Bacne (or pimples found on anywhere on your body) can happen to anyone, even people who don’t typically break out on their faces. Just like the pores on our faces, the pores on our backs, chests and other body parts can become clogged with excess sebum, dead skin cells or bacteria (especially from post-workout sweaty clothes and dirty towels).
There are three key facets in treating body acne (and preventing future breakouts): hygiene, products and diet. The steps aren’t drastically different from treating facial breakouts and you can use most facial acne treatments on your body, but it’s important to remember that the skin on the rest of your body isn’t quite as sensitive as the skin on your face. Also, back or chest pimples can sometimes take longer to heal.
1. DO wash clothes, towels and sheets frequently.
Especially towels! If you can’t commit to regular towel washings, consider switching to a set made with antimicrobial fabric, which lowers the threat of transferring bacteria to your skin with every use.
2. DON'T wear cotton clothing when working out.
It may seem breathable, but it actually holds the moisture close to your skin. Wicking fabrics are a better option, since they help your skin stay cool and dry.
3. DON'T wear compression shirts, shorts or pants all the time
– as the super-tight fit can irritate existing breakouts.
4. DO strip off sweaty clothes and shower as soon as possible after a workout or gym session.
The more time the sweat and bacteria are in contact with your skin, the more likely you are to break out. If you don’t have time for a full shower, use wipes or cleaning pads, ideally ones that contain salicylic acid.
5. DO choose body acne treatments and products that will help unclog pores and reduce oil production, such as:
- Shower gel and acne body wash containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid and/or tea tree oil. You can also use acne-fighting facial cleansers on your back and body!
- A long-handled cleansing brush or sponge to clean those hard-to-reach bits
- Charcoal or clay mask to draw impurities out of the skin
- Gentle exfoliating scrub to prevent the buildup of dead skin cells
- Blemish-busting treatments specifically designed for larger surface areas, such as XL-sized hydrocolloid patches
6. DON'T overdo it on cheat day.
Too many bad carbs can exacerbate breakouts. Instead, opt for low glycemic index choices, as well as omega-3 fatty acids found in avocado, salmon and walnuts.
7. DO eat more leafy greens, tomatoes, fish
...and other foods that help fight inflammation.
8. DO visit a dermatologist for body acne treatment if all else fails.
A pro can provide stronger treatment options, such as prescription creams, antibiotics, chemical peels and laser sessions. The derm can also help identify the best back acne scar treatments for your specific type of scarring and/or hyperpigmentation.
How do you treat your body acne? Share in the comments below!