How to Get Rid of Back Acne and Acne Scars Before Your Wedding

With a little TLC and expert advice, you'll be picture-perfect for your big day.
Bride and bridesmaids in open back dresses
Photo: Anna Kobycheva / Shutterstock
jenn barthole headshot
Jenn Barthole
jenn barthole headshot
Jenn Barthole
The Knot Fashion & Beauty Contributor
  • Based in New York City, Jenn Barthole is a Freelance Editor for The Knot, where she contributes fashion and beauty content.
  • Jenn also contributes wellness, interiors, celebrity, fashion, beauty, and travel content to notable publications including ELLE, Refinery 29, Domino, TripAdvisor, EBONY, Cosmopolitan and PopSugar.
  • She graduated with a major in Communications and a minor in Spanish, from Loyola University in Balt...
Updated Nov 21, 2023
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

Back acne, or "bacne" as we jokingly call it, is like an unexpected guest who shows up uninvited at your wedding. It's unwanted and frankly, kills the mood—especially if you're wearing an open-back dress. Thankfully, we've got the scoop on how to get rid of back acne, so nothing will come between you and glowing confidence as you walk down the aisle.

Clearing up back acne can be especially challenging since you have to contort your body just to catch a glimpse of it. Also, the skin of your back is thicker than the skin on your face, so your typical skincare products may not be as effective. To ensure that you're on the path to being spotless, visit your derm at least a few months ahead of your nuptials. Not only will they be helpful in creating a personalized treatment plan, but they'll also share product recommendations and insider tips to get your skin back in tip-top shape.

Ready to kick your pimples to the curb? We consulted board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nicole Ruth, DO, FAAD, to create a helpful guide on how to prevent, treat, and get rid of bacne, along with coverup tricks and a list of our favorite zit-zapping products.

In this article:

What Causes Back Acne?

In order to tackle back acne head-on, it's important to understand the source of your breakouts, which can include cystic acne, whiteheads, and blackheads. According to Dr. Ruth, there is a wide variety of potential causes at the root of bacne. The most obvious is stress, which is likely at an all-time high leading up to your nuptials. Other reasons include, "oil production, bacteria growth, hormones, and keratin buildup around your hair follicles which contributes to creating bumps on the skin". Outside of those internal causes, acne can be caused by dirty bedding, an unhealthy lifestyle, dehydration, tight clothing, and lack of hygiene.

How to Get Rid of Back Acne

There are some simple prevention strategies that you can start using immediately to eradicate your bumps. Remember consistency is crucial when it comes to clearing up your skin. So if you find a product or technique that works—give it time and stick with it!

Go Hands Free

For starters, "when you feel or see a pimple appearing, do not try to pick or pop it! We all have bacteria under our fingernails, so when you try and pop a small pimple it can increase the risk of infection and spread to nearby pores. Infected pimples hurt more and may lead to scarring" explains Dr. Ruth.

Make a Date With Your Derm

The oh-so-dreaded large cystic pimples can be incredibly painful and unfortunately, more noticeable than other blemishes. To calm them down quickly, Dr. Ruth suggests, "Visit your dermatologist for a cortisone injection. If you can't make it to your dermatologist, I like patients to apply a pimple patch to the area so they aren't tempted to pick at it." Both methods can rapidly reduce inflammation, relieve discomfort, and minimize scarring.

Be Picky With Your Products

Before buying any topical products, always check out the ingredients. Aim for a multi-acid formula that contains salicylic acid (BHA) and benzoyl peroxide. The power couple clears congestion, dissolves oil, and can quicken the healing process. Retinoids are also helpful for treating hormonal acne and promoting cell turnover to reduce scarring. To maintain hydration and protect the skin barrier, select products with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.

Stick To The Plan

Following a strict skincare routine will speed up the reparative process. Start by cleansing with a 2% salicylic acid body wash daily. Then use a gentle scrub or chemical exfoliants to clear out congested pores. Next, use a spot treatment or pimple patches to spot-treat any cystic pimples or hyperpigmentation. Finally, apply any preventative product to stop new blemishes from forming like the Paula's Choice Skincare Acne Body Spray (one of our favorites).

Develop Good Habits

Post-working out, switch out of your sweaty gear and shower immediately to avoid trapping sweat and grime. Wash your sheets and pillowcases routinely to keep from transferring dirt and bacteria onto your skin. To manage stress levels, which can exacerbate acne and lead to recurring breakouts, dedicate some time every day for mindful activities, like meditation, and regular exercise.

How to Get Rid of Back Acne Scars

Fading back acne scars is a gradual and sometimes frustrating process, that requires serious patience and may entail a combination of treatment and products. Unfortunately, there are many types of acne scarring, so certain methods may not work for everyone. To guarantee success, have a chat with your doctor and check out our solutions below:

Brighten Up

Applying a vitamin C serum daily can drastically improve the appearance of dark spots. The antioxidant ingredient is proven to help visibly fade hyperpigmentation. If you need a more potent product "you can use topicals such as prescription-strength retinoids which promote new skin cell growth and helps even out texture" explains Dr. Ruth.

Consider In-Office Treatments

For a more efficient method to get rid of deep scarring, Dr. Ruth suggests researching in-office procedures that employ cutting-edge technology, "like laser treatments including Fraxel 1550, radiofrequency combined with microneedling, or chemical peels". These FDA-approved procedures boost collagen and skin resurfacing, leading to improved tone and texture, less visible marks, and hyperpigmentation.

Protect Your Skin

Overexposure to UV rays can worsen the appearance of acne scars and hyperpigmentation. So steer clear of the sun or be sure to always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30+) and reapply it every 2 hours of sun exposure. Also, wear breathable fabrics that allow for airflow to prevent congestion.

How to Cover Back Acne for Your Wedding

On your big day, using makeup to hide any remaining bacne or scarring can make you feel way more comfortable in your dress. If you prefer bare skin, choose a dress style that covers the areas that you are most concerned about. Either way, you'll be able to focus on the momentous occasion, instead of worry about your skin.

Conceal Imperfections

Prior to your wedding, alert your makeup pro about your blemishes and send a photo. They may advise using airbrush or regular makeup to cover them up. To be safe, purchase a full-coverage, waterproof body foundation or concealer and test it to make sure it matches your skin tone. Not only do these products last all day, but they're also sweat and smudge-resistant. Spray tans can also make scars less noticeable.

Strategic Styling

If your bacne is minor, there are some easy beauty and fashion tricks that will hide any bumps. Opt for a fabulous, long hairstyle (add extensions if needed) that covers your back completely. And if your dress is backless, wear an extensive veil and a chic shawl to the reception. You've got this!

The Best Products for Treating Back Acne

To help you achieve your skin goals, we've rounded up 10 of our go-to, back acne-fighting products. Our list of editor-approved topicals will help with everything from reducing redness to fading scars and unclogging your pores so you'll be strutting down the aisle and glowing with confidence.

Isle of Paradise Body Brilliantly Bright Body Cleanser

Isle of Paradise Body Brilliantly Bright Body Cleanser
Photo: Isle of Paradise

Formulated to target skin concerns including acne, dry skin, and discoloration, this ultra-creamy body cleanser is filled with powerhouse ingredients, including salicylic and mandelic acids to target pimples, as well as vitamin C and niacinamide to brighten dull spots. Gentle enough for daily use, the pH-balanced cleanser has hyaluronic acid to encourage healthy skin barrier function, smooth textured patches, and leave your back feeling super soft.

Topicals Slather Body Serum

Topicals Slather Body Serum
Photo: Topicals

While most serums are designed to be used on your face only, this milky body serum and moisturizer is created to slather away dead skin and clogged pores on thicker skin, like your back. Whether you are combating bumpy blemishes or Keratosis Pilaris, it addresses visible roughness and dry patches, by harnessing active ingredients like highly active retinol, squalane, and AHAs. The serum also helps to tone and retexture the skin for an ultra-soft, firm finish.

Zitsticka Goo Getter™ Body Patches

Zitsticka Goo Getter™ Body Patches
Photo: Zitsticka

Specifically made for body zits, these jumbo pimple patches are infused with derm-approved ingredients, like hydrocolloid and salicylic acid, to extract gunk and absorb impurities from cystic pimples on larger areas like your back. The patches also contain niacinamide, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and tea tree oil, to accelerate your skin's clarity and cell renewal.

Perricone Vitamin C Ester Intensive Dark Spot Treatment

Perricone Vitamin C Ester Intensive Dark Spot Treatment
Photo: Perricone

Use this potent, dark spot solution serum to visibly reduce the most stubborn pigmentations caused by breakouts. Designed with three forms of vitamin C, alpha-arbutin, and resorcinol, the silky product will even out your skin tone, fade acne scars, combat hyperpigmentation, and prevent existing marks from becoming darker.

Back To Earth Skin Glow Exfoliating Scrub

Back To Earth Skin Glow Exfoliating Scrub
Photo: Back To Earth Skin

Exfoliating regularly is essential for achieving clear skin. This scrub works intensely to remove dead cells and nourish the skin, without causing irritation. The proprietary formula contains a blend of delicious-smelling apricot seed powder, safflower seed oil, grapefruit seed extract, candelilla wax, moringa seed oil, sweet almond oil, and grapeseed oil. These ingredients provide natural microdermabrasion while hydrating your skin for a noticeable healthy-looking glow.

Paula's Choice Skincare Acne Body Spray

Paula's Choice Skincare Acne Body Spray
Photo: Paula's Skincare

Specifically made to target back acne, this exfoliating fluid formula is produced with maximum strength 2% BHA to penetrate pores, calm redness, and prevent new breakouts. Thankfully, the easy-to-use spray can be held at any angle, even upside down, to reach stubborn acne on hard-to-reach areas.

Guinot Paris Acnilogic Gel

Guinot Paris Acnilogic Gel
Photo: Guinot Paris Acnilogic Gel

Perfect for spot treatment or targeting larger cystic pimples, this gel has a triple-action formula that fights against the formation of new blemishes and soothe sensations of discomfort. Ideal for oily skin, it also contains glucobio ZN, a powerful purifying active ingredient, that diminishes excess sebum and tightens pores to eliminate shine. The jelly texture dries quickly, so you can layer makeup over it if needed.

Comfort Zone Luminant Cream

Comfort Zone Luminant Cream
Photo: Comfort Zone

Instead of using regular body lotion, apply this highly-concentrated, illuminating cream that is proven to visibly reduce dark spots within a month. The day-and-night moisturizer is clinically proven to correct hyperpigmentation and boost radiance, thanks to a combination of natural extracts and high-tech molecules such as Zingiber, 4-butyl resorcinol, Melano hexapeptide, and keratolytic enzyme.

Tula Acne Maximum Strength Biodegradable Toner Pads

Tula Acne Maximum Strength Biodegradable Toner Pads
Photo: Tula

As a substitute for a liquid toner, wipe down your back with these pH-balancing, biodegradable pads that are enriched with salicylic acid, niacinamide, and azelaic acid to fight breakouts. As a bonus, these are alcohol-free so they'll leave your skin replenished—never overly dry.

Under Your Skin Body Scrub

Under Your Skin Body Scrub
Photo: Under Your Skin

Post-workout, slather on this mineral-rich body scrub that is loaded with Himalayan salt granules to stop sweat and grime from clogging your pores. To prevent dryness, the scrub features a blend of nourishing oils to preserve and boost skin barrier function.

Up Next
  • Three backless wedding guest dresses
    25 Stunning Backless Wedding Guest Dresses