Most of the real acne-healing magic happens overnight. “Getting a good amount of sleep and keeping your stress levels low really helps prevent back acne from flaring up," says Dr. Graf. Keep your bedroom air temperature relatively cool so you don't sweat in your sleep. “If you have long hair, try to sleep with your hair up so any potential pore-clogging products you're using on your strands don't brush up against your back," she says. You want to wear loose cotton clothing at night, which not only absorbs moisture better, but also gives your back acne some room to breathe and lets these easy-to-use bacne treatments work their powers while you sleep.
1. Obviously, the major issue of getting rid of back acne is that the area is difficult to reach. If your fiancé isn't able to help rub on a lotion, this clarifying spray with salicylic acid solves the issue with a 360 degree nozzle that you can even spritz upside down. It's also made with menthol, which helps cool and comfort irritated skin—particularly rejuvenating after a tough workout.
Murad Clarifying Body Spray, $40, sephora.com
2. This handy salicylic spray also sprays on in any direction and you'll appreciate its quick-drying powers so you don't have to wait too long before tossing on your clothes. The travel-friendly size is great for maintaining your regimen during your honeymoon, too.
Glytone Back Acne Spray, $19, dermstore.com
3. This beta hydroxy acid spray has a smaller concentration of salicylic acid (about 0.5%) but is made of a unique mix of other ingredients like sodium chlorite that are particularly good at breaking apart bacteria for an extended period of time.
Glo Therapeutics Back Acne Treatment, $33.50, gloprofessional.com
With an at-home program, you want to give it at least a month before you start seeing results. “You can absolutely treat acne with products from the drugstore or department store, but you won't see an acne-clearing phenomenon happen overnight," says dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf, an assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. “You have to be proactive about seeing it through for at least four to five weeks, and if you're not finding any improvement, it's time to make an appointment with a derm."
Prescription Acne Treatments
If you have recurring acne, cystic acne or you're experiencing dark marks and scars, make an appointment with your dermatologist. A doctor can assess the severity of your situation and pinpoint the issue so you're not wasting time on time or money on over-the-counter products that aren't strong enough. “Your dermatologist will be able to figure out the best method of treatment, whether it's a low-dose antibiotic, a change of birth control pills, a more powerful topical cream or a cortisone shot," says Dr. Jaliman.
Many of these treatments will also take about a month for you to really start seeing results, but a cortisone shot will show immediate improvement—useful if you feel a stress pimple rearing its ugly head a few days before your wedding. “The best part is that your doctor can usually can administer a steroid shot the same day that you call because the procedure is very quick," says Dr. Graf.
If the issue still doesn't subside, have a conversation with your dermatologist about other long-term prescription drug options like Aczone, Accutane or spironolactone for hormonal acne, says Dr. Graf.
For the DIY-er
We'd be lying if we said we haven't tried home bacne remedies like toothpaste as an acne spot treatment and a lemon to lighten dark marks. But especially in the months leading up to your wedding, now isn't the time to be particularly experimental with incorporating homemade or kitchen ingredients into your routine. “There isn't much scientific backing with the success of food-grade products used topically," says Dr. Graf. “I'd recommend sticking to a healthy, balanced diet, and avoid dairy, which has hormones that are known to irritate sensitive skin. When you digest food, the acids in your stomach gets rid of any toxins, but if you apply it topically, you're exposing the blemish to invisible chemicals and bacteria," she says. A gentle sugar or salt scrub made with olive oil can be a great homemade exfoliator, but beyond that it's worth the investment of purchasing skin care products with ingredients that are proven to be effective on bacne.