Experts Say a Back Facial Is the Answer to Bacne Flare Ups

Every acne-prone complexion knows how frustrating it can be to find a solution to pesky pimples and clogged pores. But acne in hard-to-target areas like the back and bum? Times that feeling by 10. 

While you can use acne-control body care, many experts also suggest a back facial or “bacial” to not only clear up breakouts, but also brighten and soften all skin from the neck down. We tapped celebrity aesthetician Cynthia Franco and licensed esthetician Eden Gilliam for more information on back facials, their benefits, and how to do one at home.


Body acne is extremely common (there’s a reason it brings up over 5 million search results on Google) and can pop up for a myriad of reasons. Like facial acne, bacne stems from a buildup of  sweat, oil, dead skin cells, and/or bacteria in the pores. The most common cause for body acne is not properly cleansing after sweating or working out, but it can also be triggered by hormones, inflammation, tight-fitting clothing, and external factors like piping hot showers, artificial fragrance-filled body wash, and not frequently washing your bedding.


As you may guess, a bacial is literally a facial for your back (it can also include other areas of the body, like the bum, back of the legs, and shoulders). A bacialist—yes, that’s a real job title—will typically double cleanse, exfoliate, extract, and/or apply a peel or mask depending on the skin’s needs. “After extractions, I use a peel of choice depending on the skin type. If the skin is dry, I use lactic acid. If bacne is present, I opt for a treatment that includes salicylic acid,” says Franco, like the Back-Up Plan Acne-Control Body Mist does. 

“If we’re looking to brighten hyperpigmentation, I lean towards kojic, azelaic, and/or glycolic acid,” she adds. Our Doctor’s Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask, which uses a blend of AHAs and vitamin C, is a great option here, too.


Anyone who has body care concerns can benefit from a bacial, especially those that deal with painful, cystic bacne or wear a fitted uniform daily. It is also great for anyone wearing a backless dress or shorts. “Wedding season is when I do a ton of back treatments,” Gilliam adds.

The results include a soft texture, unclogged pores, fewer breakouts, and a more even skin tone. Basically, it delivers that healthy post-facial glow all-over. “I tell my clients that it’s important to take care of your skin everywhere. Back treatments are amazing at making sure the largest surface [on your body] is healthy,” says Gilliam. Like any skincare treatment, it’s always important to protect the results by applying sunscreen daily


While visiting a bacialist can be a nice treat, you can also DIY a bacial at home, too. We suggest performing one during your bedtime routine to avoid exposing your freshly-treated skin to the sun. 

Gilliam recommends starting off in the shower by using a back brush or backstrap and your favorite acne-fighting cleanser. You can opt for a body-specific one but the Keep the Peace Acne-Calming Cream Cleanser works just as well, too. “A body scrub is safe if you don't have inflamed acne on the back and shoulders because if you do, it can do more damage than good,” says Gilliam. If you’re being extra cautious, look for a body exfoliator that uses something gentle like lactic acid, such as our Buff It Out AHA Exfoliating Body Scrub.

“Extractions may be too tricky for you to do at home but a partner or friend can help apply a back mask,” Gilliam adds. Another trick is to apply product to a tanning mitt, then slide it on the side of a coat hanger. This will allow you to more easily target those hard-to-reach spots.

After the mask dries, hop back into the shower to rinse it off before following up with a body moisturizer, preferably a Retinol Body Lotion to help heal body acne and assist in cellular turnover. For an extra dose of hydration and glow, follow up with a Body Oil


This depends on the condition of your skin and what you want to accomplish. “If you have a lot of breakouts on the back and shoulders then weekly to bi-monthly is a great starting point. If you are just targeting discoloration, then monthly is a safe bet—especially if you have good products you are using at home,” says Gilliam.  

Shop products for a bacial below.