For many people, acne is a frustrating and sometimes distressing skin condition that can affect more areas of the body than just the face. Acne can appear anywhere on the body where the sebaceous glands produce sebum, and back acne affects a surprising number of people. In fact, a study conducted on the prevalence of back acne found that back acne affects around 75% of acne patients.

Acne on the back and chest is caused by the same reasons why spots, pimples, pustules and papules affect the face. The sebum (oil that the skin produces) and the dead skin cells, clog the hair follicles. When this happens, bacteria can infect clogged pores resulting in those red, swollen, pus-filled bumps on your back, shoulders, chest, and face.

Very often, our lifestyle can affect acne to appear. Factors like an unhealthy diet, having too much stress, working in a dirty environment, and certain medications can all cause acne, including worse back acne.

There are many home remedies that can help unclog pores, kill bacteria that cause follicles to swell, and help prevent further breakouts of blackheads and back acne.

For example, natural ingredients like tea tree oil can help disinfect infected pores, reduce puffiness, and soothe inflamed skin. Other home remedies to prevent back acne include sugar to help gently exfoliate the skin and unclog clogged pores.

However, there are a number of reasons why acne breakouts on the back and upper body can be more difficult to treat.

Back acne can be difficult to treat

There may be contributing factors why back acne can sometimes be more difficult to cure. The irritation is known to make acne worse and is called mechanical acne .

This means that sweaty clothing that constantly rubs against the skin of the back (for example, during physical activity), can aggravate acne. It is also sometimes more difficult to thoroughly cleanse and exfoliate your back to remove dirt and dead skin cells.

Also, the skin on the back and chest is thicker and has larger pores than on the face. This means that the red bumps and pustules due to back acne tend to be larger and more inflamed. They can even develop into deep, painful, pus-filled lesions called acne cysts .

Acne on the back and chest natural causes and treatments

Let’s look at some of the best natural treatments to get rid of back acne. These can help clear up mild to moderate breakouts on your back.

However, if you want to know how to cure severe forms of back acne, the end of this article looks at some of the methods that dermatologists use to clear large breakouts on the back.

Tea tree oil

The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties of tea tree oil can be very helpful in this type of acne and reduce inflammation in infected pores.

In fact, tea tree is one of the best essential oils for acne, as it can also help dry up clogged pores and kill acne-causing bacteria.

Clinical trials have confirmed the beneficial effects that tea tree oil has on acne prone skin and in eliminating the appearance of blemishes.

To use tea tree oil as a natural home remedy for back acne , you need to dilute the tea tree essential oil to make a toner for your skin.

Essential oils are generally best diluted in carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, or coconut oil (5-10 drops per 30 ml of carrier oil).

However, if you prefer to avoid using carrier oil on your back, you can mix tea tree oil in pure aloe vera gel, witch hazel, or even water (but then you will need to shake vigorously before each use to mix the tea tree oil with water).

Using a cotton ball, apply the tea tree oil remedy on the affected skin and let it dry.

For best results, tea tree oil should be applied 3 times a day to help reduce the size of red, inflamed pores and get rid of excess oil.

You can also add tea tree oil to your shower gel to help kill the bacteria responsible for acne breakouts on your back, as well as other areas. You should add about 10 drops of tea tree oil to 1 oz. of shower gel.


Taking an oatmeal bath is a natural way to get rid of back acne. Oatmeal can help reduce inflammation in infected pores and ease any discomfort that painful back bumps cause.

The healing properties of oatmeal can also help prevent possibly more breakouts on your back.

Oatmeal bath to relieve back acne

  1. Tuck a handful of organic oatmeal into an old pair of socks or long socks and run it under the tap.
  2. Fill your bathtub with warm water, making sure the water runs through the oatmeal.
  3. Occasionally squeeze the stocking with the oatmeal to extract more of the oatmeal liquid.
  4. Soak in the bathtub for 20 minutes. While getting wet, you can take some of the oatmeal mixture from the sock and gently exfoliate your back to remove excess sebum and dead skin cells to unclog blocked pores.

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Take the oatmeal bath a couple of times each week to help reduce inflammation in your back and get relief from the discomfort caused by inflamed pustules.

Oatmeal also has a cleansing effect on the skin to help remove excess dirt, as well as leave skin feeling hydrated and smooth.

Sugar scrub

Another way to unblock infected pores on your back and treat acne is to use a sugar scrub.

You can remove dead skin cells and excess sebum that causes back acne. The granulated sugar texture helps loosen dirt that has accumulated in the pores and further prevent the development of infections.

This sugar scrub includes lemon juice, which contains alpha hydroxy acid, a natural chemical peel for the skin, as it dissolves dead skin cells.

Sugar scrub recipe for the back

  1. Mix 1/4 cup of organic brown sugar with the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 tablespoon of raw honey. It should have the consistency of a thick paste.
  2. Gently massage into the acne-prone area of ​​the skin on the back in circular motions.
  3. Leave for about 5 minutes.
  4. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Use the sugar scrub on your back 1-2 times a week to remove dirt from your pores and help prevent further breakouts on your back.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV)

Similar to lemon juice, apple cider vinegar is an effective cleansing and exfoliating agent to get rid of the bacteria that cause pimples and acne on the back.

The acidic nature of VSM helps remove dead skin cells and makes it easier to unclog pores that are inflamed.

To continue with your apple cider vinegar acne toner, all you need to do is mix equal parts raw VSM and water. Do not apply the vinegar undiluted, as it can burn the skin.

Use a cotton ball soaked in the mixture and apply the remedy to your back. The vinegar will help lighten excess sebum from your skin and remove a build-up of dead skin cells.

Repeat every day to help your skin heal and reduce the number of pimples on your back.

Sodium bicarbonate

There are many reasons why baking soda is a great natural remedy to help clear back acne.

Baking soda helps reduce redness around inflamed pimples, and its fine grainy texture makes it a great gentle exfoliator.

If you have some large pustules on your back, use baking soda as an effective local treatment to reduce the swelling and redness of the infected pores.

You can make a baking soda remedy for your back by adding enough water to the baking soda to form a thick paste.

Apply the treatment directly to the pustules on the back and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing off. Use this remedy daily to help get rid of large pimples and blemishes faster.

Another way to use the acne-fighting properties of baking soda to prevent breakouts on your back is by making an exfoliating paste with a little lemon juice. Lemon juice is a natural astringent that helps reduce redness and excess sebum. Here’s how to use it:

Baking soda with lemon as a scrub for pimples on the back

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 2 tbsp. water and 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice into a smooth paste.
  2. Apply the baking soda paste to the affected areas on the back and leave for 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse with warm, dry water.

If you have sensitive skin, lemon juice can sting your skin too much. If that’s the case, you can try using this remedy without the lemon juice.

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Witch hazel is great for helping reduce the swelling and inflammation of acne pimples. The natural astringent activity of witch hazel also helps to remove excess oil in the pores and reduces the appearance of red acne lumps on the back.

To use witch hazel as a natural home remedy for acne, you just have to apply with a cotton ball 3 times a day to the acne areas on the back. Keep doing this on a regular basis to soothe inflamed skin and help shrink infected pores.

Zinc cream

Zinc is a helpful home remedy in fighting acne and many people have found that it has helped clear up back acne.

If you are plagued by large, painful pimples and papules on your back, you can try using zinc as a topical cream or taking zinc supplements.

You can buy a lotion that contains 1.2% zinc acetate and apply the zinc cream twice a day on the affected skin on the back. You may find that zinc cream can help you get rid of acne and get relief.

Alternatively, you can increase your dietary zinc intake by taking supplements. Taking more than 50 mg a day is not recommended, because excess zinc can interfere with the absorption of other trace elements in your body.


The use of sulfur to obtain and maintain healthy skin is a practice that dates back centuries. Scientific studies have also shown that sulfur can help treat acne and can also be used in conjunction with other topical acne products.

If you have mild to moderate breakouts on your back, you can apply a sulfur ointment to the affected area. You can buy sulfur ointment online or at many drug stores.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is beneficial for getting rid of acne (including back acne) because its anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties help to soothe and protect irritated and red skin.

Studies on aloe vera have shown that it helps speed wound healing and reduce skin inflammation.

Pure aloe vera gel can be used directly on your acne back to help soothe red skin and can also reduce the size of inflamed pores.

You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to aloe vera gel to improve its effectiveness. Apply aloe vera and tea tree oil to the affected area on the back to help reduce the severity of your acne and speed up the healing process.

Other methods to get rid of back acne

It can be challenging to treat and get rid of severe back acne. Many of the natural remedies in this article can successfully help clear up acne or at least provide relief from pore inflammation.

However, if you find that these remedies do not help you get acne relief, you may need to visit a dermatologist.

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Dermatologists use a variety of topical medicinal ointments to help remove dead skin and unclog pores.

Because the skin on the back is less sensitive than the face, these medicated lotions are generally better tolerated on your upper body.

Here are some of the most popular ingredients used successfully to treat back acne:

Benzoyl peroxide . This is used to help reduce acne bacteria called Propionibacteria that cause breakouts. Benzoyl peroxide helps dry up excess sebum and peel off layers of dead skin. On the other hand, it can cause excessive dryness of the skin, itching and redness.

However, most people’s skin gets used to benzoyl peroxide and the side effects wear off over time.

Salicylic acid . Salicylic acid is found naturally in many fruits and vegetables such as berries, tomatoes, and cucumbers, as well as in the willow tree.

Many medicated acne treatments contain around 2% concentration of salicylic acid. This helps reduce the redness of inflamed pimples and unclogs blocked skin pores. Salicylic acid can also help loosen the scales on the skin.

Retinoids Ointments classified as retinoids, work in a similar way to vitamin A on the skin and are used to treat moderate to severe acne breakouts, and one of the most popular is tretinoin.

These medicated ointments help unclog pores and reduce the number of acne breakouts. They also regulate the skin’s sebum production to help reduce acne infections.

Some users of retinol creams say their acne got worse before it got better. Also note that retinoids have teratogenic effects that can cause malformations of the fetus or embryo.

So follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

Alpha hydroxy acids. Many citrus foods contain natural sources of alpha hydroxyl acids. Commercially produced products are used to treat various skin conditions and can help reduce acne breakouts and reduce the appearance of acne scars.

How to prevent acne from coming back

In order to properly manage acne and help prevent breakouts if you have acne-prone skin, it is important to take good care of your skin and not use products that can further irritate the skin. This is especially true if you have back acne.

For many people it is more difficult to wash the back well, and it can be difficult to ensure that acne treatments are applied to all affected areas of the skin on the back. Here are some tips to help prevent back acne breakouts.

  • Regularly exfoliate your back using a long-handled loofah or body brush to help remove dead skin cells and clean excess oil from your back. It is important that you do not rub too hard so that you do not irritate the inflamed pores. Remember to add a little tea tree oil to your shower gel to help kill acne-causing bacteria.
  • To avoid an excess accumulation of bacteria on the back that can block pores, always shower after physical exercise to wash off sweat.
  • Wear clean, loose clothing that allows your skin to breathe.
  • Always wash clothes with a mild detergent that has little or no odor.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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