How to Deal with Body Acne
Also known as bacne, body acne affects more than 30 million people in the USA alone.
As you can guess from its name, body acne refers to breakouts that occur on the body rather than the face, most commonly appearing on the torso, neck, scalp, back and buttocks.
There are actually two types of acne:
- Non-Inflammatory Acne – usually manifests as whiteheads and blackheads
- Inflammatory Acne – red pimples that often leave a scar
Of course, there are differences between the two, so it does help to work out which one you have.
Nevertheless, whichever type of body acne you happen to be suffering from, here are a few tips to help you to deal with the issue.
One of the most effective ways to deal with acne, whether this may be on your face or on your body, is with the use of acne-fighting products.
Do you already own some facial acne products?
Chances are, if you suffer from body acne, then you also suffer from facial acne, meaning that your bathroom cupboards probably already contain cleansers and more containing acne-fighting ingredients.
The ingredients you need to use on your body acne are exactly the same as the ones that you would use on your face.
Now, you are probably thinking…
“Great! That means I don’t need to buy a whole new set of products for my body acne.”
Well, this depends…
While the ingredients you need to use are the same, products that have been formulated for the face are generally quite gentle, since the skin on the face is so much thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of your body.
So, while you can use facial acne products on your body, it will take you much longer to notice any effects.
For quicker results, you will need to purchase products that have been designed specifically for body acne.
Wondering what you actually need?
Begin with a body wash that contains salicylic acid. This is a key ingredient that helps to unclog your pores and reduce inflammation, both of which are primary causes of acne.
What about benzoyl peroxide?
This is another common ingredient used for treating facial acne, but it can sometimes have the effect of bleaching fabrics, so is not usually recommended for body acne.
In addition to the body wash, you should also use a spot treatment gel on problem areas.
Natural Acne-Fighting Ingredients
Does your skin tend to feel irritated after using products designed for body acne?
If so, your next step should be to opt for facial acne products, as these will be milder than those designed for the body.
However, if you would prefer to give some natural products a try, here are a couple of ideas:
- Charcoal soap – charcoal is known for its ability to detoxify the skin, pulling out everything from excess oil to leftover products, all of which contribute to acne. Charcoal is inert, meaning that it will not irritate the skin or cause any sort of reaction, and there are such a wide variety of charcoal-based products out there to choose from
- Tea tree oil – tea tree oil is so effective at killing bacteria, fungus and allergens, but if your skin is already quite dry and flaky, make sure you use it on moderation, as it is quite a potent ingredient. This is an oil that also always needs to be diluted with a carrier oil, as it could burn your skin if used pure
- Fresh fruit extracts – ingredients such as papaya or grapefruit extract will cleanse and exfoliate the skin, clearing out the pores and preventing breakouts
These may sound great, but keep in mind that since the skin on your body is quite tough and thick, it will take longer to notice the effects of these ingredients.
Switch Up Your Showering Habits
Does your body acne tend to be centralized on your back, or any other areas that are frequently touched by your hair?
If so, then your hair products could be the cause of your acne, and, unlike many other acne causes, this is quite an easy one to fix.
Wondering how your hair products make a difference?
Well, the ingredients in your shampoo and conditioner are designed to cling to your hair, so that they can provide each strand with a protective coating. However, when these ingredients keep coming into contact with your skin, they end up rubbing on to your skin, and will soon clog up your pores, causing a breakout.
So, what can you do about this?
Always wash your hair before you wash your body, so that when you use your acne-fighting body wash, you will be removing any of the residue from your hair products too.
When it comes to styling products, make sure that you always have some clothing or a towel acting as a barrier between your hair and your skin, so that there is no way in which the products can come into contact with your bare skin.
When it comes to your skin and showering…
Many people tend to really scrub at their skin when cleansing, either with their usual cleanser or with a dedicated scrub.
For those who have body acne, scrubbing your skin is a big no-no!
Because this will only leave your skin feeling inflamed and irritated, both of which can trigger a breakout.
Instead, be gentle with your body wash, allowing the ingredients to work on their own, without force.
Finally, make sure that you are paying attention to the temperature of your shower…
It can be so easy to keep turning the temperature up until you are relaxing in a steamy hot shower, but these high temperatures will only trigger more breakouts.
Well, firstly, it will lead to inflammation within your skin.
Secondly, the heat ends up drying out your skin. This might sound good for those who have oily skin, but in order to compensate for this, your skin will only end up producing even more oil than it used to. This oil settles into pores and blocks them up, resulting in a breakout.
Exercise is fantastic for the skin for a number of reasons, but there are a few factors relating to exercising that can actually end up triggering breakouts.
Let’s begin with the clothes that you wear when working out…
Do you often wear spandex or other synthetic materials?
If so, this is something you need to change, swapping these out for natural fabrics instead, such as cotton.
Because synthetic materials end up trapping oil and sweat in your skin, while natural fabrics allow your skin to breathe. Plus, it’s also an excuse for a whole new gym wardrobe!
Needless to say, your workout clothes should also be quite loose rather than tight, as you want to encourage your skin to freely breathe as much as possible.
This applies to your undergarments too…
Many women find that they experience body acne on the part of their back that rubs against their bra strap, which is why a looser alternative would be best, especially when exercising.
Now let’s move on to what you do after you are done exercising…
It is so important to immediately shower, so that you can quickly clear away any sweat on your body, as leaving this to linger can lead to a breakout.
Not able to shower straight away after a workout?
Try giving your body a quick rub down with some cleansing wipes instead. Even though they do leave behind a slight residue on the skin, this is still better than leaving the sweat to settle, especially if you are going to soon be having a proper shower anyway.
Unexpected breakouts on the body can definitely be stressful, but with stress being something that only exacerbates acne, this is often the start of a truly vicious cycle.
Wondering how stress has such a huge effect?
Well, whenever you feel stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which is meant to help you to deal with the stressful situation.
However, this hormone causes an increase in oil production in your sebaceous glands, and all of this extra oil quickly leads to blocked pores, which then causes a breakout.
Not only that, but stress, and cortisol, also affect your immune system, causing it to work up to 40% less effectively.
What does this have to do with acne?
Your immune system is needed big time in order to deal with breakouts, so if this is not functioning quite as well, then your breakouts might not only be more severe, but could also last for longer too.
Curious about how to manage your stress levels?
Check out this infographic here:
Consider Your Medications
Are you currently taking any medications, and, if so, have your breakouts coincided with these?
If your answer is yes, then you should immediately check the side effects of the medication that you are taking, as acne is a common side effect for many treatments.
Here are just a few of the types of medication that can cause acne:
- Birth control, both pills and implants
- Treatments for hormones, especially testosterone
If you are taking one of these…
Simply speak to your doctor to find out more about the alternatives that may be available to you.
Adjust Your Diet
The debate on how effective dietary changes are when it comes to treating acne is still on-going, but there is no arguing with the fact that increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help with breakouts. You can either do this with whole foods, by eating items such as walnuts, flaxseed and oily fish, or by taking oral supplements.
You should also try to cut out processed and fried foods as much as possible.
Because by consuming low-quality fats, the oils in your skin end up quite toxic. Instead, if you opt for high quality fats, such as cooking your food in coconut oil instead of margarine, the oil that your skin produces will not clog up your pores in quite the same way.
Speak to a Professional
Have you already tried all of the steps mentioned above, and are still suffering from severe body acne breakouts?
If so, then this is a sign that you likely need to speak to a professional.
Leaving your body acne to continue to flourish untreated will only end up scarring your skin,
A dermatologist will be able to help you come up with a plan to finally eradicate your acne, making use of methods that you would not have been able to do on your own.
Wondering what these seemingly-magical methods are?
Everything from targeted laser treatment to tailored peels and extractions, all of which are effective ways to fight acne.
If none of those appeal to you…
There are certain medications that can be prescribed for acne, such as:
- Antibiotics – these will prevent acne-causing bacteria from growing, although the bacteria can soon become resistant to this
- Oral medications – certain types of the birth control pill may be prescribed in order to help keep hormone levels in check
- Prescription-strength topical treatments – these can be anything from a cream or lotion to a gel or serum, and usually work by unclogging pores while killing acne-causing bacteria. If your acne is on a part of your body that is hard to reach with these products, ask for them in a spray form instead
In theory, the only places on your body that are actually immune to acne are the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands, leaving the rest of your skin susceptible. While there is no denying how frustrating body acne can be, there are a number of steps that you can take to deal with this and reduce the severity and frequency of breakouts, so do spend as much time as possible giving these a try.