Read by Anne Thestrup Meimbresse

Pharmacist, Varde Pharmacy

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Who gets blemished skin on the back?

Blemished skin on the back is a nuisance for a lot of people. Both men and women, young and old. However, there is a majority of young people who suffer from impure skin on the back, just as it is generally most young people who suffer from pimples and impure skin elsewhere on the body.

While most people experience that their skin clears up once they have passed puberty, some men continue to have blemished skin on their back even though they have got rid of the blemished skin on their face and the rest of their body. Why this is the case is not known.

What does blemished skin on the back look like?

Although blemished skin is not a serious skin condition, it can be frustrating for people who suffer from blemished skin, because it is not nice to have your back, face or anywhere else covered in visible pimples. Blemished skin on the back looks the same as blemished skin elsewhere on the body and face. You may have blackheads or pimples - or both. And they can be anywhere on your back - all the way from your shoulders down to your bum.

Blackheads on the back

Blackheads are also called comedones. They can be the black blackheads, which are small black dots on the skin. They are often found in clusters and are typically at skin level. Therefore, you can see them but not feel them. There are no bacteria in blackheads. However, if bacteria get into a blackhead, which is a clogged sebaceous gland, the blackhead can develop into an inflamed pimple.

You may also have white blackheads, known as whiteheads, on your back. Because of their colour, they can (fortunately) be harder to see. But you can feel them because they are a small bump under the skin. Whiteheads are also caused by a build-up of sebum, which - when encapsulated under the skin's surface and unable to escape - forms a small white, hard bump.

Pimples on the back

However, it is rarely the blackheads that are the worst problem when it comes to back acne. The pimples are worse because they are more visible, even if they are on your back. They typically start as a red, slightly raised patch of skin that grows larger and more tender as it fills with yellow pus.

READ MORE: Pimples on the back - Guide to treating pimples on the back

How do you get rid of pimples on the back?

Blemished skin requires care and attention. You can, of course, wait for the pimples and blackheads on your back and elsewhere to hopefully disappear on their own with age, but if you want to get rid of them before then, you need to start washing, cleansing and caring for your skin. It's not just the skin on your face that needs cleansing and moisturising. The skin on your body also needs attention if you want smooth and clean skin.

Your back skin needs to be washed, cleansed and cared for

You can't just use water if you want to get rid of unclean skin on your back. You'll need an anti-blemish soap. It takes more than just water to remove excess oil and dirt from the skin. And your back can sweat a lot, especially if you exercise. It's important to wash sweat and dirt off your back regularly, preferably soon after you sweat so it doesn't stay on your skin for too long. Also, make sure you change into clean clothes quickly so that you don't have damp and dirty clothes directly against your skin.

So make sure you wash and cleanse your skin, but use mild and skin-friendly products for blemished skin so that you are not too harsh on your skin.

If you just scrub away with harsh products, you run the risk of drying out your skin, which will produce more oil in response, creating a breeding ground for more impure skin.

Use mild and skin-friendly products

It is best to use mild and skin-friendly washing products. For example, you can use body wash from Australian Bodycare. It cleanses effectively, does not dry out the skin and prevents the growth of bacteria as it contains Tea Tree Oil. Once the skin has been washed and cleansed, it needs to be moisturised to prevent it from becoming too dry. You can use a cream against impure skin or a slightly lighter lotion that also works against bacteria and impure skin. The Body range contains both a body lotion for impure skin and a body cream.

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Pills or ointment for blemished skin on the back

If you are severely affected by blemished skin on your back, the solution may be medical treatment of the blemished skin. This requires a visit to your doctor or a dermatologist who can prescribe either pills or ointment/cream. Pills will work against blemished skin anywhere on the body, while ointments/creams need to be applied locally, which of course can be a bit of a challenge on the back without help.

Impure skin and diet/lifestyle

Opinions are divided on whether our diet and lifestyle play a role in the development of blemished skin. There are no studies that can prove a link between, for example, fatty foods and blemished skin. However, stress can play a role, as stress can affect hormonal balance, which in turn can affect the appearance of blemished skin. In addition to the influence of hormones on the development of blemished skin, our genes may also play a role. Unfortunately, if your mum or dad suffered from blemished skin, it is more likely that you will too.

Tips to combat blemished skin on the back

The most important weapon in the fight against blemished skin on the back and everywhere else on the body and face is cleansing and care. Unfortunately, there are no miracle cures that can make your skin clean and clear in no time, so the best advice you can get is this:

  • Be patient - it takes time to get rid of blemished skin.
  • Get into a good routine - your skin needs to be cared for morning and night. It needs to be washed, cleansed and moisturised.
  • Use mild and skin-friendly products - it is important to choose products that are particularly suitable for blemished skin.
  • Avoid stress - it seems that stress can have an impact on the development of blemished skin.

Why do you get blemished skin on the back?

Impure skin most commonly affects young people during puberty, but it can also occur at other times in life, for example during stress or hormonal changes (such as when stopping the contraceptive pill or during pregnancy).

The cause of blemishes on the back is the same as the cause of blemishes and pimples on the face and everywhere else. When hormonal changes occur in the body, one of the consequences is that the body produces more sebum.

This can lead to the sebaceous glands becoming clogged because the sebum can't get out. And then we have impure skin with pimples or blackheads. Impure skin occurs most easily where we have the most sebaceous glands that can become clogged, and this includes the back, as well as the face and bum.

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