Bacne (acne on the back) is, unfortunately, quite common. While it might not be as obvious as acne on the face, it can be just as distressing. What can a man do about bacne, other than hide it under a t-shirt at all times? Plenty! Keep reading for a few approaches that can help end (or at least reduce) bacne.
In order to tackle bacne in an effective manner, it's important to first have an understanding of the science behind the common skin condition. You probably already know that acne (including bacne) is a problem of clogged pores. But did you ever wonder why acne occurs most often on the face, chest, and back and not on other areas of the body? Acne
is actually a problem of the "pilosebaceous unit," which is medical jargon for a sebaceous gland connected to a hair follicle. Acne is more likely to occur on the face, chest, and back because these areas have the highest numbers of pilosebaceous units compared to other parts of the body.
Although sebaceous glands are part of the problem, it's important to remember that they do good things too. Sebaceous glands produce sebum that helps to moisturize the hair and skin. Things go wrong when the hair follicle becomes plugged by hair, sebum, or keratinocyte cells that line the follicle. When this happens, sebum and cells get trapped. This mixture of sebum and cells is a perfect recipe to allow a bacterium known as Propionibacterium acnes, which normally lives on the skin, to grow and multiply in the follicle. This process, along with white blood cells that come to fight off the bacteria, creates inflammation.
Male hormones stimulate sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, which is one of the reasons bacne is so common in men. Abnormal keratinocyte clumping and function are also contributing factors.