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Bacne: How to Cure and Cope

Updated on October 27, 2013
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Overview

Acne is a problem for many people of all ages around the world. It can be the biggest burden in one’s day-to-day life. As a 22 year-old female who just graduated from college, I’ll be the first to admit that my issues with acne have gotten in the way of a lot of fun in my life.

For me, the biggest issue has been the acne on my back. I’ve had bacne since I was 13, and throughout all of my teenage years and up to now I have had to be covered up because my acne was so severe. My case is a genetic issue, but there are many other causes of acne such as stress, diet, and hygiene, among other things.

Those with bacne are prevented from wearing the type of clothes they want, going to the pool or the beach, and even being intimate with someone in fear of them being turned off. It has gotten in the way of all of these aspects for myself as I’m sure it has for some of you too.

If you enter “bacne” in a search engine, you’ll most likely come across a bunch of nonsense “cures” and redundant articles telling you how to accept the body you're in. In all of my years dealing with bacne, I can tell you that none of those informercial-esque cures had a significant effect on my back. However, some of the things I have tried for my bacne may have a significant effect on some of you who have acne issues similar to mine.

Antibiotics (such as Tetracycline)

One medication that I’ve tried that may be effective for some of you is Tetracycline. Tetracycline is an antibiotic drug that is used to treat acne and other infections and it is meant to stop the growth of bacteria in the body, which is especially difficult to treat on the back.

Antibiotics have never been a sufficient choice for me because I tend to experience more of the side effects than the actual intended results. However, if antibiotics do not pose a problem for you or your body, I do recommend at least trying it out for a few weeks to see if it can be effective. But, you should research the side effects and more information about this antibiotic and consult with your physician before considering trying this medication out.

Pine Tar Soap

This may not be the first thing that would pop in your mind to help clear acne. But to my pleasant surprise, pine tar soap does do wonders for your skin. There goes the saying that “tar fixes everything.” While that may be true for some things, I cannot say that this and this alone will clear your acne. You should use it with other medications that you could be taking as well as with lotions that help clear your skin.The pine tar soap that I use is Grandpa’s Brand, which you can find at any GNC or vitamin shop near you.

Topical Ointments and/or Lotions

Ointments and lotions can be just as effective as prescription medications for some. For many years I used Differin on my face and chest, and it worked wonders for me in those areas. The only reasons it did not have an effect on my back was because my skin is very thick in that area and my acne is also the most severe there. However, since Differin did clear up the areas where I had less acne, it may work for those of you who only have mild to moderate acne on your back. It does not require you to orally take pills and it’s a very gentle lotion on the skin, but it is a prescription so you will have to consult your physician if you want to try this out.

With anything else, you must be patient. This lotion may take over 8 weeks to show results because it mainly works on the acne that is forming inside your skin, so your acne could worsen before it gets better. I must say though, this product is what completely cleared the acne on my face and I stand by it. Though it did not work on my back effectively, I recommend that you give it a try if you have the means and could see this working for you.

Other lotions that I also recommend are Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and Hempz Herbal Body Moisturizer:

  • Palmer’s Cocoa Butter is mainly meant for reducing the appearance of stretch marks, but I have found that it softens the skin and the blemishes on my back. That area of the skin is very thick, and this lotion helps soften and also reduce the appearance of scars on the back. You can find Palmer’s products in pharmacies and other stores such as Walmart and Target.
  • Hempz Herbal Body Moisturizer is not as easily accessible as Palmer’s Cocoa Butter but it is also an effective tool to use in curing your bacne. Like Palmer’s, it softens the skin and for me it has prevented any new blemishes from forming. It is also the most moisturizing lotion I have ever tried without being oily at all. I recommend this product for anybody, whether they suffer from acne or not. I buy my Hempz at Marshalls for about twelve dollars, but you can also find it at Sally’s Beauty Supply as well as online.

I mainly use both of these lotions to soften the skin and the existing scars. Also, both products are playing a part in preventing new blemishes from forming on my back. Keep in mind that my bacne is very stubborn, so anything that helps with my back is sure to help anyone with mild to moderate bacne as well.


Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is another method of clearing your skin, and it is one that many people vouch for. According to WebMd, benzoyl peroxide is a medication used to treat mild to moderate acne, intended to reduce the amount of bacteria that causes acne, allowing the skin to dry and peel. A good example of this is PanOxyl, which is an acne foaming wash. I use this from time to time on my back when my acne flares up more than usual. This wash is surprisingly gentle on the skin, and it does dry the skin as intended. Keep in mind, this product is not something you can solely depend on to help clear your skin; you should use it along with any lotions or prescription medications that work for you.

Birth Control Pills

One method that I can say has been the most effective for me has been birth control pills. I use Ortho Tri-Cyclen which is a more expensive brand but there are many generic versions that are more cost-effective and work the same way just fine. One may not think of birth control as a viable option for clearing acne, but it actually does help with a woman’s acne when they are not responding to other treatments or prescriptions.

Birth control pills help clear acne by reducing an oily substance called sebum from forming in your skin as well as rid of bacteria that plays a big role in producing acne. While this method has been the most effective for me, there are many side effects that must be addressed before thinking about taking this medication. Your condition may worsen before it gets better and you may experience other side effects such as hormonal changes as well as weight fluctuations. Consult your physician and research this medication as well as comparable brands if you are considering this option.

Accutane

Accutane is probably the one thing I have not tried to help clear my bacne. It is usually a last resort for many people who use it; doctors don’t like to prescribe it unless most other acne medicines or antibiotics have been prescribed and have not shown positive results. While the actual drug Accutane is no longer sold in the U.S., there are generic versions that you could ask your doctor about.

Drugs.com describes Accutane as being a form of vitamin A, and it’s intended to reduce oil from being produced in your skin.The medication is mostly prescribed for severe acne and is very effective, but if you have mild to moderate acne, I recommend trying all other options before resorting to this one.

That being said, it is important to address the side effects that can accompany this medication. While Accutane has been proven to produce significant results and clear severe acne, there are also many downsides to taking this drug. For example, if you’re a woman, the medication can cause life-threatening birth defects, which is why you are required to obtain two different types of birth control if you want to get on Accutane at all. You also would not be able to donate blood if you are on Accutane.

You can see a list of the side effects of this drug on Drugs.com or WebMD, but I’ll list some serious ones here:

  • Changes in mood, sleep, concentration, and behavior
  • Risk of seizures
  • Severe pain in stomach and flu symptoms
  • Hearing loss, loss of appetite, suicidal thoughts

Keep in mind that all medications are accompanied with side effects. It is a slightly more serious case with Accutane because the side effects from it have been proven to cause long-term physical and psychological problems for many who have taken it. I urge anyone reading this to try all other viable methods of clearing your skin before resorting to this one because of the many risks that are associated with it.

All of the options above will have different effects on different body and acne types. Aside from Accutane, these methods are all ones I have tried multiple times and they all work in their own way for different people. Keep in mind that I am not a professional when it comes to clearing acne, I just want to extend the olive branch to those who are in the same place I've been in for years.

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Tips for Everyday

There are a few tips that are good to know for everyday life. If you make a habit of them, you are sure to see a positive difference in your skin in good time:

  • Keep a gentle wash in your shower and don’t use a standard soap to wash your back. Generally these regular soaps are not meant to help treat acne and have chemicals that could cause more damage to the skin you’re trying to clear. PanOxyl and Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap are good options, but another good wash for your whole body is Cetaphil's body wash. You’re guaranteed to find the right wash for you at your local drugstore or pharmacy.
  • You must also remember to never scrub your back when you wash it. You have to gently massage it with a loofa or shower sponge because any irritation to that area will just cause redness and more proneness to new acne formation. If you fight your acne, the acne will win and flare up more. Work with it and be patient and you will see results.
  • Once you’re out of the shower, be sure to always pat the skin dry; don’t wipe the skin with your towel because this too will cause unnecessary irritation to the skin.
  • I also recommend wearing mainly loose-fitted shirts that don’t cling to the skin, especially the back. Tight shirts can cause you to produce more sweat in the back area, thus causing more oil to be produced, eventually leading to new acne formation. You can go to many stores nowadays that have shirts with a covered back that are also loose fitting. FYI: loose fitted shirts flatter every body type. And you can always count on them for comfort.

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Bacne is a very frustrating issue for anyone who suffers from it. It has been almost ten years since I first started getting bacne, but I can say the scarring has significantly gone down in those years. In all the trials and tribulations I’ve gone through in trying to clear my skin, the most important lesson I’ve learned is that if you don’t pester with it and are gentle, your bacne will fade quicker. Most of my scars are a result of me picking at my skin and not letting the blemishes heal on their own.

You must also cope with the fact that your bacne will not fade overnight if you do find something that works for you. It takes time and you must have faith in your skin, but you can be sure that you will not suffer from it forever. Acne eventually fades with age and especially time and patience.

I hope that some of these tips and methods I've given help you all in your quest for clear skin. Good luck!

© 2013 Ameera Nassir

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    • crreamm profile image
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      Ameera Nassir 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks! It took years for me to accept it, but now I'm finally working with it. Everyday it gets better.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 3 years ago from USA

      Great information here on how to deal with acne on your back. Voted up.

    • Earl Noah Bernsby profile image

      Earl Noah Bernsby 3 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      This Hub was informative and attractively organized. I also think that it was courageous of you to share your personal struggles with acne over the years.