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You’re going about life in your ordinary way and then bam, you whip off your shirt to notice a foreign crop circle formation on your back. It’s red, inflamed, painful and possibly on the verge of a pus-fuelled eruption. Straight up, you are embarrassed, frustrated and completely aware that your confidence lies on the brink of being self-torn to shreds. We’re talking about back acne aka bacne. A skin condition commonly caused by hormones or a build-up of excess sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells that leads to blemishes on the skin’s surface of your back.

Back acne is a somewhat incontrollable force, causing you to think twice about removing your shirt at the beach, pool, gym and basically every other cool location on earth. Because, if busting out zits wasn’t enough of a problem alone, positioning them on a body part that’s barely reachable by non-gymnast hands is plain unfair. We get it. So, we’re helping a brother out with 6 reasons that can contribute towards back acne, and tips to prevent future breakouts.

Let the battle against bacne begin!

Your body and hair cleansing routine

When you think about your body and hair cleansing routine, why do you choose the products you use? Is it because they smell great? Are the cheapest on the pharmacy shelf? When it comes to back acne prevention, a change in hair and body products could be the simplest place to start. The shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, body cream, body washes, and sunscreen can clog pores, causing you to breakout on your back.

Opt for oil-free or non-comedogenic products. These are specifically formulated with ingredients that won’t block pores. When washing your hair, always make sure you wash product residue off your back before stepping onto the bathmat. And, long haired dudes, flip your hair to the front when rinsing to avoid shampoo residue.

Poor dietary habits

When it comes to the meals on your plate, upping your fresh fruit and vegetable game will prove beneficial towards the state of your skin. Fresh produce is loaded with vitamins and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Carbohydrates and dairy, on the other hand, can affect people differently. Your mate, Tom, may be able to slam an entire round of brie with no back-zit side effects, however this may not be the case for you. The exception to this rule is sugar! This is one ‘food’ group that totally dominates breakout contribution. So, spare the family-sized block of chocolate for a fun-sized treat and you’ll do your back a massive favour.

Bonus tip; dehydration is key is acne prevention. Make sure you’re ticking those eight glasses of water off your daily to do list.

Post workout routine

It’s simple, really; after your workout, shower asap. Your sweaty workout gear is a breeding ground for bacteria with big dreams of becoming back acne. And, while we’re big believers of everyone chasing their dreams, bacteria just ain’t one dream we’re getting behind. 99-percent of the time your gym will have an on-site shower – use it.


When the human body experiences a spike in hormones, it tends to cleanse itself via its largest organ, the skin. Case in point; male bodybuilders. Ever seen a male bodybuilder with bacne? That’s because male bodybuilders often experiment with steroids or hormonal enhancements. When the bodybuilder’s body experiences a rapid bout of excess testosterone, it rids itself via the skin (commonly the back). And, hello back breakouts.

Unclean bedlinen

You spend approximately one third of every day between your sheets, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that dead skin cells and bacteria accumulate in your bedlinen during that time. We can only imagine how much the bodily debris increases when you share your bed with a casual fling or long-term lover. Wash your bedlinen every 7-10 days, leaning towards the weekly mark if you’re prone to back breakouts.

Hair removal habits

If you shave or wax your back, your hair removal method of choice could be causing blocked pores. To prevent bacne, always use a clean razor, treat the back area with a product that disinfects the pores (witch hazel), and let your skin breath by going shirtless for a few hours afterwards.

This blog is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your medical practitioner.