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Acne is never fun but, unfortunately, most of us have experienced it. However, it can be extremely frustrating when it starts to pop up all over your body. Having spots all over your skin is never going to make for a great feeling. But more than that, having acne on your body can be painful. It’s also often in difficult-to-reach spots like the back. And of course, there are many reasons why you might be experiencing acne on your body. It can be triggered by hormones, certain foods, or a build-up of sweat. But what can you do in order to stop body acne in its tracks? 

What is body acne, and where is it most prominent? 

We usually tend to think of blackheads, acne, and pimples as being reserved for the face. However, that definitely isn’t the case. Body acne is a big problem and a struggle for many people. The back is a well-known place for body acne, but it can also affect the chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms, and even the butt. If your body acne has you feeling alone, don’t worry too much because it can affect anyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a teenager or an adult, body acne is a widespread issue. 

What causes body acne?

Back Shower

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Much like with acne that affects the face, the same factors tend to trigger body acne. This generally includes overactive oil glands, excess dead skin cells, and acne-causing bacteria. Other triggers might include wearing tight clothing, sports equipment, sweating excessively, hormonal changes and even eating certain foods.

Pimples develop as a result of oil and dead skin cells becoming trapped within the pore, which creates a blockage. The blockage then becomes a blackhead and, if and when bacteria enter the fray, the blackhead becomes inflamed. 

This is when the blackhead progresses and becomes a pimple. Generally, body acne is most prevalent in the top half of the body. This is because the upper half of the body, like the face, is host to a lot of sebaceous glands.

These sebaceous glands “help maintain moisture, regulate temperature, and prevent bacteria and other pathogens from causing infections”. But they are also more likely to become plugged in with dead skin cells and oil. 

Here’s how you can fix it

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as making sure that you clean and look after your body really well only to have spots pop up left right and center. It can sometimes seem like no matter how hard you try, there’s nothing that can get rid of stubborn spots.

If you are someone (like myself) who is used to clear, spot-free skin, it can be incredibly difficult to see your body covered in the type of spots you had thought were reserved for the teenage years. Luckily for all of us, there is a routine that can help with acne on the body. Here’s what to do if you’re struggling…

Body Acne

Photo by Diana Light

Cleanse

It might seem painfully obvious, but cleansing is really the key step. But you’re probably thinking, “I already clean my body properly.”
The really important thing here is not whether you’re cleansing the area but rather, according to Hannah Frye of Mind Body Green, what type of soap you’re using.

Frye explains that if you find yourself prone to developing body acne, you need to go for a soap that has potent ingredients. But whilst you want something potent that keeps the breakouts at bay, you need to be careful that it still maintains and protects the skin’s moisture barrier.

Washing difficult-to-reach areas can also be made much easier by purchasing a long-handled shower brush or an exfoliating back scrubber. 

Treat

If it was your face that was breaking out, you would inevitably look for products that contain potent active ingredients. It’s something that would help deal with breakouts but would still look after the skin. Frye recommends that, once you get out of the bath or shower, you let your skin dry completely before applying any creams that contain active ingredients. This is because when the skin is completely dry, the ingredients are better able to penetrate the skin.

It’s also best when you’re struggling with breakouts, to rotate your towels as much as possible as towels can play host to bacteria which won’t help the situation. Ideally, you may want to look for a product that contains ingredients that can regulate the production of sebum. This includes ingredients like zinc, niacinamide, and salicylic acid. 

Moisturize 

Photo by SHVETS production

Again, this may sound painfully obvious, but the back is often a forgotten area when it comes to moisturizing. This is often because it’s really hard to reach. But one of the best things you can do for your body when you’re struggling with a breakout is to moisturize.

Often, when we struggle with pimples, we are hesitant to lather on the lotion. But it’s really important that you give your skin the moisture that it needs.

In fact, according to dermatologist Whitney Bowe, properly hydrated skin is vital for “preserving and supporting a healthy skin barrier and microbiome”. 

References 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/routine-for-keeping-body-acne-at-bay

https://www.verywellhealth.com/back-acne-and-body-acne-15483

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Katie Hart

Katie Hart is a successful health, beauty and fashion blogger with a BA in Fashion Media at LISOF. Her hobbies include styling, reading, true crime podcasts and singing. She is a lover of all things fashion and beauty, but is happiest when sitting with her mini Maltese, Aria.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.