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Acne & “Bacne:” Treatments That Actually Work

Pimples on the face, chest, or back (popularly known as “bacne”) are very common in teenagers and adults of both sexes. When acne pimples are present in men (especially “bacne”), it can be associated with testosterone replacement therapy which promotes acne by activating the skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands. Most men suffering from acne have no identifiable trigger.  This can be frustrating and commonly results in purchasing many advertised acne treatments that may or may not work.

The most efficient and effective acne treatments are easily obtained by consulting a dermatologist who can customize a skincare routine according to your skin type, personal preferences, and lifestyle. A dermatologist will also perform a comprehensive skin examination and may suggest the following acne treatments for men:

  1. Topical antibiotics in the form of gels, cleansers, and lotions (clindamycin, sulfa, dapsone, minocycline)
  2. Topical retinoids such as adapalene (known as Differin gel, available over-the-counter), retinol, and prescription topical retinoids like tretinoin (Retin-A and others) and tazarotene (Tazorac cream and gel).
  3. Oral acne medications such as tetracycline antibiotics (ie, minocycline, doxycycline, saracycline). For severe acne associated with scarring, Accutane (isotretinoin) may be prescribed.
  4. Over-the-counter products are widely available and include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic, lactic, and glycolic acids (available in cleansers, creams, and lotions) and silicone pads.

Usually, acne pimples located on the back and chest are best treated with pills. This is because acne found on these body areas is usually more extensive and treatment-resistant than facial pimples alone. A dermatologist can be very helpful in formulating an effective treatment regimen for those who require prescription medication.

Lillian Soohoo, MD, Board-Certified Dermatologist  |  GSD Mountain View, CA & Los Gatos, CA

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