosterone levels are higher, your oil glands are stimulated, which can trigger spots,’ he says. While these hormonal changes can happen during puberty and teenage years, back acne can happen at any age. So, if you’re well beyond 16 but still struggling with spots on your back, don’t worry – there’s nothing wrong or weird about it.

2. Genetics

‘It’s not scientifically proven… [but] there does seem to be a genetic link] Some people naturally produce more oil and more spot-causing bacteria than others,’ says Dr Murad.

You might find that your siblings have acne in the same place, or that you and your parents both had problem skin at the same point in your lives. Or, you might be the only one in your immediate family to have it. Again, acne is a tricky thing and determining the exact cause can be difficult. Try to address the things you can control first.

3. Clothing

‘Back acne tends to occur thanks to the sweat that builds up between the skin and your clothes, which can awaken acne-causing bacteria,’ explains Dr Murad. More on this later but regularly washing your sheets, pyjamas, bras, sports bras, towels and well, anything that touches your back, will help.

Murad Clarifying Body Spray 130ml

Murad Clarifying Body Spray 130ml

£46 at LookFantastic

How to get rid of back acne: 10 ways to get rid of back acne

Though hormones and genetics can play a role, there are steps you can take to treat your persistent back acne.

1. Shower straight after a workout

If you’re thinking about avoiding your post-workout wash, Dr Murad has other ideas. ‘It’s best to get out of sweaty clothes quickly and hop in the shower right away to blast away the sweat and bacteria,’ he says.

‘Sweat is an irritant to the skin so may also cause acne flare-ups – especially if wearing tight clothing when exercising,’ agrees Dr Friedmann, consultant dermatologist at The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic. ‘The gym is a fairly warm environment and induces sweating so it’s best to always shower after exercise and wash your workout clothes regularly.

2. Choose cotton clothing over polyester

‘If you’re suffering from back acne, favour loose cotton clothing over synthetics like polyester or Spandex,’ advises Dr Friedmann.

3. Tie your hair up

Tying long hair may help your back acne from spreading as ‘wearing long hair down might be contributing to the oil and dirt build up on the skin,’ says Dr Friedmann.

invisibobble Original Hair Tie (3 Pack) – Crystal Clear

invisibobble Original Hair Tie (3 Pack) – Crystal Clear

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£4 at LookFantastic


Think about your diet

Sugar and alcohol, along with stress and a lack of sleep, can all cause unhappy, reactive skin.

‘Your eating habits make a big difference,’ says Dr Murad. ‘Keep an eye on how your skin is affected when you’re bingeing on booze and junk and when you’re choosing healthier foods and drinks.’

Try to drink a glass of water for each alcoholic drink you choose or significantly cut down on consuming inflammatory foods in excess.

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5. Get oil into your meals

Yes, really. ‘Don’t be afraid of oil. The truth is, all skin types need healthy oils to look their best. Foods such as eggs, salmon, black cod, and walnuts contain beneficial oils that keep complexions well-nourished and prevent the skin from drying out and breaking out.

‘Some studies show that acne is caused by a lack of zinc in the diet. Zinc helps alleviate inflammation and scarring caused by acne,’ says Dr Murad. Pumpkin seeds and legumes are both strong sources of this.

6. Eat your water

‘I always say you should eat your water by consuming lots of raw fruit and vegetables. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and dark, leafy greens, to help normalise the turnover of dead skin cells, a key factor in acne breakouts.

‘Goji berries and pomegranates are particularly good for hydrating your cells and feeding your complexion with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories,’ says Dr Murad.

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7. Wash your sheets regularly

Can’t be bothered to change your bedding more than once every two weeks? Connect with your inner Mrs Hinch. By washing and changing your sheets regularly, you can prevent the build-up of bacteria. Not only that but the feeling of clean sheets? Euphoric.

8. Balance your PH levels with probiotic

‘Try including a probiotic in your diet to regulate your pH levels,’ says dermatologist Dr Gary Goldfaden, founder of Goldfaden MD. skin as well as popping a tablet, fill up on probiotic-rich fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso.

9. Stop using heavy lotions and bath products

Another piece of advice is to avoid extra-thick moisturisers. ‘Stay away from using heavy lotions and oils in products that can lay flat on the skin and promote build up,’ advises Dr Goldfaden.

10. Try dry brushing

Dry brushing your body in upwards motions towards your chest (away from the regular motion of blood flow), has been known to wake up your body as it’s great for blood circulation. It can also help with back acne. ‘Dry brushing or using a loofa regularly is a great way to treat back acne and keep breakouts at bay. By brushing/exfoliating the skin, it works to remove dead skin cells and increases circulation overall’ says Dr Goldfaden.

Elemis Body Detox Skin Brush

Elemis Body Detox Skin Brush

£28 at Elmis

Credit: Elemis

Back acne products: the ingredients to use

So, you’ve cleaned up your bedsheets and are concentrating on including the nutrients that can keep back acne at bay. But what skincare ingredients should you reach for?

‘With the right products you won’t need lots of different formulas, says Dr Murad. ‘Glycolic and salicylic acids gently exfoliate to keep pores clean and clear from oil, while anti-inflammatory liquorice root extract will help reduce redness and irritation.

CeraVe Smoothing Cleanser 236ml

CeraVe Smoothing Cleanser 236ml

£12 at LookFantastic

‘Lemon grass oil is another good ingredient to look out for. It’s an anti-bacterial agent which destroys spot-causing bacteria while nourishing and healing the skin.’

It’s important to also use fragrance-free detergents too as the skin can get irritated from the detergents on the clothing.

THE INKEY LIST Salicylic Acid Cleanser

THE INKEY LIST Salicylic Acid Cleanser

£11 at Cult Beauty

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Pimples on the body – types, causes, treatment

  • tests
  • review
  • compilations
  • life hacks
  • question-answer
  • battle
  • ingredients
  • want/can
  • Svetlana Misnik In winter, this problem worries us a little, because we wrap ourselves in sweaters and jeans without showing our body to the public. In the summer, when it is customary to be naked, acne on the body can play a cruel joke on you! How to deal with them and where to put yourself? This question was answered by the famous American dermatologist Samantha Banting in her video, the tips from which we share with you.

    Why do pimples appear on the body?

    The main cause of is excess sebum production, which clogs pores and provokes inflammation (pimples). On the back and shoulders, the density of the sebaceous glands is almost the same as on the face, so it is not surprising that we can see the appearance of acne in these areas.

    The second common cause of is improper maintenance. Using body products containing comedogenic ingredients (you should immediately forget about oils in the back and shoulder area), one way or another, will lead to acne. This cannot be avoided! So, as soon as you notice acne on your body, you need to change care products and for the first time use antiseptics with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide in the composition.

    The third reason is improper showering. If you wash your body first, and only then your hair, then dirty water with the remnants of shampoo, mask and balm will flow down your back and shoulders, provoking the risk of acne. So – first I wash my hair, and only then – the body.

    The fourth reason is self-tanning. Some girls seriously believe that imperfections are not noticeable on a tanned body. And, since many have already figured out that ultraviolet light can provoke the appearance of acne, they switched to self-tanning, which, although it does not cause photoaging of the skin, but acne is easy. The same blockage of the sebaceous glands is to blame.

    The fifth reason is hormonal failure. And with this already to the doctor for diagnosis. Only he will determine what exactly caused acne, prescribe the right medications and prescribe the right treatment. A doctor should also be consulted when a change of care does not help. This means only one thing – the problem is not on the surface, but inside.

    How to cure acne on the body?


    Pay attention to what you wash with. Body cleansers should be gentle, free of harsh ingredients, and preferably contain antibacterial and antioxidant ingredients. The latter will just “monitor” the appearance of new rashes and control the activity of the sebaceous glands.

    We advise you to pay your attention to the Juno Sangtumeori Peeling Soap series. It perfectly cleanses the skin of dirt and is suitable for daily use. There are eight products in the series, which differ in the basis and end result. For example, for those who have noticed acne on their body, soap with acai berry extract, aloe vera, charcoal and green tea is ideal.


    Mechanical exfoliation should not be abused – it washes away the natural protective barrier from the skin, and can also injure existing pimples on the body, which can lead to infection of the wound and the spread of acne to a larger surface. It is recommended to use a body scrub no more than once a week, wash with a washcloth once every 2-3 days (the rest of the time, just take a shower).

    Nice and soft body scrub – Elizavecca Greentea Salt Body Scrub. It consists of 75% sea salt and 25% plant extracts (including green tea), so there is no doubt about its anti-comedogenicity. Scrub qualitatively removes the keratinized layer of cells from the surface of the epidermis, while not injuring the skin. Regular use of the product will help to make the skin clearer, smoother and more even.


    Be sure to cleanse the skin after playing sports (again, with gentle means). Sweat is not the best helper in the fight against acne – it only provokes the appearance of new ones, but we generally keep quiet about the unpleasant smell. So immediately after training in the shower, forgetting about embarrassment. Before home, it is better not to endure and wash in the shower of the sports club.

    The Saem Body & Soul Cotton Milk Body Wash is ideal for this purpose. It consists of a whole complex of useful components, including milk proteins, argan and cottonseed oils, fatty acids, vitamin E and phytosterols. The gel gently cleanses the skin of sweat, dirt and dead cells, gently cares for and moisturizes the cells. After using the product, you will have only positive impressions, a pleasant aroma, velvety and delicate skin.


    Lebelage Moisture Soothing Gel can be applied after cleansing. Any gel from the series is suitable for problem skin of the body, moisturizes, soothes and softens it, as well as relieves rashes and relieves inflammation. The texture of the product is quite light, quickly absorbed and leaves no sticky residue behind.


    If you have pimples on your body, tanning, and especially solarium, is contraindicated! The skin under the action of ultraviolet sweats, thereby provoking the appearance of pimples. In addition, UV rays, contrary to the opinion that they dry out pimples, on the contrary, increase the risk of their healing. It’s all about the production of melanin, which significantly reduces collagen synthesis, so scars and post-acne heal much more slowly.


    You also need to pay attention to what you eat and what you sleep on. It is recommended to exclude foods with a high glycemic index from the diet – chips, sweets, baked goods, chips, carbonated drinks. It is also advisable to drink less dairy products, minimize sugar and salt intake. The fact is that the metabolic rate and the activity of the sebaceous glands directly depend on nutrition.


    Breathable and natural fabrics are recommended as synthetics increase perspiration, cause friction and further irritate the skin causing acne. As for bed linen, it should be changed every two weeks. While we sleep, our microbes colonize the linen and periodically migrate to our skin, provoking the appearance of acne. Such is the cycle.

    Items from Article

    They’re Back: 15 Stupid Acne Questions

    By pimples we mean acne or acne. Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease manifested by open and closed comedones and inflammatory skin lesions in the form of papules, pustules, and nodules. According to the clinical picture, acne is divided into comedonal, papulo-pustular, nodular and conglobate.

    The first type, comedones, is a clinical manifestation of the accumulation of sebum and keratin in the hair follicle. If the comedone has a narrow opening of the follicle, it is considered closed. Open comedones are called blackheads. We see them thanks to the pigment melanin and the wide open opening of the follicles.

    The second type, papulo-pustular acne, is pronounced inflamed nodules 2-4 mm in diameter, rising above the surface of the skin and leaving behind an abscess. Papulopustular acne can be mild, moderate or severe.

    The third type is nodular and conglobate acne, which appears as numerous nodes on the back, neck and shoulders. Due to the bacterial process inside, such acne becomes bluish-purple in color. They are hard to the touch, but soften over time and often exude pus. After them, atrophic, hypertrophic or keloid scars often remain on the skin.

    Pathological changes are associated with dysfunction and inflammation of the sebaceous glands. Normally, the sebaceous gland produces sebum that moisturizes the skin and acids that protect it from bacteria. For various reasons, there is a violation of the sebaceous gland, inflammation and blockage of the mouth of the hair follicle.

    Basically, the appearance of acne is related to how active the sebaceous glands are. For someone, they produce a lot of secretion: it stagnates, the gland increases in size and a plug is formed that prevents normal operation. An ideal environment is formed for the reproduction of bacterial flora and inflammation. The second common cause is hyperandrogenism: a condition in which the level of male sex hormones is increased, affecting the level of secretion of the sebaceous glands.

    Acne is inherited. Knowing the characteristics of the skin of the parents, it is possible to predict how the disease will proceed in the child. For example, you can determine how much secretion will be produced in the glands and whether it will stagnate, forming an ideal environment for inflammation. You can also identify the risk of developing hyperandrogenism.

    External causes of acne include stress, drugs, cosmetics, improper care, skin trauma, environmental pollution. Smoking can also be attributed to this, but it does not so much provoke the appearance of acne as it negatively affects the course of the disease. Alcohol abuse can lead to rosacea, a skin disease accompanied by vasodilation, persistent redness of the face, neck, and acne. Their appearance is associated with disruption of the vessels and skin inflammation, in place of which papules and pustules appear. They look like acne but have a different trigger.

    As for food, it is worth paying attention to the so-called “acnegenic components of food.” These include casein and whey protein, which is often found in sports nutrition. With excessive consumption, “steroid acne” may appear. Also, milk is a powerful provocateur of the disease – it contains androgens that increase the production of sebum. To a lesser extent, chocolate can harm, but there are no reliable studies with a serious sample and duration on its account.

    In these places – they are also called seborrheic zones – the most sebaceous glands: up to 400 per 1 cm². Adolescents and adults have different problem areas. This is due to age-related changes, the death of some sebaceous glands and the appearance of new ones in other places. For example, acne in teenagers often appears in the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin), and in adults – in the U-zone (cheeks, lips, chin).

    Advertising should always be treated with caution. I don’t think that funds bought on the advice of the Internet or TV can do much harm – rather, they simply won’t help.

    A person sees an advertisement for an acne cream, uses it, sees no effect, comes to the doctor, and only at the appointment realizes that the stage of the disease already involves the appointment of pills inside, and external therapy is useless. Or another situation – rumors about the miraculous effect of laundry soap, which only alkalizes the pH balance of the skin, disrupts its microbiome and creates a favorable environment for the reproduction of C. acnes bacteria. The myth about the benefits of the sun is also popular. In fact, under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, a “keratin plug” is formed that disrupts the physiological outflow of secretions. At the same time, bacteria clogged in the dermis multiply more actively, and there are more rashes.