What is bacne?
Similar to regular acne, bacne occurs "when pores on your back get clogged with oil and dead skin cells," explains Tessa Budry, the head of global media at Frank Body. She adds:
"There are two types of bacne: non-inflammatory and inflammatory. In the non-inflammatory corner, we have whiteheads (closed clogged pores) and blackheads (open clogged pores). In the inflammatory corner, we have papules (raised pimples), pustules (pimples with pus), cysts (ruptured clogged pores), and nodules (tissue growth)."
What causes bacne?
There are certain causes you may have already guessed. Burdy confirms that "sweat, fragranced laundry detergent, tight clothes, and heaters" are all possible triggers.
However, Jennifer Rock, dermal facialist and founder of Skingredients, adds that certain causes are less obvious. "You may be experiencing bacne due to hormonal changes such as your period or a change in birth control, for example, or due to higher stress levels," she says.
How can you prevent bacne?
Both experts agree that the first step is to ensure you take off your workout clothes as soon as possible after exercising. Then, of course, you should shower to wash away any excess sweat and oil. You should also be sure to wash your workout gear as much as possible too so bacteria doesn't build up.
Rock explains that if this along with wearing loose-fitting clothing and loosening straps does not work, it's crucial to try to figure out what else could be causing it. "A skincare professional or medical professional may be the way forward to assist with any underlying causes," she suggests.
How should you treat bacne?
Budry suggests investing in two products to target the problem: an anti-acne body wash (think charcoal or salicylic acid) as well as a body scrub. "Exfoliation involves removing the top layer of dead skin cells that would otherwise block your pores and cause bacne," she says.
And now "the advice nobody loves to hear," as Rock calls it: "Don’t pop the spots and don’t allow your partner, housemate, sister or friend pop them either, unless they are washing their hands beforehand and using a downward to outward motion with the pads of their fingers, not their nails!" Sob.
"Treating spots on your back and avoiding popping them will help to reduce the appearance of scarring," she finishes.