Blackheads are dark bumps on your skin that form around the opening of hair follicles. They’re caused by dead skin cells and oil clogging the follicles. Blackheads are one of the most common types of acne and often appear on the face, shoulders, or back.
Even though back blackheads can be annoying, they’re rarely a serious condition. Back blackheads can be a little trickier to treat than those on other parts of your body because they’re harder to reach. However, you can often treat them yourself.
Keep reading to find out the best ways to deal with back blackheads. We’ll also look at what causes blackheads and how you can prevent them from forming.
You can often get rid of blackheads at home without needing to see a doctor. Here are some home remedies for back blackheads.
Washing your back with a cleanser containing salicylic acid has the potential to break down oil and dead skin cells that cause blackheads. It also helps
Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and oil from your skin that can lead to blackheads. It’s a good idea to use gentle exfoliators that contain alpha and beta hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid.
Some people find it helpful to make an exfoliant at home by mixing equal parts baking soda and water. After mixing these ingredients, you can massage the paste into your black and rinse it off with warm water.
Heating your skin has the potential to open up your pores and release oil and dead skin cells. Try soaking a washcloth in warm water and covering your back with it. You can leave it on for about 15 minutes.
You can try mixing a teaspoon of dried green tea leaves with water to make a paste. Gently massage the paste into your back for 2 to 3 minutes and rinse with warm water.
You can also treat your blackheads with a prescription-strength medication or with help from a dermatologist.
A topical retinoid is often the first-line treatment option for blackheads. They come in over-the-counter and prescription strengths to help unclog your pores and promote the production of skin cells.
Tretinoin and tazarotene are two common types of retinoids prescribed for blackheads.
Chemical peels are often used as an anti-aging method. However, they also have the potential to remove dead skin cells on the surface of your skin and may help get rid of blackheads.
A dermatologist or a trained skin care specialist should perform a chemical peel.
A doctor may prescribe antibiotics for severe acne. They help kill off the bacteria that cause acne. However, antibiotics have the potential to cause side effects, so they’re generally used short term for severe acne.
Microdermabrasion is a way of exfoliating skin that’s performed by a skincare professional. During the procedure, the provider will sand away the top layer of your skin to remove built-up skin cells.
Blackheads on your back are harder to reach than blackheads on most other parts of your body. However, even if you can reach them, it’s usually not a good idea to squeeze them. Squeezing blackheads yourself can lead to irritation, infection, or scarring.
It’s often a better idea to get a dermatologist to remove a blackhead. A dermatologist will use professional techniques and sterile equipment to minimize the risk of infection or scarring.
Treating an infected blackhead on your back
A blackhead may be infected if it looks red, is swollen, or has white or yellow pus.
Infected blackheads often get better by themselves. However, if you notice any signs that the infection is spreading or if it doesn’t get better after several days, you may want to visit a doctor to get a prescription antibiotic.
In some cases, infected blackheads may turn into large cysts that a dermatologist has to drain.
Most people experience blackheads occasionally, but developing the following habits may help you decrease the frequency you experience back blackheads:
- Shower and change your shirt after exercise.
- Wear loose-fitting cotton workout clothes.
- Exfoliate your back regularly to remove dead skin cells.
- Wash you back with a cleanser containing salicylic acid.
- Apply tea tree oil, which early research suggests may kill acne-causing bacteria.
- Use an oil-free sunscreen.
- Avoid overmoisturizing your skin.
- Resist the temptation to pick at blackheads.
- Change your sheets weekly.
- Quit smoking. Quitting can be difficult, but a doctor can help you come up with a plan that works for you.
When sebum and dead skin cells clog a hair follicle, they cause a bump called a comedone. The comedone turns into a whitehead if the follicle is blocked. When the follicle remains open, it turns into a blackhead.
The following may lead to the development of blackheads:
- increased levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone
- irritation of your hair follicle
- high consumption of dairy and high-sugar foods
- build-up of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes
- certain types of drugs like corticosteroids or androgens
It may be time to visit a doctor if you’ve tried several at-home remedies and find that they aren’t helping with your blackheads. A doctor can prescribe a medication like tretinoin that may help you get rid of your blackheads.
If acne continues to persist for longer than 6 to 8 weeks even after seeing a doctor, you might want to visit a dermatologist who can offer you advice on specific ways to get rid of your blackheads. They can also use techniques like chemical peels and microdermabrasion to remove blackheads.
Blackheads are a common type of acne caused by clogged hair follicles. They can often be treated at home, but if they’re persistent, you can see a doctor or dermatologist for individualized treatment options.
If you’re currently dealing with back acne, washing your back twice daily with mild soap and water may help prevent breakouts. It’s also a good idea to change your shirt after sweating to prevent a buildup of bacteria.