Most discussions surrounding acne focus on the face. After all, the face is the most prevalent location for acne, and also the most noticeable. However, acne can occur wherever hair follicles are present, including the neck, back, shoulders, arms, chest, legs, and buttocks. While it’s typically easier to cover up body acne, it can still cause irritation and harm one’s self-esteem, especially during the summer when bare skin is commonplace. If you’re self-conscious about the pimples plaguing your body, know that there are ways to mitigate and prevent further breakouts. Let’s go over how you can get rid of unsightly body acne.
The only difference between facial acne and body acne is where the breakout is located -- the causes remain the same: clogged pores, inflammation, stress, and hormonal changes. Our skin’s pores may become clogged by dead skin cells, natural oils, and dirt. These blockages are more likely to occur when the skin has little room to breathe (i.e. when one wears tight clothing -- neck acne, for instance, may occur after wearing high collars or scarves for extended periods) and when one’s body produces more sebum, which occurs during hormonal changes and stressful situations. Some people are more genetically prone to undergo acne breakouts than others.
If you already have a regimen for clearing up breakouts on your face, you may already have some of the tools you need to clear up your body acne, like benzoyl peroxide. However, there are some differences in how to approach facial acne vs. body acne.
Clearing up body acne requires a holistic approach to skin care. Everything from how you take showers to the moisturizer you use plays a role in exacerbating or mitigating bodily breakouts.
Exercising regularly is crucial for staying healthy overall, but sweat can lead to serious breakouts on your body if you let in linger for too long, as certain acne-causing bacteria are attracted to sweat. So, make sure you hit the showers soon after you perspire.
Showering after working out and or sweating is essential for clear skin, but you don’t want to overdo it in terms of heat and duration. Hot showers may feel great, but they can irritate and dry out your skin. The longer you hold your skin under hot water, the worse your breakouts may get. Try to limit your showers to 5-10 minutes maximum and keep the heat low. When you’re finished, gently pat your skin dry -- rubbing it can leave your skin raw and inflamed.
The soap or body wash you use in the shower can also affect your body acne outbreaks. Ideally, you want to use a body wash that contains ingredients that will actively help you get rid of acne, such as salicylic, glycolic, and/or lactic acids, which all exfoliate the skin to varying degrees and prevent the buildup of dead skin cells. It’s also a good idea to gently scrub your skin with a mildly abrasive brush or exfoliating tool while in the shower.
You may think that moisturizing your skin would lead to further breakouts. However, keeping your skin hydrated and healthy actually serves to prevent body acne breakouts. The key is finding the right moisturizer for your skin type and situation. Look for products that are non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and odor-free, and that contain hyaluronic acid, which restores and maintains your skin barrier and prevents dryness and irritation.
Unlike our faces, the rest of our skin is often at least partially covered in clothing. If your clothing is tight-fitting, it will rub up against your skin throughout the day, irritating and heating up its outer layer, increasing the likelihood of a breakout. If said clothing is dirty, you’re only increasing the odds of clogged pores. If you want to get rid of and prevent body acne, then, opt for lighter, looser-fitting clothing when possible, and make sure whatever you wear is completely clean.
All acne is aggravating, both physically and mentally. Do your skin and yourself a favor and take steps to reduce your risk of bodily breakouts and eliminate those pimples that are currently present. There is no sure-fire, one-size-fits-all acne solution, of course, but the experts at Premier Dermatology Partners can help you find the right products and routine to help you get rid of your body acne once and for all.
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