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No idea how those annoying, unsightly pimples travelled from your face to your back?

You’re not alone because bacne is more common than we may think, especially in hot and humid weather like Singapore.

The tricky part? Back acne is hard to eliminate without proper treatment and it should be treated early to prevent any scarring regardless if you’re in your 20s, 40s, or beyond.

If you’re dreaming of the day when you’ll dare to bare your back with confidence, read on for the ultimate bacne guide, including tips on managing the condition and the best bacne treatments Singapore has to offer.

What is Back Acne (AKA Bacne)?

Back acne, also known as “bacne,” is a common skin condition that causes pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads to develop on your back.

It’s similar to regular acne that appears on the face but can be more challenging to treat due to its location and the friction from clothing.

According to Fazila Rajab in Dermatology Times, bacne has “a global lifetime prevalence of 70% to 85%”. This condition “affects about 48% to 52% of patients with facial acne and is slightly more prevalent in men than in women”.

It was noted that acne usually affects the upper back, upper chest, lower back, shoulders and extremities, and even the neck.

Additionally, approximately 9.4% of people live with the condition worldwide, which makes it among the top ten prevalent diseases worldwide.

Types of Back Acne

back acne treatment singapore

Credit: Depositphotos

What are the signs you’re suffering from back acne? Take a closer step towards your mirror and look for these symptoms:

  • Blackheads: Small, dark bumps that form when sebum and dead skin cells clog the opening of a pore.
  • Whiteheads: Closed comedones or pimples that haven’t yet reached the surface of the skin. They appear as small, white bumps.
  • Papules: Small, red bumps that develop when the walls of a clogged pore become inflamed.
  • Pustules: Pimples with a white or yellow head filled with pus, which is a mixture of white blood cells and dead bacteria.
  • Nodules: Large, painful bumps that develop deep within the skin.
  • Cysts: The most severe form and are large, pus-filled bumps that can leave scars.

What Causes Back Acne (Bacne)?


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Not sure if you might have caused your own bacne issues? Here’s a checklist of internal and external factors that could contribute to pesky zits on your body.

  • Excess oil production: Just like facial acne, back blemishes are triggered by sebaceous glands producing too much sebum, the oily substance that keeps your skin hydrated. This excess oil can clog pores and create a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Dead skin cell buildup: When dead skin cells don’t shed properly, they can mix with sebum and clog pores, leading to pimples and blackheads.
  • Sweat: Sweating can irritate the skin and worsen acne, especially if you wear tight-fitting clothes that trap sweat against your back.
  • Hormonal changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly during puberty or menstruation, can contribute to increased oil production and acne breakouts.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as steroids, lithium, and some anticonvulsants, can have a side effect of acne.

How to Prevent and Get Rid of Back Acne

The age-old question we should all be asking is: “how can we banish bacne from our lives forever?”.


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Well, here are some things you can do to manage and prevent back acne:

  1. Keep your back clean: Wash your back twice a day with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water. Avoid using harsh soaps or scrubs, which can irritate the skin.
  2. Exfoliate regularly: Use a gentle exfoliating scrub or brush to remove dead skin cells. Be careful not to over-exfoliate, as this can irritate the skin.
  3. Wear loose-fitting clothing: Avoid tight-fitting clothes that trap sweat and rub against your back. Opt for natural fabrics like cotton or linen.
  4. Shower after sweating: If you sweat a lot, shower after exercise or physical activity to remove sweat and bacteria from your skin.
  5. Manage stress: Stress can worsen acne. Try relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation to manage stress levels.
  6. See a dermatologist: If your blemishes are severe or doesn’t improve with home care, see a dermatologist. They can prescribe medication or other personalised treatments to help clear your skin.

With proper care and treatment, bacne can be managed and controlled. Here are some additional tips for dealing with bacne:

  • Avoid using oil-based moisturisers on your back.
  • Don’t pick at the acne. This can worsen inflammation and lead to scarring.
  • Wash your hair regularly, as oily hair can contribute to clogged pores.
  • Change your bedsheets and towels frequently.

Remember, patience is key, as it may take several weeks or even months to see significant improvement.

Back Acne vs. Face Acne: Treatments Tailored to Different Battlegrounds

back acne treatment singapore

Credits: @ainaalie/TikTok, @zett.k/TikTok

Both forms of blemishes are unwelcome guests on our skin, but when it comes to fighting them off, the “weapons” in your arsenal might need some adjustments.

While the basic premise of dealing with both is similar — cleansing, managing oil production, and treating inflammation — the unique properties of your back require a slightly different approach.

That means that your typical acne facial wash may not be the solution for your bacne!

Understanding the Enemy

The back has thicker skin, more sebum production, and constant friction from clothing. This makes back acne more stubborn and prone to deeper, painful lesions.

While the face also battles oil and dead skin cells, facial acne tends to be more superficial, presenting as blackheads, whiteheads, and papules. However, hormonal factors and stress can play a bigger role here.

Treatment Tips

When it comes to treating acne, consider using body washes containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide for your back, while salicylic acid alone or glycolic acid might be gentler for your face.

Topical products with benzoyl peroxide are a mainstay for both areas but can be more irritating on the back. Retinoids are also effective but oil-free formulas are better for your back.

Professional Treatments


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At times, you may not see any or many improvements from your at-home skincare and body care routine. Here’s when we appoint the help of professionals.

Treatments like chemical peels can be helpful for both facial and bacne. The same goes for extractions, but it’s more common for stubborn facial acne.

There are also micro-needling and light therapy, both gaining popularity, which may require more sessions for the back due to its thickness.

Best Back Acne Treatments in Singapore

How Fast Can I See Results From Back Acne Treatments?

The number of treatments needed to treat bacne varies greatly depending on severity, individual response, and treatment type.

Remember, everyone’s skin is different, and the number of treatments you need is unique to you.

It’s best to work with your dermatologist to determine the best approach and track your progress to adjust the treatment plan if needed!


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Mild cases may only require topical medications like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids used for a few weeks or months while moderate cases might require a combination of topical treatments, oral medication like antibiotics, and light therapy for several months.

Those with mild cases may see improvement within four to six weeks with consistent treatment. Meanwhile, improvement in moderate cases might take six to 12 weeks.

As for severe cases, it usually involve longer treatment plans with stronger medications and possibly procedures like extraction or laser therapy, potentially spanning several months to a year.

Individual Response

Some people’s skin responds quickly to initial treatments, while others may need a more extended course or adjustments to the routine.

Underlying factors like hormonal fluctuations or stress can also impact your overall treatment time.

Treatment Type

Topical medications generally take longer to show results than oral medications or procedures but require more consistent application.

Procedures like injections may offer faster results but might need repeat sessions.

Featured image credit: @mirageaesthetic/TikTok, @oxecure.ph/TikTok, @estheclinicsg/TikTok