If typically dealing with facial acne isn’t enough, your body can also be prone to breakouts. Odd is, if you experience acne on your face, pimples have also popped up on your neck, chest and back. Here’s a breakdown of what causes body blemishes, and our tips for typically preventing them at bay.
What is Body Acne?
Body acne refers to any type of spots that appears prominently on the back and upper half of the body, including the chest and shoulders. These breakouts are classified similarly to acne on your face and are often accompanied by oily skin. While acne can appear anywhere on your frame, it tends to concentrate on the back, chest and shoulders where there is a higher density of hair follicles and oil and sweat-producing glands. To make matters worse, the pores and hair follicles on your body are considerably larger than those found on your face, and the skin on your back is extremely thick.
What Causes Back, Chest and Shoulder Acne?
Body acne is caused by similar factors that lead to facial acne, namely overactive oil glands; excess dead skin cells, and production of acne-causing bacteria.
Shampoo & Conditioner
Believe it or not, keeping clean can indeed contribute to body acne. As you rinse shampoo and conditioner from your scalp, the essential oils from your hair products can run down your back and clog pores. A few tips to keep in mind:
- Rinse Shampoo and Conditioner off to the side
- Cleanse your body after shampooing to make sure you do not catch any lingering residue
- Use correctly a (clean) body brush to instantly access hard-to-reach spots
Dirty Shower Accessories
Dirty shower accessories can quickly undo the good done by your daily cleanse. Wet loofahs, damp towels and moist bath brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria that can compromise clear skin. In addition to frequently washing your favorite towel, we recommend replacing your loofah every three weeks and using a body brush with natural fibres to limit the available hiding places for fungus and bacteria.
Heat, Friction and Sweat
Certain articles of clothing, sports equipment, and other gear may be triggering your body breakouts. Rubbing or pressure on the skin, combined with heat and/or sweat, can irritate and inflame follicles and cause a specific type of acne called acne.
If at all possible, try to avoid sources of friction while you’re trying healing body acne. These include tight-fitting clothing, too-snug collars, backpacks, purse straps, and athletic pads or gear. Students may want to carry their books in a handheld bag instead of wearing a heavy backpack.
Sweat can also irritate body acne. To minimize irritation, shower as soon as possible after exercising. Don’t aggressively cleanse the skin though. Remember, you want to avoid friction.
How to Treat the Acne
Body breakouts may be caused by the same triggers as facial acne, but they can be more challenging to treat. Because hair follicles and pores are spaced farther apart, the skin tends to be tougher in these areas. It can be difficult for topical products to penetrate the skin and work as quickly as they do for facial acne. On the other hand, the skin on your back is more resilient, and can better handle potent treatments that may be irritating to your face. Over here arise a few ways you can adjust your body care routine to battle breakouts on your back, shoulders and chest:
Avoid Creamy Shower Gels
The skin on your back has more sweat and oil gland activity than elsewhere on the body, but it also happens to be the area least thoroughly cleansed. Due to the difficulty in reaching inaccessible spots like the skin between your shoulder blades, oil, dead skin, sweat and dirt easily build up and clog pores. For starters, Natalie advises avoiding ultra-creamy shower gels and choosing treatments that contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid (a BHA that unblocks pores), glycolic acid (an AHA that dissolves dead skin cells to prevent spots) and/or lactic acid (a gentle AHA that helps smooth skin and prevent pimples). GQ recommends using a long-handled cleansing sponge or body brush to help reach every nook and cranny.
Moisturize - Lightly
While it may be counterintuitive to add moisture to already sensitive and acne-prone skin, it’s a skincare step you can’t skip. In fact, less moisture can cause the skin to produce more pore-clogging sebum in an effort to stay lubricated. Keeping your skin’s moisture barrier intact is essential to lock in hydration as well as protect your pores from bacteria and other acne-causing irritants. Yet, not all moisturizers are made equal. The steer clears of rich creams designed for dry skin and, instead, choose a lightweight lotion that will keep your skin hydrated and its oil balance in check.