Acne in itself can be super frustrating to deal with, but body acne is a whole other story. This type of acne can seem impossible to avoid. Most body acne is caused by some or other form of friction and moisture (such as sweat or tight-fitting clothes).
With that said, however, there is more than one root cause of body acne. Keep reading for some tips to keeping your back, chest, booty, and everywhere in between clean and clear (P.S. scroll down to the bottom of the post for some product recommendations)!
Like the skin on your face, your back contains a number of glands that produce oil (AKA sebum). When bacteria, dead cells and sebum build up, or when the skin gets irritated by external factors, the pores become inflamed and break out. Because the back contains a dense collection of sweat and oil glands, it’s more susceptible to breakouts.
- Hormones and excess oil: A large part of ‘bacne’ is caused by hormonal changes. These changes can lead to an increase in oil production in the skin, causing congestion and breakouts.
- Sweat: Sweat trapped underneath clothing after a workout (or a particularly warm day) can cause blockages in the pores.
- Friction from clothing: If you’ve noticed spots popping up more on one shoulder than the other, it could be caused by friction from a bra or bag strap. Friction caused by clothing can lead to irritations that develop into acne.
- Shampoo and conditioner: The products you use in the shower have a big impact on your skin. Often, the culprit to ‘bacne’ and skin irritations is the shampoo or conditioner you use. Sulfates found in certain products can form a film on the skin that clog pores. If you’re finding pimples along your hairline and down your back, consider taking a look at your shower products!
- Cleanse and exfoliate regularly: Make sure you’re cleansing and exfoliating the problem area regularly. Since it can be hard to reach certain areas of your back, get yourself a loofah with a long handle to help you effectively cleanse the area regularly. Throw in a good – but gentle – body scrub once a week too.
- Avoid sitting in dirty clothes: If you’ve just worked out, make a conscious effort to shower and change right after. The most important thing is to avoid leaving moist clothing pressed against the skin for long periods of time. If you know you won’t be able to change right after working out, try wearing natural, breathable fabrics such as cotton instead of tight-fitting fabrics like lycra and spandex.
- Incorporate exfoliating acids: Look for products that include exfoliating acids to help decongest the area – namely anything that contains salicylic acid. These acids exfoliate the skin on a cellular level by dissolving the ‘glue’ that holds dead skin cells together. Can’t find the right body products? You can use facial products for your bacne too – most products will work just as effectively. But remember, the golden rule for exfoliating is don’t overdo it!
- Wash your body last in the shower: As previously mentioned, your shampoo and conditioner could be a big part of what’s causing your breakouts. When you rinse it out of your hair, all of it runs down your back and can clog your pores. Wash your body after washing your hair to remove irritants that could cause your skin to break out.
Chest acne is pretty similar to the acne you find on your back. Both areas contain a dense collection of sweat and oil glands and are subject to irritations caused by clothing. With a combination of friction, sweat and excess sebum, it can cause blockages in the pores.
- Hormonal imbalance: A hormonal imbalance can result in increased oil production. A common cause is puberty or any hormonal change (like starting/stopping oral birth control) or just a genetic disposition.
- Sweat: Excessive sweating and neglecting to cleanse that sweat from your skin can lead to body acne. When sweat sits on the skin for a long period of time, it clogs the pores and develops acne.
- Diet: Sugary, processed food can cause chest acne. These foods increase your blood sugar which stimulates your oil production, leading to breakouts.
- Tight clothing: What you wear can also cause chest acne. Tight-fitting clothes traps sweat and bacteria on your skin, which clogs the pores and results in a breakout.
- Shower after you sweat: One of the best ways to minimize acne is to shower after a workout. While it may be tempting to go about your day – running errands or making yourself something to eat – after a good workout, going unwashed will wreak havoc on your skin. Even if you decide to skip washing your hair, a quick body wash will do!
- Change up your diet: Certain foods have a way of triggering hormonal imbalances and breakouts. High-glycemic foods (such as sugar, flour, rice, and bread) are often tied to acne breakouts. Here are some tips to curbing your sugar cravings to help get you started.
- Use acne-targeting products: Who says acne products are made just for your face? Bring it all the way down to treat your chest acne too. Acne-blasting ingredients to look out for include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and niacinamide.
Acne on your booty can be caused by a number of things, but most commonly by an irritation of the hair follicles. Those fine baby hairs that you find all over your body can become irritated from friction. Genetics, hormones, and general sweat from a warm day or exercise can also lead to acne developing on your tush.
- Irritation of the hair follicles: Basic rubbing and pressure from sitting and wearing tight pants can lead to an irritation of the skin, triggering little pimples on your butt and thighs.
- Sitting directly on dirty surfaces: If you’re wearing a pair of shorts or a mini skirt and sit on a publicly-used surface, you’re likely to pick up bacteria that can irritate the skin.
- Restrictive clothing: Our booties are already susceptible to breakouts from the basic pressure and rubbing from sitting down. If you’re struggling with a breakout on your butt, try avoiding restrictive clothing and opt for soft, breathable fabrics like cotton and silk instead.
- Genetics: Unfortunately, some people are just more prone to acne than others. If you’re susceptible to acne, the best thing you can do to prevent body acne is to keep your skin clean and your body healthy.
- Use a salicylic acid cleanser: Salicylic acid is a great acne-busting ingredient that exfoliates deep into the skin’s pores. It helps to prevent and treat blocked pores, and can even lighten superficial pigmentation. Using a salicylic acid wash is an easy way to treat body acne – simply lather up and rinse off!
- Wear breathable fabrics: Try to stay away from tight pants and leggings when dealing with acne on your tush. When you combine tight clothing with synthetic fabrics, it creates an environment for acne to develop. Stick with light, cotton attire that is breathable instead.
- Take care when sitting: If you’re wearing shorts or a skirt, take caution when sitting down. Surfaces like park benches, restaurant seating and public bathrooms are all places that you can pick up bacteria on your booty. Take a moment to clean the surface before sitting with direct skin contact, or if you can’t, shower and scrub that area once you get home. Try not to sit down for prolonged periods of time either!
- Wash your booty: Poor hygiene is a big cause for breakouts on your tush. Make sure you really wash your booty when you’re in the shower!
Our armpits are exposed to some pretty intense stuff – razor blades, deodorant, body wash, and so on. These can result in pimples and other irritations. Often, what might look like a pimple in your armpit might actually be something else – typically ‘pimples’ in the underarm area are not actually acne. There are a few things you might be dealing with, but below are the most common culprits.
- Inflamed hair follicles: This commonly occurs with people who shave or wax their underarms. The hair follicle can become irritated and infected, or an ingrown hair could develop from the shaving/waxing, leading to a breakout.
- Bacterial infection: These are painful infections that form around a hair follicle that contain pus. Most often, they are caused by poor hygiene, dirty environments or contact with bacteria.
- Sensitivity or allergies: Allergies and reactions to certain products and ingredients can lead to itchy, bumpy, red irritated skin. This is also known as contact dermatitis.
- Take care when shaving: The key is making sure your shaving routine does everything it can to prevent irritation. Never ever dry shave. Just don’t do it. When you do shave, give yourself a few minutes in the shower before doing so. The heat will soften the hair follicles and make it less irritating to the skin when you shave. And remember, press gently and shave in the direction of the hair growth!
- Use after-shave: I’ll let you in on a little hack I’ve been personally doing for years. Use a men’s after-shave (make sure it’s alcohol-free!) on your underarms and any other body areas post-shave. It’ll help prevent and get rid of 90% of those itchy bumps and ingrown hairs.
- Try an armpit detox: An armpit detox can help the body get rid of toxins that have built up under the skin. Some people swear by armpit detoxes, claiming that it helps to reduce the capacity of sweat glands and the amount of odour they produce. It’s simple enough: mix 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and 1-2 tablespoons of water together. Spread the mixture in an even layer on each armpit and leave it on for about 15 minutes (or until dry). Wash it off like you would any other clay mask!
- Switch out your deodorant: If you are consistently breaking out under your arms, consider switching to a natural deodorant that doesn’t contain aluminium and parabens. Your skin could be sensitive to those ingredients, causing it to break out.