What are the causes and treatment for back acne?
I have been suffering from back acne for more than 6 years now. The acne usually develops when I perspire and it itches. I have seen countless derms and have been given topical Differin and Clindamycin 1% as well as oral Doxy and Tetracyclin. It never really goes away- after one acne heals, a new one pops up. I have even went for laser procedures done by an aesthetic doctor but it keeps coming back. Just recently, a family GP told me that it might actually be fungal acne since I do not get ANY acne on my chest and face (except when I have my period). I was prescribed with Clotrimazole topical but the results were the same- just as one acne heals, a few others pop out.
So what exactly am I suffering from and what should I do? 🙁 Will Zinc Pyrithione soap bar help?
Thanks in advance for the help!
Hi Esn, I fully concur with Dr Colin’s answer. Just chipping in with a little bit of personal experience as I suffered something similar to what you’ve described –
Your GP may rightly have suspected a “fungal” type of acne from your history, or a condition called Pityrosporum folliculitis.
As you’ve described, it’s commonly associated with sweat and acne appearing on your back. With Pityrosporum follicultis, you may also notice some lighter spots (or hypopigmentation) on your back, a condition known as tinea versicolor (click link for images). I experienced both of these myself.
Clotrimazole topical (an anti-fungal) is one of the correct treatments.
Selsun (available over the pharmacy in most Guardian pharmacies in Singapore) is another topical treatment for Pityrosporum follicultis which you could try – this worked pretty well for me. Zinc Pyrithione is one of the ingredients in Selsun.
Dr Colin’s advise still stands – visit a doctor to get the diagnosis and treatment right.
The problem you have just described is not uncommon and I have seen many patients with truncal acne which can sometimes be rather stubborn or persistent. It is true that sometimes, acne-like lesions on the trunk can be due to a fungal infection. The appearance can be very similar to acne. At times, you can even have both present at the same time. A fungal scraping can help in confirming the diagnosis.
It is difficult to tell from the description if your condition is predominantly due to acne or a fungal infection. As the treatment is very different for both conditions, an accurate diagnosis is very important in this case. You may want to consult a dermatologist to help confirm the diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment.