It’s wedding season. You’re the maid of honor in two weddings and a bridesmaid in three. And, as if worrying about breakouts on your face wasn’t stressful enough, almost all of your bridesmaid dresses are backless. Cue panic. And frantic googling of “how to treat back acne” and “how to get rid of acne scars on back.”
While suffering from the dreaded back acne, or “bacne,” is certainly not uncommon nor something to be ashamed of, you want the focus to be on your dress, the ceremony, and the stunning floral arrangements. You don’t want to feel like everyone’s eyes are on your back instead.
Bacne refers to acne that—you guessed it—appears on the back in the form of bumps, whiteheads, or blackheads. The severity of bacne ranges from mild (small bumps) to deep, cystic acne, and it develops mostly on the upper back and shoulders because that’s where the most oil is produced. Excessive sweating and tight clothing, combined with movement and friction, can quickly lead to a breakout. Fluctuating hormones are a culprit, too. Luckily, bacne treatment exists, but if you want to clear back acne, it’ll take a little extra effort.
Here are 4 wedding skin care tips and tricks on how to treat back acne
Notice a bacne flareup during your final fitting? Don’t panic! Just remember to follow these tips to help you clear back acne before the big day—and keep it from happening again.
1. Cleanse and exfoliate regularly—and gently.
Look, we get it: It’s unbelievably tempting to cleanse and exfoliate using some hefty elbow grease, then slather a drying mask on your back or apply heavy astringents in the hopes of clearing up bacne ASAP. Pro tip: Don’t! Cleansing and exfoliating regularly is important, but it’s just as important to avoid overdoing it and stripping your skin’s essential oils.
Some things to keep in mind when going about your routine:
- Simple is better. Use the same, gentle cleanser morning and evening. Your skin wants and needs consistency—not chaos.
- Opt for a gentle, non-irritating exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants, like those containing PHAs, are ideal for sensitive skin.
- Start by gently exfoliating once a week. Over exfoliating, either by using a harsh exfoliant or by doing it too frequently, can send the sebaceous glands into overdrive and continue the vicious bacne cycle.
- Check the ingredients. Body cleansers formulated with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can fight bacne and prevent future breakouts.
2. Follow up with a hydrating SPF body lotion.
Growing up, you were probably told to “dry out” acne, but that’s harmful to skin already irritated and in need of a little relief and hydration. When you’re heading out for a day in the sunshine, your skin absolutely needs protection.
Apply a lightweight moisturizer with SPF and calming ingredients to provide relief and give your skin's protective layer a boost. Wearing lotion with SPF in the sun is absolutely crucial for anyone prone to bacne; the sun’s UVA and UVB can darken areas of hyperpigmentation, make acne scars more noticeable, and cause more breakouts.
3. Apply a spot treatment.
Spot treatments are a targeted way to treat breakouts on both the face and back. While there are creams on the market specifically designed to spot-treat bacne, you can also use the same treatment you normally use on your face. To prevent your bacne treatment from getting wiped off or diluted, apply moisturizer first, wait a few minutes for it to fully absorb, and then apply spot treatment. (Or have someone help you apply it. We’re talking about the most unreachable part of the body here!)
Look for bacne-battling ingredients like:
√ Salicylic acid
√ Benzoyl peroxide
√ Zinc oxide
√ Hydrocolloid (an active ingredient found in acne patches)
If you’re struggling with painful or stubborn cystic bacne, consider a visit to a dermatologist. Whatever you do, don’t squeeze! Squeezing a cyst can make it worse and trap sebum and bacteria further underneath. And some cysts are so deep that DIY treatment won’t even make a dent. Leave it to the pros if you want to reduce the risk of infection.
4. Use a healing lotion daily to help fade and prevent scarring.
When the skin’s protective layer is damaged, irritants can easily worsen conditions and lead to scarring or hyperpigmentation. Your skin needs 24-hour moisture to heal and restore its appearance, and using a shielding lotion keeps skin hydrated and protected while enhancing its natural defenses.
Look for nourishing ingredients like arnica flower and aloe vera gel. They can treat a variety of skin conditions and regenerate the growth of new, healthy skin cells over time.
Enjoy the day—bacne or not
Although you’re beautiful with or without head-to-toe clear skin, if you’re diligent with your wedding skincare routine (and maybe go easy on the junk food), your skin will eventually return the favor. And you definitely won’t have to spend any more time worrying about how to treat back acne if you use the right products, like Skin MD and its SKIN MD Shielding Lotion. With consistency and a little patience, you’ll get the results you want!
If your bacne isn’t 100% cleared up come go-time, enjoy the day regardless! No one has perfect skin, and a day to dress up and party with loved ones shouldn’t be dampened by something as common and stubborn as bacne.
Back to Skincare