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How to Care for Your Back | Common Concerns + Natural Solutions

For the third installment of our summer skin series, we are addressing the back. Our backs come in contact with many products and surfaces throughout the day that we may not be aware of. In this blog, we will go through a number of factors that may be contributing to different types of acne and how to eliminate them. We’ll recommend when and how to know it’s time to go see a Naturopathic Doctor. We will also provide advice on preventative habits that you can make a part of your overall lifestyle to keep acne off your back.


We are in a season where sweating is unavoidable, between heatwaves and outdoor activities our bodies are prone to sweat more. Clogged pores are the simplest explanation for the mild acne you might be experiencing. Make sure to take a full body shower morning and night, especially after physical activity or spending time outside like a day at the beach. You want to rinse off the sweat, dirt, pollution, and any sunblock you have on. You can use our exfoliator on areas where you have acne in the shower. The natural salicylic acid will help gently exfoliate the skin without aggravating it.

Sports Acne

Acne on your back may occur if you spend time at the gym or a workout studio. Make sure to take a shower after you exercise. Be sure that your workout clothes are breathable and are not too tight. If your skin doesn’t have a chance to breathe, the dirt and sweat will get trapped in your pores causing acne. Also, make sure that you are wearing fresh work-out clothes everytime you hit the gym.

If you use gym equipment, wipe it down before your skin comes into contact with a machine or wear clothes that cover your back fully. The same thing applies if you rent or use a studio mat in a yoga or pilates class. Mats can host bacteria if not properly cleaned. We suggest bringing your own mat to classes and wiping it down before and after each use.

For cleansing, we recommend using a natural soap with tea tree essential oil on your body to help reduce bacteria and keep it from spreading. You can also cleanse your back and shoulders with our oil cleanser after a workout, and at night apply a zinc cream, like our Zinc Balm, on the areas with deeper/cystic acne to prevent scarring.

If you use a protein powder that contains whey or creatine that may also be causing acne. Try replacing it with a vegan option.

Pomade Acne

Pomade acne is caused by hair products, namely shampoos and conditioners. A number of drugstore hair products contain petroleum byproducts and sulfates that cause irritation, imbalance and lead to acne. Even if you’re careful, it is hard to control product dripping down your shoulders and back. The best thing to do is to switch to natural products. Using natural, non-toxic products is not only good for your skin, it’s good for your overall health.

Hot Showers

Hot water strips the skin of the natural oils that protect it. Taking really hot showers can cause extra sebum production which in turn may cause acne. Our advice is to turn the heat down. You will always get better results with a gentler approach.

Toxin Purging

If you have recently switched to natural products or are doing a juice or food cleanse you might be experiencing acne due to toxin purging. Often when you make a change in what you eat and what you use topically from conventional to organic your body will go through a detox. Physically and emotionally you might experience feeling worse before feeling better due to toxins exiting your body. As the largest organ, the skin takes on a lot of the purging that may show up as acne both on the face and body. To help your systems purge efficiently be sure to drink lots of water and herbal teas. Try not to pick the skin and know that it is a phase that will pass. Applying a spot treatment like our Clear Skin Advanced Spot Treatment will help blemishes disappear faster and curb your urge to pick.


Stress can be a factor in causing acne because stress can affect your hormone levels. Just like your face, your back has many oil glands that produce sebum. When your hormones are stable the sebum production is regulated, when your hormones fluctuate so does the production of sebum. We suggest incorporating de-stressing activities into your week to keep you grounded. Try meditating, taking walks and making gratitude lists, practice self-care regularly and prioritize your sleep.


Incorporate baths into your evening routine. Epsom salt baths are a great way to detoxify your skin and calm your nervous system. We recommend adding 5-10 drops of our Spot Concentrate for a detoxifying boost.

Dry brushing daily is another great way to help your body expel toxins from your system. Remember to do it before your shower or bath so that all the dead skin cells you stimulated wash away.


Take care of your gut. Acne is a symptom of inflammation. One simple way to keep your gut healthy is by adding a tablespoon of unpasteurized and organic apple cider vinegar to your water in the morning. This will put more prebiotics in your body which is food for the probiotics, the good bacteria in your gut that is essential for your health. The healthier and more supported your gut is, the healthier you are and your skin as a result. You can also include gut supporting foods into your diet like fermented vegetables, miso soup, bone broth, kombucha, and turmeric. As well as increase your vitamin A and Zinc intake by and consuming foods such as Pumpkin, Oysters, Seeds, Squash, and Fish!

Knowing when you need a specialist:

  • If you’ve been struggling with acne on shoulders and back, and it is getting worse.
  • If your acne is painful or inflamed.
  • If you are noticing that the acne gets worse during certain times of the month.
  • If you would like to learn how to balance hormones and speed up wound healing.

Get your Hormone Levels Checked

Acne on the back and shoulders can often be a sign of hormonal imbalance, specifically high testosterone levels. Book an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor to get your hormone levels tested. Once you know what is happening in your body, your Naturopathic Doctor will suggest ways to balance hormones with diet and herbs specific to you.

Looks like Acne, but Isn’t Acne

It is also possible that what you are seeing is keratosis pilaris. It often looks a lot like acne but it’s a different skin condition that is a result of nutrient deficiencies. A Naturopathic Doctor can diagnose and make a plan of action to help with keratosis pilaris as well.


We have a new acupuncture treatment for back acne at the clinic with Dr. Irons: Targeted Naturopathic Acupuncture For The Back. In these appointments, you will receive acupuncture along the back and body to help reduce inflammation, increase blood circulation, and balance hormones. Along with your acupuncture appointments, we will discuss topical and internal treatment plan to address the acne, reduce scar formation, and speed wound healing.


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