Sad but true: Bacne happens. Those pores deep down your back get clogged, too. Luckily, Elizabeth Hale, a dermatologist in New York City, has helpful advice on how to treat (and prevent) backside breakouts. "One of the most common causes of back acne is sweaty clothes," says Hale. "Hair follicles in the back can trap sweat and bacteria and cause breakouts, so the first thing is to get out of that sweaty sports bra after the gym."
Next, rinse with a body wash that contains either salicylic acid (like Murad Acne Body Wash) or benzoyl peroxide (like Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser. Yes, it's a facial cleanser, but go ahead and use it it on your back.). "There are over-the-counter versions [like the Clean & Clear] with as much as ten percent benzoyl peroxide that work really well," says Hale.
A warning about benzoyl peroxide, though: It may have a bleaching effect on fabrics, so plan your post-shower wardrobe accordingly. "If you have mild breakouts, developing good habits and using one of these body washes should break the cycle within a few weeks," Hale says.
If the body wash isn't cutting it, head to your dermatologist for a prescription treatment like BenzEFoam, a peroxide foam that kills inflammation-causing bacteria in just minutes. "It's formulated so you can get the maximum penetration of benzoyl peroxide quickly and then wash it away, for less risk of irritation," says Hilary Baldwin, the medical director of the Acne Treatment and Research Center in Morristown, New Jersey.
Bottom line: Bacne happens — but, luckily, thanks to a myriad of breakout-busting products, it can be treated.