Natural Remedies for Back Acne

Stay bacne-free with a few simple changes to your daily routine

Back acne is never enjoyable, but a summer wardrobe of tank tops and swimsuits may make you especially self-conscious. While medicated creams and cleansers are usually the top choices for treatment, a number of natural remedies and simple tricks may also help banish back acne.

Like all forms of acne, back acne (also known in its shortened form, "bacne") occurs when the hair follicles beneath the skin become clogged. The overproduction of oil, bacterial buildup, and inflammation of oil-producing glands can all play a part in pimple development. And since pores on the back are significantly larger than facial pores, they can become clogged much more easily and quickly set the stage for back breakouts.

If you’re struggling with back blemishes, you’re far from being alone. Research shows that about half of the people with acne suffer from a condition called “truncal acne” (i.e., zits that turn up on your back, chest, and shoulders).


Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil

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Studies suggest that tea tree oil (an essential oil long used in aromatherapy) may help kill the skin-dwelling bacteria involved in acne. Some body washes use tea tree oil as a key ingredient, which could help alleviate back acne.


Natural Exfoliators

Basket of exfoliators

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Exfoliating removes dead cells from your skin, which can keep pores from getting clogged. With the help of a dry brush, you can slough off dead skin cells. Mixing equal parts brown sugar and raw honey make a nice DIY body scrub. 

It's important to note that this is a preventative strategy; it's best not to scrub skin when trying to reduce active acne, as this may cause additional inflammation and irritation.


Low-Glycemic Foods

Following a diet with a low glycemic load can help prevent back acne.
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Filling up on foods with a high glycemic load (such as candy, sugary drinks, white rice, french fries, and low-fiber cereals) may leave you more acne-prone.

To possibly improve your skin and boost your overall health, follow a diet with a low glycemic load by opting for fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, and beans.


Botanical Emollients

Argan oil, neem oil, shea butter, tamanu oil and sea buckthorn oil are less likely to clog pores and may therefore help prevent back acne.
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Since body creams and massage oils containing mineral oil, synthetic lanolin, and cocoa butter may aggravate acne, try hydrating with plant-derived products that are oil-free (like aloe vera gel) or are less likely to clog pores, such as argan oil, neem oil, shea butter, tamanu oil, and sea buckthorn oil.


Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Eating anti-inflammatory foods can help prevent future breakouts.
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Because inflammation and acne are closely linked, focusing your diet on anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, certain kinds of nuts, whole grains, and beans may help reduce future outbreaks of back acne.


Reduced Dairy Intake

Easing up on dairy could help fend off back acne. Try using plant-based milk instead.
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Easing up on dairy could help fend off back acne. Research suggests that androgens and growth hormones found in milk products may stimulate acne development.


Stress Management Techniques

Meditating woman

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There’s some evidence that stress makes acne worse. In a small study published in Archives of Dermatology in 2003, for example, college students experienced more severe acne during exam periods.

For help in keeping back acne at bay, try taking up stress-reducing practices like yoga and meditation.


Zinc-Rich Foods

Food rich in zinc, such as spinach, can help curb the skin's oil production, hence preventing acne.
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Some research indicates that zinc (an essential mineral) may help tame acne-related inflammation and curb your skin’s production of oil. You can boost your zinc intake with such foods as wheat germ, oysters, pumpkin seeds, and spinach.


White Willow Bark

White willow bark contains salicylic acid, which can be used to treat acne
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Salicylic acid is a common ingredient in over-the-counter acne cleansers and treatments. For milder acne, applying it on the skin helps to unclog pores by correcting the abnormal shedding of skin cells.

Although products are usually made with salicylic acid that has been synthesized, the chemical is also found naturally in white willow bark. While there's no evidence that white willow bark products are more effective than those made with salicylic acid, they may be an option for people who want to avoid certain ingredients in conventional over-the-counter products.

A Word From Verywell

Although these remedies haven’t been tested against back acne in particular, it’s possible that they could help keep your skin clear. Just make sure to talk to your doctor before using any type of natural remedies or dietary supplements for severe cases of bacne.

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