How to get rid of acne scars on back

Previously I have covered the topic of sweat pimples which often appear on the back, hence we associate them with back acne. However, not all back acne are sweat pimples, vice versa. Back acne can appear for the same reason as facial acne. It can be due to hormonal changes, stress, bad hygiene, etc. What frustrating is not only the active back acne, but also back acne scars. Let’s talk more about how to get rid of acne scars on back.

Preventing dark acne scars on the back

how to get rid of acne scars on back_back facial

Acne scars on the back can be frustrating. If you are prone to hyperpigmentation from your facial acne, you are likely to have hyperpigmentation from your back acne as well. Before you focus on how to get rid of acne scars on back, you should focus on getting the back acne under control first. The more you have active acne on the back, the more dark acne scars you may get. You can choose to have back facial, where they remove blackheads and clogged pores on your back. These blackheads or clogged pores can be recipes for active acne. 

Also, my mistake with my own acne on the back is I picked them. And it was difficult not to do that back then because it was itchy and painful. So, I squeezed and picked on them. This is not advisable at all, please do not do this at any cost. If you can go to dermatologist straight away to control the active back acne, please do it. 

When you have active acne or even dark acne scars on your back, refrain from sunbathing under the sun baring your back. This is because the sunlight can actually worsen your hyperpigmentation on the back. Cover your back for now and limit the UV overexposure on your back. 

Get rid of dark acne scars on back

The question remains, how to get rid of acne scars on back? There are some ways to do it.

Back exfoliation using BHA

I have written before about my love for Paula’s Choice products especially its BHA 2% in another post. Not only that I use it for my face, I also use it on my back. This is helpful in exfoliating the skin as well as making sure the pores are clear. As mentioned earlier, if you want to deal with the acne scars on back, you will need to also stop the new acne scars from appearing.

Increase cell turnover using Tretinoin

Tretinoin or retinoic acid helps our facial skin to be smoother and brighter post-acne. This is because tretinoin helps to increase skin turnover, hence revealing the skin underneath. Same goes for our back. If you want to get rid of the top layer of the skin faster, you can apply tretinoin on your dark acne scars as well. Make sure you moisturize your back too after you do this as tretinoin can cause peeling.

Acne scars brightening using Vitamin C

Vitamin C serum is super useful to brighten my facial hyperpigmentation. To get rid of dark acne scars on back, I put generous amount of this serum to cover the broad area of my back affected by the acne scars. I put it every night before sleep, and wait until it dries before I put on clothes. You can use any type of vitamin C serum. In my case I use the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum that I love.

Laser skin rejuvenation treatment for acne scars

If you have extra funds, you can choose to go to a clinic to do laser treatment to get rid of dark acne scars on back. However, this can be quite expensive as normally for laser treatment, they will charge you based on how big is the area that needs to be treated. If your back acne scars cover a large area on your back, this can be very costly. Read more about my experience doing laser acne scar removal treatment in Singapore.

How to get rid acne scars on back effectively?

If you follow the recommendations above, I am pretty sure you will see some improvements with your acne scars on the back. However, do not just treat the acne scars topically, but also from within. Drink enough water. Exercise and get the body moving and the body sweaty. Take vitamins that are high in antioxidant like Vitamin C, that can help with your immune system and also make your skin brighter and glowing from within. I have been religiously putting Vitamin C, tretinoin and BHA on rotation every night; while at the same time taking Vitamin C daily.

See my back acne in December 2021 vs today – the dark acne scars are not completely gone but a least they are fading away, and also I have close to none active back acne.

how to get rid of acne scars on back_back facial December 2021
how to get rid of acne scars on back_back facial May 2022

Sweat Pimples: Get rid of this back acne!

Sweat pimples suck and I bet everyone agrees on this. It is always that something that holds me back from buying tops or dresses with low cut. My chest or back acne is not always there, but they often appear suddenly on days when I need to wear more revealing tops or dresses – who can relate? A lot of times, your back acne or chest acne can be sweat pimples. Basically, it is a deadly combination of sweat, heat and friction with other surfaces that causes these pimples to appear. We have previously touched facial acne like pimples on temples on this blog. Now we will talk about sweat pimples, which normally appear on the body.

bacne meme.jpeg

Does sweat cause pimples?

Sweat itself does not cause pimples. But a combination of sweat, bacteria on the skin, heat, friction with other surfaces like clothing can cause pimples to appear. Pimples are basically infection, and sweat alone will not cause infection. 

How to get rid of these sweat pimples?

Whenever I have these pimples, there are some tricks that I have tried and worked well so far. You can test it yourself. There is no guarantee they will work, but it’s worth trying. I have little sweat pimples on my back now, as you can see in this photo here.

sweat pimples_clear back

Cold(er) water for shower

The first time I had bacne breakout was during winter in Hong Kong. During that time, I really enjoyed taking a long hot shower after work. Little did I know, it caused a very bad breakout on my back. Huge angry pimples appearing on my back and I needed to treat them with my pimple cream. Eventually what calmed the pimples down was by applying moisturizer on my back. From this experience, I learnt that what caused the breakout was the skin on my back being overly dry and it was due to the hot shower.

From there, I tried to lower the temperature of the water I use for shower and when I wanted to indulge myself in hot shower I would still do it but for a shorter period of time. I would suggest using colder water for shower, or even cold water if you can take it. Apart from benefitting our skin, cold shower is good for our hair and also gives several other medical benefits.

Change the order within your shower routine

What is your shower routine? The best routine to get rid of sweat pimples is one that ensure residue from your conditioner does not remain on your back. This can aggravate the clogged pores that caused these pimples in the first place. 

My routine is shampoo-rinse-conditioner-rinse-bodywash-rinse. Also, after rinsing the conditioner I’ll put my hair up so that it does not touch my back, and then i go ahead with my bodywash. Doing the bodywash at the last part of the shower routine will make sure that all the remains from the conditioner will be washed away.

Use gentle cleanser for your back

Skin on our back can be sensitive to harsh chemicals too. Similar to the way we treat our facial skin, use gentle cleanser without harsh surfactants for our back. I personally used Dettol (original) bar soap when I suffered from sweat pimples and back acne and it helped greatly in reducing the pimple occurrence. You can also use any body cleanser containing Salicylic Acid, which can help to exfoliate the skin chemically, not just physically.

Gently scrub the back and chest when showering

Your back is like your face, it needs some exfoliation once in a while. Use loofah or shower puff to scrub your back gently. Depending on the severity of the sweat pimples or back acne, be mindful when scrubbing your back. This is to avoid aggravating the sweat pimples by scrubbing it to hard.

Wear breathable fabric and looser fit for clothing

I am very picky about clothing material – it needs to be breathable and comfortable on my skin. I do not think this is the trigger of the pimples on my back, but I believe some clothing materials can increase the likelihood of sweat pimples. Avoid wearing tight and pressing clothing when you are having these pimples or back acne. Also, use materials that are breathable and sweat-absorbing like cotton. Sweat, humidity, and dirt trapped together is recipe for sweat pimples and back acne.

Avoid carrying backpack

This is based on my personal experience when I was studying for university in HK. Summer days are unforgivingly hot and humid. I always carried a backpack with my books and laptop inside. My back acne flared up during that time, which I believe is caused by the sweaty back and the backpack that I carried blocking the sweat from evaporating. Moreover, when your back is wet and then it comes into contact with your backpack that you wash only once in a while, the bacteria from your backpack can come in touch with your skin eventually. It goes without saying that this is a recipe for sweat pimples.. Let your back breathe by carrying tote bag temporarily!

How to prevent these sweat pimples? Or, is it possible to prevent it? 

If you are active in playing sports and are often sweaty, it will be hard to prevent these pimples at all. Also, if you live in a humid hot weather, you can’t run away from sweat pimples either. You can lower the chance of getting these pimples though if you follow the recommendations above. 

Nonetheless, sweat pimples or back acne issues are more than skin deep. There might be other factors that increase your tendency to develop sweat pimples or back acne. You can try to solve your body acne issues using a multi-pronged approach. For example, exercise more, do the Japanese water therapy, eat more fresh vegetables and eliminate junk food, take supplements that support skin health like zinc, among many others. The cause of these pimples/acne can vary greatly among individuals and there is no one size fits all solution so trial and error might be needed to find the best solution for yourself.

Learn more about acne and skin health with me!