Why do I get spots on my back?

I’m 21 and I consider myself to be fit and healthy. But I’ve started to get loads of spots on my back and I just don’t understand it. Is there anything I can do to make them go away for good?

Most people experience spots in their teens, and they can appear anywhere from the face to the neck, back or chest. But many people are also affected in their 20s and 30s.

A healthy lifestyle (a good diet, moderate exercise, low stress etc) is always going to be beneficial to your body, but unfortunately it doesn’t guarantee smooth skin. If you’ve only recently started going to the gym it could be that the extra sweating is causing the spots. Other possible reasons could be new medication you’re taking, or perhaps there’s a hormonal cause.

Spots on areas of the body should generally be treated the same way as on the face. We have lots of information about treating acne here.

It’s worth knowing body acne is more resistant to facial treatment because body skin is thicker. There’s also constant friction from clothes. Showering as soon as you can after times when you may be sweating (e.g. after sport or during summer months) before applying a treatment can help though.

Be warned: if you use a product like Clearasil on your back you should be careful not to let it get into contact with genital areas, where the skin is extremely sensitive. Using products like facial scrubs or tea tree oil is milder; tea tree is a natural antiseptic and is available from most pharmacies.

If your spots seem resistant to any product and you’re still concerned, ask your doctor (GP) to refer you to a dermatologist. In the meantime, check out the British Association of Dermatologists. There’s a section about acne which you may find interesting.


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