What is acne?
Acne is a painful skin disorder that can affect women at any age but most commonly occurs during puberty. It’s a common skin disease, and though it’s not a serious health concern, it can lead to scarring.
Acne breakouts occur in four primary ways:
- Excess oil production (When your body’s oil glands overproduce sebum, the excess sebum sits on the top layer of your skin and clogs your pores. These pores get inflamed and create various types of pimples.)
- Bacteria (A bacteria called P. acnes can grow on your skin. If it has a chance to colonize and spread, it can create a rapid acne outbreak, leading to pimples and irritation.)
- Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells
- Excess androgen (a type of hormone) activity
Acne is a common skin disease, and though it’s not a serious health concern, it can lead to scarring.
Acne is most common on the face, neck, back, shoulders, and chest. Scarring is possible in all areas, but because your back is difficult to reach, acne can be more common there. There are four types of acne lesions you can experience on your back:
- Comedones are the whiteheads and blackheads common in most acne breakouts. Comedones happen when a single pore is clogged and fills with sebum and bacteria. A closed comedone stays under the skin and forms a white bump. When a comedo opens on the skin’s surface, the oil reacts with the air and turns blackish.
- Pustules are pimples that contain pus inside and are red at the base because of inflammation and irritation.
- Nodules are more painful because they are lodged deeper in the skin. They have a higher chance of leaving scars on the body.
- Cysts are also deep within the skin and painful. They are like nodules, only they are pus-filled and have a higher chance of scarring.
What causes acne?
Acne may seem to pop up overnight, but its causes often run deep below the skin. There are many different reasons why acne appears on your back, including:
- Hormones from puberty: When girls reach puberty, their bodies start producing a sex hormone called androgen. Androgen is a male sex hormone that helps bodies mature into adulthood and causes oil glands to grow larger and produce an excess of sebum. Clogged pores and pimples are common among teens because of this.
- Hormones as an adult: Menstrual cycles also change the hormone flows in the body. Some women get pimples a few days before their period. This type of acne tends to disappear after their period is over because it’s directly caused by the presence of specific hormone levels.
- Medication: Certain medications commonly used for epilepsy and various types of depression are known to increase acne. If you’re taking one of these medications, being aware of this side effect can help you be prepared with remedies.
- Friction: When tight clothing like a bra strap constantly rubs on your skin, it can irritate the skin and force sebum into pores, clogging them and causing acne.
- Family history: Skin type and genetics play a role in how frequent your acne is. If you have several family members who suffer from frequent acne, there is a good chance you may experience it too.
Types of acne scars
There are many different types of scars that can develop from a bad breakout. If the acne wasn’t treated properly or was too damaging to the skin, scarring occurs.
These are the various types of acne scars:
- Ice pick scars: This scar looks like a deep hole in the skin and is caused by a cyst infection deep in the skin.
- Boxcar scars: Boxcar scars are round depressions with deep vertical sides that leave a pitted appearance on the skin.
- Rolling scars: These scars develop under the surface between the dermis and subcutaneous tissues. They pull on the epidermis, creating a rolling or wavelike appearance on the surface.
- Hyperpigmentation: Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation looks like a scar, but it’s not. It is caused by the skin producing too much melanin while healing from acne or other inflammation. The resulting dark spot of skin tends to fade on its own after a while.
Effective home remedies for back acne scars
It’s important to take care of your skin properly to reduce the chance of scarring. There are some home remedies you can try to reduce and relieve your back acne scars:
- Salicylic acid reduces redness and swelling and minimizes the appearance of many types of acne scars.
- Lactic acid reduces the appearance of scars and smooths out your skin.
Medical procedures for treating back acne scars
Some medical procedures are available to treat back acne scars. They are great if you have old acne scars that are deep and don’t respond well to home remedies.
- Punch excision works well for ice pick and boxcar scars.
- Subcision is a simple surgery that smooths out rolling scars by cutting the subcutaneous bands pulling the skin.
- Cortisone cream can reduce the size of hypertrophic scars.
- Cryotherapy (freezing) helps reduce the size and stop the growth of keloid scars.
- Laser resurfacing is an option for scarring with deep pits and uneven surfaces as it smooths the skin out.
Talk to your medical professional to discuss the options that best suit your needs when considering these medical procedures.
Acne is the most common skin disorder for women and happens to everyone at various times in their lives.
Treat your acne properly to reduce the chance of scarring. Stay on top of your acne breakouts to feel good in your skin.
Scarring is always a possibility, but with the proper techniques, you can reduce the chances of scarring and even remove old acne scars. If you notice scarring starting to occur and home remedies aren’t working, talk to a dermatologist or get advice on some medical treatments to remove acne scars.
Back acne is difficult to reach and can be painful. Scars left behind are frustrating and even embarrassing. Treat your acne properly to reduce the chance of scarring. Stay on top of your acne breakouts to feel good in your skin.