Back Acne Treatment in Singapore: Definition, Causes, and Treatment

Author: FITivate | Published date: August 9, 2021 | Category: Medical

Back acne – commonly known as “ Bacne “.

Like acne and pimples on the face, they are due to bacterial infection of hair follicles of the back.

They are pretty common and in face, may affect more than half of people with acne. [1

Back acne is due to the accumulation of oil and keratin within the pores of the skin, combined with an overgrowth of bacteria, which triggers an inflammatory response. 

Increased sweating and friction from clothes and athletic gear can also be a contributing factor for back and shoulder acnes [2]

How to treat back acne in singapore?

#1. Lifestyle changes

The weather in Singapore is so humid and warm. Therefore when we work out or exercise, take note to develop these habits.

  • Wear loose-fitting workout clothes made of cotton or sweat-wicking fabric
  • Wash workout clothes after each use
  • Shower and change out of your sweat-drenched clothes ASAP
  • If you cannot shower immediately, use and oil-free cleansing wipe to gently wipe off your sweaty skin. [3]

Use appropriate skin care products for the back

  • use gentle, fragrance-free skin-care products. Avoid abrasive scrubs and astringents
  • Use oil-free skincare products that says “non-comedogenic“, “non-acnegenic” or “oil free”

Eat healthy. Research shows that foods high on the glycemic index (GI), meaning they cause your blood sugar to rise quickly, may make acne worse. These foods include white breads, white pasta and rice, and white potatoes. [4

  • Drink 6-8 glasses of plain water a day
  • Avoid drinks high in sugar and dairy products
  • Take a healthy, balanced diet with lots fruits and vegetables and whole grains
  • In our Singaporean Asian context, cut down on rice and noodle intake. 

#2. Topical products 

Topical products for back acne includes:

  • Cleansers and wash
  • Medicated creams and gels

Cleansers and wash

In Singapore, some of the common cleansers available that contains salicylic acid includes

There are many other products on the shelves of major pharmacies in Singapore. Look out for the salicylic content on the product description. 

Medicated creams and gels

Topical retinoids

These are doctor-prescribed only in Singapore. They help in reducing oil and sebum production, reducing congestion of our hair follicles and help in drying up active pimples fast. 

These can be products that are retinoid-containing only like:

  • Differin
  • Stieva-A
  • Retinol 

Or they may be combined with other medications like antibiotics or Benzoyl peroxide as mentioned above. A common example would be Epiduo ( Differin + benzoyl peroxide ).

Topical Benzoyl peroxide 

Benzoyl peroxide helps in killing the bacteria. In addition, it reduces oil production and helps active pimples dry up faster and promote faster healing.

Again, some of the products available in Singapore includes:

Antibiotics creams & gels

Antibiotics help by killing the bacteria and reducing the inflammation of the pimples. [5]

These are doctor’s prescribed only in SIngapore. The common antibiotics available in our Singapore market are

  • Clindamycin containing creams or gel : eg. Dalacin T gel or cream

#3 Oral medications

Antibiotics tablets are usually used in combination with a topical treatment to treat more severe acne. [6

Some commonly used antibiotics in Singapore include, doxycycline, minocycline and erythromycin. 

Oral isotretinoin is a treatment used for moderate to severe type acne. Its benefits to acne skin includes :

  • Normalising sebum and reducing skin oiliness
  • Reducing clogged follicles
  • Reduces bacteria load on the skin
  • Reduces redness and swelling of the pimples

However, it does come with systemic side effects. Consult your doctor for more information. 

#4 Treatment and therapies

Some of the common treatments done in clinics in Singapore includes:

  • Laser treatment like Nd:yag lasers and vascular lasers
  • Intense pulse light

These laser and light treatments help to reduce acne inflammation and reduce clogging of follicles. These treatments can cost 100-200 SGD per treatment.

  • Chemical peel

is also a very effective treatment in particular for back acne as the peels can help to reduce oil production, reduce clogging of follicles. [7]  

Chemical peel may cost 100-200 SGD per treatment. 

Careful drainage and extractions may also be done in the doctor’s office for certain types of acne. Do take note however that extractions may cause scarrings

By : Dr Chen Yiming- Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)


[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/acne/

[2] https://www.everydayhealth.com/acne/back-acne-treatment.aspx

[3] https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/DIY/back-acne

[4] https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/causes/diet

[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20368048

[6] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/acne/treatment/

[7] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20368048



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