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Cystic Back Acne: 8 Treatment and Prevention Tips

Anna Denson
Written by
Anna Denson
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Getting dressed involves a lot of decisions. A dress or separates? Florals or stripes? Long sleeves, short sleeves, or spaghetti straps? Well, that depends.

...Which one will hide the acne on your back?

*record scratch*

STOP. Is the embarrassing scourge of bacne casting a shadow over your wardrobe?

You’re not the only one!

Back acne is super common, affecting 60% of acne sufferers. Pore blockages occur often, because your back has thick skin and a high density of oil-producing sebaceous glands.

And some people suffer with the super-villain of body acne: CYSTS.

Cystic back acne — or, shall we say, cystic bacne — is caused by the same factors that lead to breakouts on your face: excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria.

But cysts are much worse than your typical blemishes.

Cystic acne occurs deep in the bottom layers of your skin, creating a closed, pus-filled pocket. They can be physically painful, linger for weeks, and take a real toll on your self-confidence.

How do you fight (your) back?

Just ask Averr Aglow! We’ve applied our years of experience and put together these 7 must-try tips to help treat and prevent cystic acne on your back.

So you can feel good in any outfit...and in your own skin!

 

1: Cleanse Daily (With the Right Products)

Those of us with acne can be fixated on facial cleansing, but don’t forget the rest of your skin! If you have breakouts on your back, make sure that you’re keeping the area clean.

Not any cleansing routine will do, though. It’s tempting to attack bacne with a soapy washcloth and some elbow grease, but over-cleansing is actually a step backward. Avoid abrasive scrubs, cloths, or loofahs, which can irritate acne and damage the upper layers of your skin.

So much for that fancy back brush!

Also avoid harsh cleansers, especially anything loaded with chemicals or astringents. These can dry out your skin and worsen breakouts. Instead, seek out products that exfoliate gently and nourish your troubled skin.

We recommend our Rejuvenating Essence Body Polish, which smooths away dead cells and deposits nutrients to fight acne-causing bacteria. It thoroughly exfoliates without damaging your sensitive complexion with harmful additives. Just natural ingredients to naturally heal your skin!

 

Averr Aglow Rejuvenating Essence Body Polish

 

2: Avoid Too Much Sun

We love sunshine as much as the next person. But using sunlight as an acne treatment? Not recommended.

It’s true that sunlight can temporarily dry up oily patches, kill some bacteria, and disguise blemishes under your new tan. But dermatologists agree that the consequences of UV radiation far outweigh the benefits, contributing to health problems from wrinkles to cancer.

And the sunlight isn’t actually helping your acne in the long run. Too much UV exposure can darken imperfections, prolong breakouts, and increase your likelihood of scarring! Nope, nope, nope.

To make matters worse, this sunny, dry-skin reprieve can come back to bite you. Your body compensates for moisture loss by releasing more oil onto your sun-toasted skin — the first step toward a brand-new batch of breakouts.

 

Dry skin? Hydrate and balance your skin

with Averr Aglow’s Flawless Nourishment Cream!

 

So instead of trying to bake away your blemishes by the pool, limit your sun exposure, especially on acne-prone areas such as your back. And don’t forget to use sunscreen, preferably a water-based option that won’t clog your pores!

 

3: Check Your Hair Products

This may seem like a head-scratcher at first. After all, we’re talking about skin problems on our backs, not our scalps.

But when you shower, where does all that shampoo and conditioner go as you rinse it out? Unless you’re a contortionist, it goes straight down your back.

This can spell trouble for your skin, as many hair products contain oil to keep your mane sleek and glossy. The oily residue can stop up pores on your back and shoulders, contributing to breakouts — including those deep cysts you’re desperate to get rid of.

Shampoo can also hide synthetic fragrances and chemicals that add to the problem, irritating and drying out your sensitive skin.

Look for oil-free hair products without harmful ingredients. And always rinse thoroughly, so product residue doesn’t build up on the skin of your back!

Pro tip: Wash and rinse your hair BEFORE you wash your body, so that any lingering hair products get cleansed away.

 

4: Don’t Try to Pop Cystic Pimples

You know this one already. You know it.

Don’t pick your pimples. Don’t prod, squeeze, scratch, pop, poke, peel, or burst them, either.

Back! 👏 Acne! 👏 Included! 👏

Some of you want to argue right now. “But sometimes draining my pimples really helps!”

Okay. If you are super careful, there are some ways to DIY that pimple-popping a little more safely. But be honest. Are you going to be safe and sanitary, or are you going to dig in with dirty fingernails?

 

Futurama skeptical Fry meme

 

In real life, most of us aren’t prepared to soap up to the elbows and perform minor skin surgery in our bathrooms. So picking at our blemishes is bound to spread bacteria and promote scarring.

And messing with cystic acne is even worse! Cystic acne is already prone to leave scars, and the depth of cysts makes them nearly impossible to drain at home.

Instead, all your useless poking and prodding can cause the cyst to burst beneath the skin, spreading gross pus and infection deep into your epidermis.

Ugggggh. Please don’t.

 

5: Acne-Proof Your Workout

Exercise is awesome for our health and happiness. But without proper care, even a casual jog may contribute to the cystic breakouts on your back.

If you struggle with persistent bacne, make sure you follow these guidelines for your workout:

  • Wear loose sportswear: Form-fitting tops can suffocate your skin, while trapped moisture encourages bacteria growth. Not to mention that too much friction can lead to a breakout situation known as acne mechanica.
  • Shower after exercise: Worked up a sweat? Then it’s time for a rinse! And remember: the goal is to keep your back nice and fresh, but not over-cleansed. Ditch the harsh chemicals and try a nourishing scrub like our Rejuvenating Essence Body Polish.

 


  • Wash clothes after every use: This may sound obvious. But I’ve definitely had some low-sweat workouts where I thought, “I didn’t do too much. I can get one more wear out of this.” Don’t fall into this trap! Take that bacteria-laden sports bra and toss it straight into the washer. Your back will thank you.

 

6: Give Your Cysts Space to Heal

When you’re trying to heal those cystic breakouts on your back, the last thing you need is more irritation or inflammation.

Avoid clothes and accessories that smother or chafe your healing skin, such as backpacks or restrictive shapewear. This includes corsets, goth buddies. (Hey, no judgment. In college, I wore corsets for my job at a RenFaire.)

 

Author dressed as a pirate in 2007

 

Corsets are more comfortable than you’d think (such good posture). But the constant pressure and lack of airflow from tight garments aren’t good for sensitive skin, especially sore cystic acne.

If possible, wear loose, breathable clothes and choose accessories that won’t constantly rub up against your back.

 

7: Wash Bedding Regularly

When you become an adult and start doing your own laundry, it can be tough to keep up. You’re very busy and important! Who cares if your sheets haven’t been washed in a month or two or six?

Your skin. Your skin cares.

Bedding can be a hotbed (sorry) of dirt and bacteria. It’s vital to clean it regularly, especially if you have problem skin.

Washing your pillowcases is a step in the right direction. Even if you cleanse before bed each night (which you should), pillowcases can quickly collect oil, skin cells, bacteria, and makeup.

Why would you want to press your freshly washed face against that?

 

Protect your skin from pillowcase breakouts

with Averr Aglow’s overnight Clear Skin Elixir!

 

And if you get body breakouts like cystic bacne, it’s equally important to wash your sheets.

Sheets collect the same nasty build-up as your pillow and then redeposit it onto your acne-prone body, undoing all your efforts to clean and heal breakouts.

Break the cycle! Wash your sheets!

Pro tip: Try fragrance-free detergents and fabric softeners. Artificial scents can contribute to skin irritation.

 

8: Be Kind to Yourself

As you try new products and lifestyle changes to heal your cystic breakouts, the most essential tip of all is to treat yourself kindly.

Sometimes you’ll slip up. That’s okay! You don’t have to be perfect.

Sometimes you’ll be frustrated. Of course you will! Cystic acne is a tough opponent, and won’t be easy to beat.

But stressing out over your struggles won’t help anything. In fact, it might work against you — stress activates acne-triggering hormones like cortisol and CRH, which can boost oil production and contribute to more breakouts!

So take a few deep breaths, look beyond the blemishes, and remember:

No matter what, you are already beautiful and worthy! xx

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Anna Denson
Written by
Anna Denson
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Anna is a Copywriter at Averr Aglow. A not-so-secret nerd, she loves books with swords and never gets tired of Alien or Jurassic Park. Also a total foodie, she has an unnecessarily large cookbook collection. When not busy writing, Anna travels the world and dotes on her two spoiled cats, Waffle and Fanta.