Body Acne: A Comprehensive Guide to Below-The-Chin Breakouts
Pimples are the worst. I mean, really though, is there anything as annoying as waking up with a bright red zit smack dab on the middle of your face? As it turns out, there is. Waking up with those zits sprinkled all over your back and chest. In fact, for some, body acne is more bothersome than acne that appears on the face. Are you one of those people? Keep reading! We’re sharing a comprehensive guide to breakouts that happen below the chin in hopes that you’ll be able to finally your back and chest acne!
What Can Cause Body Acne?
Body acne usually appears in one of two ways. The first is as breakouts on the face and body and the second as breakouts only on the body. If you’re experiencing the second type of body breakouts it may be caused by lifestyle factors—most notably workout habits. According to Skincare.com consulting dermatologist Dr. Lisa Ginn when you have acne on your body and a clear complexion it’s most often caused by waiting too long to hop into the shower after you break a sweat. You may remember to wash your face post workout but if you’re not jumping in the shower and rinsing off that sweat it may be causing your body breakouts. “The enzymes from your sweat sit on the skin and can cause breakouts,” Dr. Ginn explains. “I tell my patients to at least rinse off, even if they can’t take a full shower. Get water on your body within 10 minutes after exercise.” If you can’t immediately shower grab a no-rinse cleanser like a micellar water or an oil-free cleansing wipe to help wipe away the sweat from your skin’s surface.
Easy enough! But what if you have breakouts on both the chest and cheeks? Dr. Ginn says it’s likely you have acne vulgaris, which is your run of the mill acne that can be caused by the usual suspects: excess oils, impurities on the skin’s surface, clogged pores—you know the drill.
The Difference Between Facial Acne and Body Acne
While they may be caused by similar factors, there is one large difference between breakouts that appear on your face and ones that pop on your back, chest, and other areas of the body. That difference? “With the skin on your face, the dermal layer is 1-2 millimeters thick,” Dr. Ginn explains. “On your back, this layer is up to an inch thick. Here, the hair follicle is sitting in deeper skin, making it harder to get to.” Because of this often the approach taken when trying to get rid of back and chest acne is different.
How Can You Address Body Acne?
When you have body acne, finding ways to manage it can consume you. After all, no one wants zits on their back and chest—or anywhere else for that matter! Thankfully there are ways you can visibly diminish those breakouts!
If your body acne is caused by waiting too long to shower after working out your solution is simple…hop in the shower and suds up! If it’s not that easy you may want to try one of the steps below!
Step 1: Keep Your Skin Clean
Even if working out isn’t the culprit, anyone with body breakouts can benefit from keeping their skin clean and free of sweat, excess oils, and other impurities. Be sure you are showering at least once a day, patting dry, and moisturizing. Yes, even skin that’s prone to breakouts requires hydration so be sure not to skip out on the body lotion!
Remember, that while it may seem like a good idea to scrub at your skin when it’s breaking out…it’s not. Be gentle to avoid irritating your skin further.
Step 2: Perfect Your Product Choice
If those daily suds aren’t enough to help reduce the appearance of your acne consider beefing up your product choices. Swap out your regular body wash for a cleanser that has been formulated with FDA-approved acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Note that such acne-fighting ingredients can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays so wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen as directed (and reapplying it!) is even more necessary than before.
Step 3: Let Your Body Wash Sit For a Minute
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), some studies have shown that a good way to see results from a wash that has been formulated with benzoyl peroxide is to leave it on your back for two to five minutes before rinsing away. This is because, as we’ve mentioned above, the skin on your back is thicker than that on your face. Be careful to rinse well when you do rinse the wash away since benzoyl peroxide is known to bleach fabrics.
Step 4: Wear Looser Clothing
Much like the sweat from your workout can stick to your skin and cause breakouts, it can also do this if you’re typically wearing tight-fitting clothing. If you frequently notice body breakouts consider wearing looser-fitting clothes made of cottons or other sweat-wicking fabrics.
Step 5: Don’t Pop The Pimples
It can be hard to resist the urge to pop and pick at pimples that aren’t on your face, after all, they are often hidden from view, but you must resist that urge! Just like the zits on your face, when you pick at the skin on the rest of your body you may further infect the area and you could even get a scar.
Step 6: Try an Acne Spray
Unless you’re super flexible it may not be possible to reach the breakouts on certain areas of your back, which can make using spot treatments hard. Instead, reach for a acne spray created specifically for your body breakouts like AcneFree Body Clearing Acne Spray. Formulated with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin B3, and aloe, the spray helps to clear blemishes on your back and chest. The continuous spray is great for hard-to-reach places and dries fast!
Step 7: Wash Your Bedding
Did you know that a common cause of acne may be hiding in your sheets? It’s true. If you fail to keep your bedding clean they can become covered with dead skin cells and bacteria in just one week’s time according to the AAD.
It’s important to note that if you don’t see a difference in your body acne in at least eight weeks you may want to consult a dermatologist for a more personalized approach!