The Blight Of Body Acne: How To Banish It For Good
Body acne is the bane of everyone's existence. Well, everyone who suffers from it, of course. Since we're heading into the season of exposed skin, we did a little research into the pimply problem of body acne and what you can do make sure your summer is spot-free.
Body acne is kind of an awkward topic, but it's more common than you think. Like acne on your face, “bacne” (Ew, that term just gives me the heebie-jeebies!) is caused by clogged pores. Pores can become clogged with dead skin, excess oil, and bacteria, making you breakout.
Dr. Chynna Steele, with the Aesthetic and Dermatology Specialty Centre in Atlanta, GA, said:
“First of all, body acne is very common and is probably multifactorial in cause like other types of acne. While whiteheads and blackheads are common on the face and are often the start for most acne bumps on the face (even ones that turn into big red bumps), this isn't the case for the chest and back. Chest and back acne tends to be less often associated with hormonal fluctuations like that on the face.”
Because the pores on your back, chest and elsewhere on your body are bigger than those on your face or neck, body acne is often harder to prevent and treat. The skin is thicker, as well, so pimples on the body can result in more intense scarring. That's all in addition to the embarrassment of baring bumps and blemishes on your boobs, arms, back and other places.
So what can you do to prevent these pimples? Read on.
Preventing Body Acne
Stuart H. Kaplan, M.D., a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist, has a few suggestions on how to prevent body acne in the first place:
- Take a shower as soon as possible after a workout. Dirt and sweat on the back can clog pores.
- Exfoliate with a mild exfoliant several times a week. Remember, harsh particles are NOT better. Use a mild exfoliant with enzymes or finely ground particles like date seeds or jojoba esters. You should treat your back like you would your face.
Dr. Steele suggests:
- For women (or men) with long hair, make sure not to use thick conditioners and/or oil-containing hair products and allow the hair to lie on the back or chest in the shower/otherwise. These very-rich products that may be great for conditioning the hair can be too thick and clog the pores on the chest and back leading to acne.
- If you use a body puff in the shower, make sure you change them
frequently. They tend to collect bacteria hanging around the shower head
in between showers. You can just drag that bacteria around the body and
cause an acne break out on the chest or back.
Treating Body Acne
But if you've already got pimples on your body, what can you do to make them go away? Both doctors I spoke to suggested washing with either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide soaps, pads or body washes. Dr. Steele thinks pads are a particularly good way to banish body acne. She said, “Over-the-counter salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide pads are great to treat the chest and back area. They should be used once daily after showering.”
Other treatments include:
- Bentonite clay masks can be a good way to dra impurities out from the skin. If you've ever seen the Aztec Secret Healing Clay at your drugstore, that's 100% pure bentonite. Slather on a mask, leave it on for a few minutes, then shower it off.
- Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and is often used to treat and prevent acne on the face, but it works just as well on body acne. Apply the oil itself or look for a cleanser or soap that lists it among the ingredients.
- Personally, I've had success with African black soap in eradicating my own body acne. I buy the Shea Moisture brand from Target and just use in the shower after I use my regular body wash.