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Working on getting rid of bacne/chestne with Tea Tree Oil

aha alpha hydroxy acid

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#1 bacneblows

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 01:50 AM

In my teens, I had facial acne but not much bacne. Now in my 20s, I have no facial acne, but stubborn bacne (figures). I get some chest acne--not bad by any means but enough to want to get rid of it. The bacne stops right at my shirt neckline and shows up most frequently along my spine, and upper shoulders.

I'm currently using Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash (tea tree oil and other good stuff; about $14 on amazon for a huge 32oz bottle), and cetaphil on a daily basis. Keeping it simple and cheap. I do have AHA+ lotion, 2.5% BP wash and gel, but I'm going to cut them out as I wasn't happy with the results from the month I used them.

I exfoliate and wash with the desert essence in the shower, dry off and wait 5 mins, then moisturize, making sure to rub the moisturizer into my skin thoroughly. I started this "regime" a couple days ago but haven't noticed much of a difference yet. I also keep my shirt off as much as possible when at home (no solid reasoning for this other than to avoid irritation). Other things to consider: I eat pretty well, work out 3x a week, drink lots of water, use fragrance-free detergent, and generally don't have a lot of stress in my life.

Anyone else using Tea Tree Oil or have other recommendations? I'll report back periodically with pictures to see if it clears up. It'd be nice to keep my shirt off in public this summer!

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Edited by bacneblows, 29 March 2011 - 02:01 AM.


#2 greentiger87

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 02:36 AM

First off, your bacne is really minimal. Honestly, you'd make better use of your time working up the courage to stop caring about it than trying to completely eradicate it.

But, I know the dream of perfectly clear skin is sometimes irresistible... so here are some options, in no particular order.

If you're using tea tree oil in a facewash, its just being rinsed down the drain. There just isn't enough of it being absorbed into the skin to have any effect. On top of that, tea tree oil is a pretty weak treatment for bacne (though yours is pretty mild). Back and chest acne almost always have a large "dead skin buildup" component (hyperkeratinization / impaired desquamation), so a topical antibacterial just isn't going to cut it.

Things to try (not all at once):

1) Nizoral, a 1% ketoconazole shampoo. Search for it on the boards, some people have gotten great results. (Ketoconazole is most often used as an anti-fungal, but it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-androgenic effects.)

2) Aggressive exfoliation: If it seems like you have a lot of built up dead skin on your back, and your back skin is pretty tough/durable, you may just need to do some hardcore exfoliation. Get some nylon exfoliating gloves and really scrub it down in the shower every day. This was 90% of the answer for me.

3) Apple Cider Vinegar: Extremely cheap. Put it in a spray bottle, 50:50 with water at first, and then work your way up to undiluted. Just spray after your shower, let it dry, and go on with your day. Smells pretty awful until it dries. You can use this simultaneously with the exfoliating gloves, just start off slow to avoid overdoing it.

4) Salicylic Acid (BHA) peels: If nothing else works, these seem to be hard to beat for bacne. You can buy them relatively affordably online. DO your research. You'll probably need someone to help you (obviously). But once every couple weeks has been really successful for some people.


Edited by greentiger87, 29 March 2011 - 02:43 AM.


#3 Manticore

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:51 PM

My back acne was similar to yours. I had great success with Acne.org's AHA+ on my back. It seemed to stop any new breakouts within days, & I now only have PIH to deal with. I applied it daily at first, using the Body Buddy. I now use it 3 times per week.

It didn't work on my mild chest acne though. I had to use BP to get rid of that.

I know that you said you used AHA & BP, but did you use them long enough to allow them to work?

I agree with DK on being gentle to your skin. Using physical exfoliators or scrubs, only made my acne worse. I would never use them on any part of my body.

I didn't take any "before" pictures of my back, but this is a "before & after" picture of my chest.

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Edited by Manticore, 11 October 2011 - 02:41 PM.


#4 bacneblows

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 06:15 PM

QUOTE (greentiger87 @ Mar 29 2011, 03:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
First off, your bacne is really minimal. Honestly, you'd make better use of your time working up the courage to stop caring about it than trying to completely eradicate it.

But, I know the dream of perfectly clear skin is sometimes irresistible... so here are some options, in no particular order.

If you're using tea tree oil in a facewash, its just being rinsed down the drain. There just isn't enough of it being absorbed into the skin to have any effect. On top of that, tea tree oil is a pretty weak treatment for bacne (though yours is pretty mild). Back and chest acne almost always have a large "dead skin buildup" component (hyperkeratinization / impaired desquamation), so a topical antibacterial just isn't going to cut it.

Things to try (not all at once):

1) Nizoral, a 1% ketoconazole shampoo. Search for it on the boards, some people have gotten great results. (Ketoconazole is most often used as an anti-fungal, but it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-androgenic effects.)

2) Aggressive exfoliation: If it seems like you have a lot of built up dead skin on your back, and your back skin is pretty tough/durable, you may just need to do some hardcore exfoliation. Get some nylon exfoliating gloves and really scrub it down in the shower every day. This was 90% of the answer for me.

3) Apple Cider Vinegar: Extremely cheap. Put it in a spray bottle, 50:50 with water at first, and then work your way up to undiluted. Just spray after your shower, let it dry, and go on with your day. Smells pretty awful until it dries. You can use this simultaneously with the exfoliating gloves, just start off slow to avoid overdoing it.

4) Salicylic Acid (BHA) peels: If nothing else works, these seem to be hard to beat for bacne. You can buy them relatively affordably online. DO your research. You'll probably need someone to help you (obviously). But once every couple weeks has been really successful for some people.


Thank you for the thorough reply. It's indeed mild bacne, however I'm 26 now and would like to shake it off completely, if possible. I didn't realize TTO was weak but you seem to know your stuff so i'll take your word for it. It leaves a very clean/dry feeling behind at least.

I will look into those treatments you listed. I do exfoliate with a nylon/mesh-type bath cloth daily.

QUOTE (Manticore @ Mar 29 2011, 06:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My back acne was similar to yours. I had great success with Acne.org's AHA+ on my back. It seemed to stop any new breakouts within days, & I now only have PIH to deal with. I applied it daily at first, using the Body Buddy. I now use it 3 times per week.

It didn't work on my mild chest acne though. I had to use BP to get rid of that.

I know that you said you used AHA & BP, but did you use them long enough to allow them to work?

I agree with DK on being gentle to your skin. Using physical exfoliators or scrubs, only made my acne worse. I would never use them on any part of my body.

I didn't take any "before" pictures of my back, but this is a "before & after" picture of my chest.


Your "before" chest picture looks similar to where I am at on most days. I used BP + AHA according to the instructions on my back and chest for a month with no noticeable difference. I may give it another shot if the TTO does nothing.

Thanks again for the comments, guys.


#5 Manticore

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 05:35 AM

QUOTE (bacneblows @ Mar 30 2011, 01:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Your "before" chest picture looks similar to where I am at on most days. I used BP + AHA according to the instructions on my back and chest for a month with no noticeable difference. I may give it another shot if the TTO does nothing.

Thanks again for the comments, guys.

If you do decide to try the AHA & BP again, give it at least 8 weeks to see if it is going to work. Although it worked surprisingly quickly for me, it could take a couple of months for others to see results.


#6 Jersie

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 10:27 AM

I just started putting tea tree oil that I bought from wal mart on an area on my lower back with an annoying group of pimples. I put tea tree oil on and then Dan's AHA right after, I've only done it 3 days but it seems to be 50% better already.





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