Sweating underneath layers of heavy clothing in the wintertime is bound to produce some unsightly pimples on your back. "Bacne," short for back acne, is a common skin concern that many folks face during the colder months—you can thank the trapped sweat between your skin and clothing for that.
The causes of back acne are the same culprits that produce facial acne: P. acnes bacteria and excess sebum production getting trapped under the skin. “Bacne impacts all skin types and is more commonly triggered by lifestyle than by skin type,” says Deanne Mraz Robinson, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and president and co-founder of Modern Dermatology in Westport, CT. “For example, I see it in a lot of my patients who work out frequently.
While there are many medicated back acne treatments on the market, prevention is important. “Trapped sweat can further clog pores and breed more of the acne-causing bacteria,” Robinson says. “The Arm & Hammer Invisible Spray Powder for Body ($6.97, Walmart) is a great formula with odor-neutralizing ingredients to absorb moisture and sweat—it can be sprayed and applied on the back.”
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As for how to treat back acne? Exercise in breathable fabrics and keep skin clean and dry by showering or using a cleansing wipe as soon as you can after a workout. “Switch over to a medicated body wash, like the CLn SportWash ($33, Modern Dermatology of Connecticut), and to spot treat, use the KILLA Kit by ZitSticka ($29, Amazon),” Robinson says. “Also, just as you would with the face, be sure you're using an oil-free body lotion, like CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($10.69, Target).”
Related: The Best Makeup for Acne-Prone Skin
Robinson advises looking for ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, and sulfur when searching for products to treat back acne. Here are a few more tried-and-true products to help put an end to your bacne this winter.