netdoctor: Dr Ross Perry on ‘bacne’

Acne and Spots Skin Problems on the Back

Expert Comment by Dr Ross Perry

netdoctor’s feature on ‘bacne’ explores the difficult issues of acne on the back.

Acne is a common issue in the UK and while it is most dominant in the teens/twenties, it can continue into adulthood.

back skin acneMost of the focus is on facial acne but many people also suffer from acne on the body – commonly on the back. It is particularly distressing for patients, as Dr Ross Perry explained to netdoctor:

“Bacne – or breakouts of spots on the back – can be very frustrating for clients, as skin on the back is not normally as prone to excess sebum production as facial skin.

“It’s seen as a sign of the problem spreading out of control onto larger areas.”

9 Facts About Bacne

  1. Largely caused by stress/hormones
    Stress is the most common external trigger of acne. Other potential causes include hormones and genetic predisposition. Dr Perry says:

    “Stress is probably the most common external trigger of acne, whether that’s facial or on the body.

    “Patients can find that high periods of stress cause the skin to go into overdrive in terms of sebum production, which triggers acne outbreaks.”

  2. High intensity exercise
    Excessive sweat through exercise can trap sebum, where acne bacteria become overactive and cause acne outbreaks
  3. Spots affect some more than others
    This depends on the cause.  Stress-related acne should pass after the trigger, but hormonal or genetic acne can last a long time. Dr Perry says:

    “Acne related to short term stress e.g. exams can go of its own cause after the stress has passed. However, genetic predisposition to acne means that it could go on for a very long time, especially if not treated.”

  4. Not just a teenage problem
    Stress, diet, lifestyle, hormones and genetics can cause outbreaks or continuance of the problem into adulthood
  5. Treat the source of the problem.
    Dr Perry says:

    “Body acne can be difficult to treat. The first step is to determine the root cause of the problem – if there is an obvious cause then that it may be possible to address that problem (e.g. stress, diet) and hope that the acne also improves. Otherwise I would recommend seeing a dermatologist for treatment. Medication is generally the best option for treating body acne.”

  6. Prevention
    Understanding the cause is key, but lifestyle factors help too – healthy diet and lifestyle can improve the skin and also improve underlying stress
  7. Review dairy intake
  8. Avoid squeezing and ‘miracle cures’
    Dr Perry says:

    “Doctors are increasingly seeing patients who’ve tried ‘miracle cure’ creams or supplements, but they can actually cause more problems. See a GP for best advice!”

  9. Seek help
    Severe, painful acne requires medical attention, but if the acne is also affecting quality of life then patients should see a doctor. Dr Perry says:

    “People should also seek treatment if back acne is affecting a person’s quality of life – for example, with low confidence/self-esteem affecting social interaction or even clothing choices.”


doctor ross perryDr Ross Perry regularly provides expert comment and advises the media on a range of skincare and health-related issues.

He has particular expertise in skin surgery mole removal, sun damage and melanoma; having removed thousands of moles in his career, both within the NHS and privately through Cosmedics Skin Clinics.


Acne Treatments

There are now professional acne treatments which can be used to improve acne and avoid the risk of long term acne scarring.

ClearSkin is a laser acne treatment available at Cosmedics’ Putney Beauty Salon. The revolutionary system uses non-ablative laser to destroy the overactive bacteria causing the inflammation within the skin, then exfoliates the skin to remove unwanted substances from the pores, leaving skin intensely clean. The laser also stimulates skin healing, leaving it healthier and more radiant.

Other options are:


Cosmedics Skin Clinics was established in 2003 and has built up an excellent reputation for cosmetic and medical treatments, carried out by GMC Registered Doctors.  The company offer a full range of cosmetic treatments, including popular lip enhancement and wrinkle relaxing injections, dermal fillers; plus medical treatments including mole removal, thread vein treatment and excessive sweating injections.

Cosmedics Skin Clinics was has a team of skin treatment doctors and surgeons in their 5 skin clinics across London and Bristol led by Dr Ross Perry.

Call 020 7386 0464 or email to book an appointment.

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