How To Deal With Breakouts
Body acne is, unfortunately, very real. Preventing it is dependent on the underlying causes unique to you, but there are always a few steps everyone can take to control breakouts. According to Dr. Kikam, you should:
- Shower as soon as you can after workouts to avoid sweat and dead skin build up on your skin and against your clothes.
- Avoid reusing dirty workout cloths . And clean your sheets often to get rid of bacteria and dirt that encourage body breakouts.
- Use exfoliating cleansers and moisturizers with AHA/BHA to slough dead skin and unblock pores. Avoid comedogenic ingredients that can lead to even more breakouts.
- Avoid the temptation to pick or squeeze your body acne, seriously. It can cause more inflammation, scarring and even hyperpigmentation to the area which can take a long time to resolve.
- See a dermatologist for evaluation. Some acne is just too tough to address on your own or with over-the-counter products. In these cases, derms can prescribe medications which can be more effective in managing the condition.
What Are The Different Types Of Back Acne You Need To Know
The types of acne lesions that can occur on your back include:
- Whiteheads Also referred to as closed comedones, whiteheads develop when a plugged follicle stays closed and underneath your skin, forming a white bump.
- Blackheads When a plugged follicle located on the surface of your skin opens, it forms a blackhead, also referred to as an open comedone. The black-tip appearance of blackheads is due to a reaction between sebum and the air, not because dirt has filled your follicle.
- Papules Acne lesions that appear as small pink bumps on your skin, and are sometimes tender, are called papules. This type of acne doesnt contain pus and forms when a clogged hair follicle becomes inflamed.
- Pustules Also called a pimple, a pustule is a white or yellow pus-filled papule with a reddened base. These lesions also result from inflammation in a clogged hair follicle. A buildup of white blood cells causes the pustule to fill with pus.
- Nodules This type of acne forms when bacteria also becomes trapped in a hair follicle. These lesions develop deep below the surface of your skin, where it hardens and forms a large, painful nodule. The deeper location of the lesion causes tissue damage, resulting in an inflammatory response.
- Cysts Cysts are larger, pus-filled acne lesions that also form when bacteria becomes trapped in a hair follicle. With cystic acne, the infection extends deeper into the skin, resulting in a painful lump that can cause a permanent scar.
More on Acne Signs and Symptoms
The Best Body Acne Treatments To Get Rid Of Breakouts
Not all body acne will clear up at the same paceor respond to the same treatment. The closer to your face, the easier the acne is to treat,” says Peredo. For example, the acne on your chest and upper back will be easier to get rid of than on your lower back and buttocks. It’s a matter of physiology. Because the lower half of the body has relatively slower circulation , acne there is slower to heal.
Then there are a few primary ingredients to choose from. While benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are the most common ingredients for fighting acne on your body and face alike, there are differences between the two. If you have sensitive skin, salicylic acid is a better choice since it is better tolerated than benzoyl peroxide,” Peredo says. Benzoyl peroxide is best suited for people with normal and less sensitive skin. However, salicylic acid is still an exfoliant, and may not be doable if your skin is really reactive or sensitive. If that’s indeed the case, consider sodium hypochlorite, which is safe enough for all skin types, even those prone to eczema.
With that in mind, we asked derms and editors to share their favorite over-the-counter body acne treatments. Here are the products they say get the job done.
All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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How Do I Get Rid Of Body Blemishes
For starters, switch your usual ultra-creamy body wash for something designed to actually zap zits. A shower gel that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide will help to unblock pores and exfoliate the skins surface layer to manage existing pimples and prevent future breakouts. Add a product with a chemical exfoliant, like AHAs and BHAs, a few times a week to whisk away acne-causing dead skin cells and bacteria. After cleansing, a light hypoallergenic body lotion will help to prevent dryness .
One of the gold star ingredients for facial acne is retinol especially for women in their 30s and 40s, because it works on blemishes as well as fine lines. Youve got one product that treats and prevents acne, and acne scarring, but also treats wrinkles, says Barankin. But, slathering a pricey facial serum all over your shoulders may not be the best bet in terms of your skincare budget. Those products also arent made to penetrate the thicker skin on the torso, says Barankin. A more practical option is a gel or lotion designed to deal with body acne. Over-the-counter options are likely to include active ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide . And then theres a new prescription topical treatment called Aklief that was created, and tested, for use on the back, shoulders and chest, and could be a game-changer for many women, says Barankin.
Courtesy of Neutrogena
What Are The Different Types Of Body Acne
While we often call all, red, pimple-like bumps found on our bodies acne, there are actually two main categories of pimples: acne and folliculitis.
Acne is an inflammation caused by a buildup of fatty substances secreted by your skins oil glands. Acne usually only develops on your face, upper chest and back, because these are the areas where these oil glands are concentrated.
Folliculitis, on the other hand, is an inflammation of hair follicles, often caused by staph bacteria, so it can occur anywhere hair follicles are found.
Distinguishing between body acne and folliculitis is important because although both involve inflammation of the hair follicles, they are driven by different factors, Moshiri says. Understanding what is causing the problem will help us better prevent it and deliver the most appropriate therapy, particularly in more severe cases.
Healthcare workers and athletes are particularly prone to folliculitis because staph bacteria are present in hospitals and gyms.
Other factors that lead to the formation of both acne and folliculitis include stress, diet, tight clothing, heavy makeup or moisturizers, hormones, pollution and poor hygiene.
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Body Washes For Body Acne
The best body washes for fighting body acne usually include some type of acid. Ugonabo and Clay are big fans of benzoyl peroxide, which destroys acne-causing bacteria. The one downside: It can also stain your towels, so make sure to rinse well after using. Benzoyl peroxide products found in stores are usually either 5% or 10% active both are effective, but 10% can be extra drying, so experts recommend moisturizing after usage. While acne washes can be used every day, Clay recommends using benzoyl peroxide washes every other day if you have dry skin.
If youre looking for a good body wash with benzoyl peroxide, Ugonabo recommends trying PanOxyl first. I think its a nice starter for people who are just starting out, she says. Its also available over the counter at a lot of drugstores, so its easy to find and purchase.
Another dermatologist–recommended ingredient for getting rid of body acne is salicylic acid. Its great if you have oily skin, Clay says. It’s going to get any dirt, oil, or dead skin that’s clogging the pores out. According to Clay, most salicylic body washes are gentle enough for daily use, but shedoes not recommend using one more than once a day when youre first starting out.
If bar soap is more your speed, this organic African Black soap bar is your best bet. With over 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and a very affordable price tag, its raved about for treating everything from head-to-toe acne to post-acne hyperpigmentation.
Think About What You’re Eating
Evidence is slowly coming out which attests to a link between eating a lot of refined sugar think biscuits, cakes and chocolate and acne. There’s no need to ditch things you enjoy entirely when you fuse them into a wider balanced diet, but go gently with your consumption. ‘Your eating habits make a big difference,’ says Founder of Murad Skincare, Dr Howard Murad. ‘The healthier we are from the inside the healthier we look from the outside.
Step away from the processed food and unhealthy snacks and move towards a Mediterranean style diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats and good sources of protein such as fish along with more complex carbohydrates , suggests Dr Tailor.
By switching up your eating habits, you can avoid causing rapid rises in blood sugar and insulin levels that will provoke an outbreak of spots. The added benefits of the nutrients and vitamins provided by the fresh fruit, vegetables and salads will all boost your skin, she adds.
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Tips On How To Banish Body Acne
Now that we know its causes, here are the top 5 tips that are sure to banish body acne.
1. Take Daily Showers
Taking a shower is a good way to not only reduce your chance of developing body acne, but also reduces new breakouts from happening in the first place. Taking daily showers can help flush contaminants down the drain. It is important that you do so every day regardless of how much you sweat or how little.
Those pesky dead skin cells can cause a lot of damage by creating serious body acne. Exfoliating your body will help buff out the skin cells and free up your pores. Not only will it reduce the size and severity of your acne, but it will also help to prevent future pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads from appearing.
3. Use Acne-Fighting Soaps
Body acne typically responds to certain ingredients that have been added to many soaps and body washes. Salicylic acid, for example, is a popular acne-fighting substance and is the main ingredient in topical acne treatments. Using cleansers that contain salicylic acid can dry out bumps and reduce their appearance.
4. Moisturize With the Right Lotions
After your shower, you should moisturize with a non-comedogenic lotion. Having dry skin can irritate and inflame the skin, which then causes acne. Some lotions even contain salicylic acid.
5. Wash Sweaty Clothes Regularly
Getting Rid Of Body Acne
Prevention is useful no matter the state of your bodys skin. If youre already in the throes of a breakout and if its getting in the way of your confidence there are also plenty of options for eradicating bacne.
Steroid shots – Cortisone steroid shots use a synthetic hormone similar to the stress hormone cortisol to not only provide short-term relief for redness, swelling, and pain, but accelerate the healing process. Although one session of injections is often enough, persistent breakouts can undergo an additional round after six weeks if necessary. These are best used on cystic acne.
Microdermabrasion – Already a go-to method for facial acne, microdermabrasion is just as effective at smoothing out blemishes on the body. An abrasive instrument made of diamonds or crystals is used to slough away the dead cells on the surface of the skin, allowing newer, healthier skin to grow in its place. As it involves physical exfoliation, this isnt the best option for anyone with cystic acne, but it can help treat mild breakouts, folliculitis, or keratosis pilaris.
Laser therapy – Theres a long list of skin concerns that can be treated by laser therapy including body acne. Directed specifically at your spots, the lasers are used to heat up and kill acne-inducing bacteria. The process can also lead to less oil production, which will help keep pores clear in the future. This is suitable for any kind of blemishes commonly found on your body, from cystic acne to folliculitis.
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How Can You Prevent Body Acne
So, what should you be doing on a daily or weekly basis to banish your body bumps?
These 7 simple steps are a great place to start:
Dr Zokaie also recommends a healthy diet, not over-exfoliating, allowing skin to air and washing with warm, not hot, water.
Book A Consultation With Your Medical Practitioner
If things are really bad and persisting over months, it might be time to call in the big guns. if you head to your GP, you might be able to get a referral to a dermatologist. If you have the means, you could also see about booking a private appointment. ‘They will be able to prescribe a suitable treatment plan often combining treatments such as laser therapy with medical-grade skincare products, if your symptoms are impacting your life,’ says Dr Tailor.
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How Is Body Acne Different From Regular Acne
The first step to treating body acne is understanding what differentiates it from the acne on your face. In some ways, the two are very similar both are most commonly caused by pores clogged with bacteria, dead skin cells, or excess oil. Thats why you normally find body acne on the back or chest these areas have the most sebaceous glands, increasing the chances of congestion.
Its also the reason why hot weather and regular exercise often come with an uptick in body acne. The more you sweat and the longer that sweat sits on your skin the higher the risk of it obstructing your pores.
Although its more common in the areas prone to oiliness, you can get spots anywhere that has hair follicles . Sometimes these take the form of blackheads, but youre more likely to find these on your face. Body blemishes more commonly take the form of cysts or whiteheads and take longer to heal than regular acne. They can look, act, and be triggered differently, depending on the body part.
How To Treat And Prevent Body Acne
You can use many methods to clear up mild body acne without the need for dermatological treatment. Once you’ve identified the primary cause for your breakouts, you can opt for any of these acne-clearing techniques.
Stop using cosmetic products that clog your pores. Take a look at the hair and body products you’re regularly using. Cut down on those that contain:
Instead, choose grooming products that state on the label that they are non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic.
Do your laundry more often. Cosmetic products, sweat, and dead skin cells might remain on clothes and other fabrics if you don’t wash them regularly. Make sure to keep the following items clean:
- Sports gear
âAvoid acne mechanica. Having bump-free skin while continuing to play sports is doable. All you have to do is pay more attention to certain details. Make sure to:
- Use padding to avoid friction caused by sports gear.
- Use clothes with dry-fit technology.
- Choose loose-fitting sportswear when possible.
- Avoid sharing your protective gear.
- Put on clean clothes more often.
- Wipe down communal workout equipment.
Beware of the sun. Make sure to apply plenty of sunscreen throughout the day if you’re planning on being outside. Look for an oil-free option that has the following characteristics:
- Broad-spectrum with SPF 30+
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Which Kind Of Body Wash And Treatments Can Help Banish Body Breakouts
If youre dealing with bacne or body blemishes, make sure your hygiene is spot on. This means showering once or twice daily especially in hot, humid weather and after your workouts.
As for what products are best? A gentle body wash with prebiotics or body washes with salicylic acid or lactic acids are preferable to help balance the skin barrier with a touch of anti-inflammatory effect from the salicylic acid, says Dr Zokaie.
Incredibly popular in acne products, this oil-soluble beta hydroxy acid can penetrate pores to exfoliate from within, while also helping to balance sebum.
Dr Zokaie also recommends targeted benzoyl peroxide products that kill acne-causing bacteria and exfoliate the skin. Retinoid creams may also be beneficial. These can both be purchased over-the-counter or on prescription, depending on the severity of your acne.
Body Wash Or Cleanser
Choose a body wash containing hydroxy acid or benzoyl peroxide. These target the growth of bacteria, dead skin buildup, and excessive oil production. You can find a body wash for acne that contains these agents at most drug stores.
Many acne cleansers are dermatologist-tested, and some contain gentle exfoliants to help remove dead skin buildup without being too rough on the skin.
Before choosing a product, there are pros and cons to consider for both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. In general, benzoyl peroxide works better for inflamed pimples, while salicylic acid is good for bumps and blackheads.
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