There are plenty of resources for teens and adults suffering from facial acne, but many of these guides fail to help those who struggle with body acne. This type of acne can occur on various areas of the body, including the chest, back, shoulders and buttocks. The following are some of the best tips and tricks for getting rid of body acne.
Even if you take showers daily and try to keep your skin clean, there may be more that you can do to specifically target your body acne. Integrate these tips into your hygiene habits:
- Time your showers so that you can wash up shortly after you sweat. This applies to any time when you sweat a lot, whether it’s at work, exercising or sweating in your sleep.
- When washing your body in the shower, use a gentle touch. Some people mistakenly believe that scrubbing their skin is more effective at washing away surface oils, but it’s actually better to be gentle to avoid irritating the skin. Use your bare hands or a soft sponge rather than a washcloth.
- Dry off your body by patting it with a towel. This also helps to reduce skin irritation that may otherwise by caused by rubbing the skin with a towel.
- Gently exfoliate your skin once a week. This helps slough off dead skin cells which can clog pores when combined with the oils from your skin.
How you live and your daily routine can also affect your body acne. Here are some tips for lifestyle choices you can make to help reduce your body acne breakouts:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Contrary to popular myth, there is no scientific evidence that eating junk food causes acne. However, eating right is good for your overall health, including the health of your skin.
- Find ways to reduce stress. Feeling stressed out can lead to more body acne breakouts. Look for methods to help you manage your stress, whether it’s exercising, meditating or simply finding time to relax.
- Get more sleep. In addition to helping reduce stress, getting enough sleep helps your body stay healthy and makes it better equipped to combat body acne.
- Make sure you get some sun exposure, but always protect yourself. The vitamin D you get from the sun’s rays is essential to proper health and can help reduce your acne breakouts. However, you still need to wear sunscreen to protect your skin; choose one that is oil-free to help keep your skin clear.
- Evaluate your current prescriptions. Some drugs, including certain corticosteroids, anticonvulsants and thyroid medications, can cause acne breakouts. Talk to your doctor about these side effects and the possibility of adjusting your prescription if you’re having breakouts.
Products You Can Use
Just like facial acne, body acne can also be treated with a variety of topical over-the-counter products found in your local drugstore, including everything from soaps to lotions to gels. The following are the key ingredients in these types of products along with what they do to your skin:
- Benzoyl peroxide: This ingredient unclogs your pores. It’s one of the most common ingredients found in topical over-the-counter acne products. It may also reduce inflammation.
- Salicylic acid: This ingredient dries up blemishes to help them disappear. It can sometimes be harsh, particularly on skin that’s already dry.
- Alpha-hydroxy acid: This is another ingredient which dries up blemishes and may be harsh on certain skin types.
- Tea tree oil: Often found in more “natural” products, this oil helps kill bacteria which may contribute to your body acne.
Medications To Try
Some people find that over-the-counter products just don’t cut it when it comes to treating their body acne. These individuals should talk to a dermatologist about other treatment options. In many cases, a dermatologist can provide options for a prescription acne medication. The following is an overview of the different types of prescription acne medications which may be given to those with more severe or resilient cases body acne:
- Topical medications: Dermatologists sometimes prescribe a topical medication to help with body acne. The topical medications are usually either retinoid (which unclog the pores) or antimicrobials (which reduce acne-causing bacteria). Skin may be more sensitive to these stronger treatments that topical acne products bought at the drugstore.
- Oral medications: There are also several prescription oral medications for the treatment of acne. Some women take birth control pills, which help to control acne through hormone regulation. Other drugs (such as Accutane) contain isotretinoin, which limits the oil the skin produces by reducing the size of the sebaceous glands.
- Antibiotics: Since body acne is caused in part by bacteria, antibiotics containing erythromycin, tetracycline or tetracycline derivatives are sometimes prescribed by dermatologists. One concern with this type of treatment is that the acne-causing bacteria may become resistant to the medication over time.
Body acne is often very treatable and can be relieved by using the hygiene, lifestyle and product tips listed above. However, if you find that your acne isn’t going away after trying these methods, make an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss possible prescription treatment options.