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A spot of bother

How to blitz those problem areas on your back...

A spot of bother
Danielle de Wolfe
08 September 2011

Q: Is there any way to treat or cure zits on my back? I’ve had them for as long as I remember but don’t suffer from acne anywhere else.

Guy, Preston

Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:

‘Bacne’ is a surprisingly common affliction. It’s not just hormonal teens that suffer from pimples, pustules, lesions and inflammation on their back and buttocks, but grown men can fall prey to the condition too. Avid sportsmen who insist on sweating in tight fitting clothes are particularly prone to pustules on their posterior.

I noticed that when I took up long distance running some years ago, I developed a bad case of breakouts on my shoulder blades. All that profuse sweating had created a film on my body that, combined with the surface oils on the skin, literally trapped all kinds of gunk in the pores on my back.

Showering straight after a workout and regular exfoliation with a long-handled brush helped. I also had to ditch that ridiculous compression clothing for something a little looser. With hindsight, those running tights made me look like a prat anyway.

I still needed a dedicated chemical exfoliant to help break down the greasy film on my back, though. The problem is treating your own back is logistically impossible unless you’re capable of contorting yourself into a human corkscrew. Enter Murad’s Clarifying Body Spray (£33 for 125ml from, which can easily be spritzed onto the back from any angle. It contains a good dose of salicylic acid, which is one of the most effective treatments for stripping dead skin cells and treating mild cases of acne.

It’s really important to get those problem areas as early as possible since the risk for infection is pretty high. Last but not least, resist the urge to pop the little blighters as bad case has a habit of causing some pretty nasty scars. And remember to shower. Definitely remember to shower.

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(Image: Rex Features)