Acne, clinically known as retention hyperkeratosis, is an inherited disorder of the pores that effects over 50 million Americans each year. Retention hyperkeratosis is defined by accelerated and excessive skin cell shedding within the pore. A normal, healthy pore sheds about one layer of dead skin cells per day—it is not difficult for the body to keep up with this rate of skin cell shedding. When someone experiences acne, their body cannot keep up with their pores, as they are shedding five times the normal rate. This excess shedding of skin cells coupled with the oily, waxy nature of sebum creates the microcomedone, the beginning of all acne lesions. While acne can be a difficult skin condition to treat, treating acne on the face can be a straightforward process with the proper training. But not every client will experience acne on their face or not only on their face. Back acne, or bacne as it is commonly referred to in the esthetic industry, is an extremely familiar occurrence for many.
Acne Vs. Bacne
Acne on the face and acne on the back are not so different. Acne can affect any area of the body that has sebaceous glands or hair follicles such as the chest, back and shoulders. However, we have found that there are usually more lifestyle factors we are contending with when dealing with body acne than when dealing with the typical issue of retention hyperkeratosis.
The ingredients used to treat back acne can be the same, but are typically tolerated at a higher strength than what is used on the face. This is true for the products a client is using in their home care regimen and the treatments performed by a skin care professional. There will be more overlap between lifestyle guidance and home care regimens when you are speaking to acne clients with more than one bodily area of concern.
Alex Hernandez is a licensed esthetician and the clinic manager and lead educator at the Face Reality Acne Clinic in San Leandro, CA. She became a Face Reality Certified Acne Expert in 2018 and has worked with hundreds
of acne clients in her esthetics career.