How can I prevent pimples on my back?

Doctor's Answers 2


Thank you for your question. Acne on the back or trunk is not uncommon. Some people get acne more on their back with little involvement of the face. The cause of acne on trunk is similar to acne on the face, as the trunk also contains a lot of sebaceous glands. Hormonal factors do play an important part.

I do not think that changes in bedsheets will lead to truncal acne. It is difficult to say what has triggered your acne.

The treatment of truncal acne is quite similar to treatment of acne on the face. Topical medications like benzoyl peroxide, anitbiotic lotion or gels, topical tretnoin creams can be used to treat both acne on the face and trunk. In more severe cases, oral antibiotics like doxycyline or isotretinoin can be used.

In general, I do find that truncal acne responds more slowly than facial acne to treatment and can be more difficult to treat.

If persistent despite the above treatments, other causes of acne-like rashes like pityrosporom folliculitis ( a type of fungal folliculitis) has to considered, and a visit to doctor/dermatolgist should be considered.

Dr Theng has answered you wonderfully. And yes hormonal acne can be a common cause of back acne. You may need to advise us further on whether you might be on any meds that throw your hormones out of whack.

You can treat it like face acne, and I have used a combination of acne topicals and chemical peels/laser treatments for my patients with back acne conditions.

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What is the best acne treatment for recurrent breakouts at temple, jawline and chin?

I noticed that I tend to breakouts after holidays. Yes, weather and humidity changes can sometimes trigger breakouts. Stress/poor quality of sleep due to jet lag and time differences can also contribute. Speaking from personal experience here; I tend to break out much worse in Singapore than I did living in the UK. Went to national skin centre for consultation, and was given some watery creams and Cetaphil products to use. Hard to comment on what you were given, but from what you’ve described here, NSC doesn’t seem to have given you anything specifically for acne treatment.

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Is it possible to become reliant on acne products?

I know how frustrating it is to face the issue of persistent acne. There is no real evidence that skin gets resistant to topical products but obviously anecdotal accounts would suggest otherwise. To cut it short, it sounds like you might need some oral medications like doxycycline or isotretinoin to improve the acute flares first, while using a appropriate skin regimen. From personal experience myself, when facing a flare we tend to overdo things, be it using OXY 10 five times a day and having chemical burns, or washing our face 10 times a day.

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Dr Winston Lee


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