Back and trunk acne- bacne treatments

Bacne Treatments At A Glance

  • Best Results3-12 months
  • Treatment Recovery0 days
  • Procedure Time10 minutes
  • Skin SpecialistNurse, Dermatologist
  • Duration of ResultsYears+
  • AnaestheticNil required
  • Back to WorkImmediately
  • Cost$

Back and trunk acne- bacne treatments

Bacne or back acne is a form of acne affecting the trunk. It is most frequently seen in teenagers, however if left untreated, it can persist well into adult life. This form of acne is commonly associated with facial acne. Bacne occurs in areas with the highest concentrations of oil glands. Bacne is a common condition in Brisbane due to heat and humidity. Effective treatments are readily available.

FactsFacts on back acne

  • Bacne is also known as back acne
  • Acne lesions can also occur on the chest, shoulders, neck & face
  • This form of acne is most common in teenagers
  • Left untreated, it may persist into mid-adult life
  • Mild cases of bacne will respond to washes and solutions
  • Severe cases of bacne will respond to tablets
  • Early treatment of back and truncal acne can reduce scarring
  • Bacne scarring can be treated with corticosteroid injections
  • Back acne scars respond poorly to laser treatments

What causes back acne?

Bacne is most commonly seen in teenage years and is due to a number of factors, including genetic & hormonal. Environmental factors such as sweating, heat and occlusion can also make this form of acne worse. Back and shoulder acne is most commonly seen during the teenage years. Hormones such as testosterone stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Sebaceous glands are at the highest concentrations on the face, back, chest & shoulders, hence bacne is commonly associated with facial acne.

The high humidity in Brisbane also provides occlusion and excessive sweating, which can worsen bacne.

What bacne treatments should I try before visiting a Specialist?

Mild to moderate cases of back acne can respond to simple over the counter washes and scrubs. A course of antibiotics prescribed by your GP can also help reduce acne in these areas.

Try the following methods before visiting Cutis Clinic.

  1. Exfoliate your back with a loofa such as Buf-Buf pads. You can combine a mild Salicylic Acid scrub such as Neutrogena Orange Wash (sal acid).
  2. Try some Benzoyl Peroxide. Benzac AC wash is available via most pharmacist in Brisbane. Use as directed, remember to leave on for 1-2 minutes before washing off. Be careful not to scrub too hard if you are using Benzac AC wash, as skin irritation may occur. Do not combine this method with Salicylic Acid washes as skin irritation will occur.
  3. Visit a GP for a prescription of antibiotics. An 8-16 week course of erythomycin, doxycycline or minocycline may improve your back acne.

How do we treat back acne?

Specialist treatment of severe or scarring bacne is very different compared to over the counter washes and scrubs. If we detect that your acne is potentially scarring, or if it is severe, or affects your emotional well being, we may use a special drug called Roaccutane, also known as Accutane or Oratane.

Roaccutane is a vitamin A drug, and is restricted for the management of severe cases of acne, including bacne. For facial acne, the course of Roaccutane treatment is around 8 months. For severe cases of trunk acne involving the shoulders, chest and back, a prolonged course of 12- 16 months is indicated. Treating severe cases of bacne can be tricky as flare-ups can be expected early in the course of Roaccutane. Our Specialists may combine drugs such as EES or Prednisolone to reduce flare-ups.

In 2021 the TGA approved a new topical retinoid for the management of both facial & truncal acne called Akleif. Your dermatologist may elect to use this medication to treat truncal pimples.

What is trifarotene or Akleif?

This topical was released in 2021 in Australia. Trifarotene or Akleif is a generation four retinoid. It is made by Galderma & comes in a 75 ml package. It costs around $80-$90 AUD.

This retinoid is indicated for patients who have both facial & truncal acne. The major disadvantage of this topical is that it take some time before it starts working, typically 4 to 8 weeks. You will continued improvement over 6 months. For more rapid results, your dermatologist may concurrently prescribe you an antibiotic for a brief period of time.

Side effects include dry skin, itchy irritated skin, purging of acne & sun sensitivity. Akleif is not comparable with pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Davin’s Viewpoint on treating back and trunk acne

Most cases of mild bacne can be treated with over the counter washes and scrubs. I encourage patients to try a wash with Benzoyl Peroxide as the first step. Ask your chemist for BENZAC AC wash, and apply as directed. Moderate to severe cases of back acne should be medically treated. Antibiotics such as Doxycycline or Minocycline can help, severe cases are treated with an extended course of isotretinoin (Roaccutane or Oratane).

The new fourth generation topical retinoid known as Akeif or trifarotene heralds new ground. I suspect, much like adapalene, it will offer some improvement in mild & early acne scars involving both face, chest, shoulders & back.

Early treatment of severe cases of back acne is very important, as this can reduce scarring. Unlike acne scarring located on the face, bacne scars are more difficult to treat. Most scars due to trunkal – back acne present as lumpy red scars. A series of steroid injections can reduce the lumpiness, whist vascular V Beam laser can reduce the redness.

Be guided by your dermatologist. Please note, I am a procedural dermatologist and I do not get involved in medical management of acne.

Join the conversation

Join Dr Davin Lim on Instagram to stay up to date


Enquire now!

Get In Touch

Quick Contact

Dr Lim has unparalleled experience in dermatology. Fill in the form below and he will get back to you with your query