Welcome to your skin check-in with Life & Style’s resident health and beauty expert, Dr. Will Kirby, a celebrity dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of LaserAway. Every week, he’ll be spilling his candid thoughts and professional advice on all things skin, beauty and wellness as it relates to you — and your favorite stars.

Unsightly, potentially embarrassing and definitely annoying, back acne is multi-etiological. This means that “bacne” has multiple causes and thus, multiple treatments. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to treat and prevent. So here, I reached out to some of the top dermatologists in the nation to get their opinions on the most common treatment!

1) Shower Quickly:

“Sweat is a breeding ground for the bacteria associated with back acne, so take a shower immediately following a workout. This will remove potential irritation from sweat and minimize irritation from clothing that is saturated with sweat”, says Dr. Allison Tam.

2) Consider Wipes:

“If you can’t shower right after a workout, wipe off with one of the readily available makeup cloths or body cleansing wipes. This will help clear pores and minimize bacterial surface counts,” says me, Dr. Will Kirby

3) Clean Towels:

“Purchasing a couple of new towels and keeping them on a rotation is one of the most effective back acne prevention methods in my professional opinion,” Dr. Alpesh Desai informs Life and Style. “Old towels are a breeding ground for bacteria, so make sure you use a clean, dry towel after every shower.”

4) Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing:

“While it’s all the rage to wear body-hugging, compression garments, tight clothing can irritate or even occlude the hair follicle, leading to back acne”, says Connecticut-based dermatologist, Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson. “I love hot yoga, but I change into fuzzy pajamas as soon as I get home”.

5) Use a Medicated Wash:

Dr. Emily Rubinstein recommends using an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide wash each night: “This product will kill the bacteria that can cause back acne breakouts. It doesn’t work quickly, but if you stick with it you may see a reduction in back acne in just a few short weeks.”

6) OTC Creams:

“Medications that were once prescription-only are now available over-the-counter,” says Dr. Shaheen Khosla. “For back acne, I recommend applying Differin 0.1% to the back area each night”.  

7) Anti-Fungal:

“Sometimes back acne is actually an overgrowth of a yeast normally found on our skin, says first-year dermatology resident Dr. Renee Lucero. “So patients who have back acne that isn’t responding to traditional treatment should try using antifungal (anti-yeast) shampoo for a week. It needs to really lather up and I suggest using a back brush to gently apply it and scrub it in.”

8) Diet Matters:

“Eating foods with a low glycemic index can help minimize inflammatory acne,” says Dr. Angie Koriakos. “So, decrease intake of processed sugar and eliminate dairy products, if possible, and incorporate foods with high Omega-3s, like salmon, walnuts and avocados are a strong consideration, as well”.

9) Avoid the ‘Roids’:

“Inquiring about the use of anabolic steroids is important when discussing back acne with patients,” says Dr. Tejas Desai. “Hell yeah, looking jacked is awesome, bro, but gaining muscle via steroids and developing deep, potentially scarring, back acne often go hand-in-hand.”

10) Visit a Dermatologist:

If all else fails, visit a board-certified dermatologist. Prolonged back acne might need a more in-depth workup and might require oral prescription medications.