02 Jun Back Acne: Treatment at RefinedMD
Acne on the back is a very challenging condition and one which does not necessarily respond to traditional treatments used for facial acne therapy. In particular, most oral medications have very little impact on overall improvement unless there is significant pustular activity. In most cases of back acne, we are inclined to see skin which shows keratin plugging, retention of dead skin cells and development of whiteheads, blackheads, and small papules and pustules. Severe cases can involve cysts and may need to be treated with isotretinoin.
Exfoliation, debridement, and elimination of comedones is the mainstay of treatment for most cases of back acne. It really boils down to mechanically exfoliating and debriding on a daily basis with home care products and occasionally having a professional treatment consisting of comedone extraction, microdermabrasion and chemical peels designed for back use.
EXFOLIATION: This refers to the mechanical or chemical removal of dead skin cells from the top layer of skin on your back. The accumulation of dead skin, particularly around the oil gland openings contributes to the collection and backup of oil and debris causing blackheads and clogged pores to occur on the back. Over the counter acne cleansers using salicylic acids are the most effective in beginning this process. You can amplify the effect by using additional mechanical systems such as a bath brush, scrubbing pads or the Clarisonic Ultrasonic cleansing system.
RETINOIDS: A class of drugs called tretinoins are also valuable in creating an increased epidermal turnover and assisting in the gradual elimination of blackheads and whiteheads. These are prescription medications which can be added to your back program over time.
BENZOYL PEROXIDES: The only topical antibacterial products which have never had any demonstration of bacterial resistance. These are important for controlling the inflammatory component of back acne. They can be used as part of a skin cleansing system such as our RefinedMD BP Wash with aloe or as a leave on the product which can be OTC or by prescription. Virtually all benzoyl peroxides are in products which are not prescription based.
SILK PEEL: For recalcitrant back acne, we can use the power of microdermabrasion and the assist of suction to mechanically remove dead skin, oil plugs and debris. Cleansing the skin and opening up the pores can dramatically reduce acne problems on the back. Insurance usually does not cover these treatments.
CHEMICAL PEELS: Often overlooked in the treatment of back acne, but the right concentration of salicylic acid or TCA can be very beneficial in removing dead skin and debris and giving the skin the chance to rejuvenate and recover. These are often done in a series spaced about three weeks apart. These are not covered by insurance.