Suffer from body breakouts? Got big, red, painful pimples on your shoulders and back? Always see little bumps on your chest, back, and butt? Have whiteheads on your chest? Tend to break out after you work out?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you likely have a condition known as body acne.
The good news is, you’re not alone. Plus, there are some great products out there to help you treat the condition — including SLMD’s new Body Acne System! First, let’s break down why bacne (the loving nickname for back and body acne) happens and what you can do about it.
What is body acne? Is it different than facial acne?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. While breakouts are typically seen on the face, pimples can also appear on the chest, back, butt, shoulders, arms, and neck for 50%-60% of people who deal with acne.
It’s the same as facial acne in that all of the same types of breakouts that you get on your face you can get on your body. That includes noninflammatory acne, such as blackheads and whiteheads, plus the red, pussy and painful types, which dermatologists refer to as papules, pustules, and nodules (aka cystic acne).
Okay, I know what acne is… WHY do I get it on my body?!
Between the clothes that touch our skin and the different products we use on our bodies and hair, body breakouts can become triggered by a number of factors. The main ones, however, are:
Tight and/or sweat-soaked clothing or equipment
Oily, comedogenic products
Lack of exfoliation
Dirty sheets & pillowcases
Want to know more about something on this list? We break down all these reasons in our story below!
Got it! Now, what can I do to treat my body breakouts?!
When it comes to body acne, it’s important to remember that you should be treating the skin on your body to the same time and TLC you’re giving your face! These are five key things to change about your regular routine to give yourself, and your skin, the best shot at an acne-free complexion:
1. Put a medicated, exfoliating body wash in your shower.
Your standard, over the counter body washes tend to come in two varieties: oily or drying. For anyone with body acne, you’ll want your body wash to target the problem — just as you would with a face wash. After all, you wouldn’t wash your face with just any old soap, would you? Mild cases might get by with a charcoal or clay formula to gently dry the skin, or a hydrating wash with something like aloe vera or vitamin E to soothe irritation. But whatever the status of your body acne, you should strongly consider an all-over wash that’s formulated to specifically combat acne. We love the SLMD Acne Body Wash, which is made with 1% salicylic acid to prevent breakouts, without overdrying.
2. Exfoliate smart, not hard.
Fun fact: Our skin regenerates every 27 days on its own! Because of this, your complexion might need a little extra help shedding those dead cells that collect on the surface, especially in hard to reach areas like the back or underneath the thighs. We’re willing to bet you’re not remembering to exfoliate your bod (that’s okay, we get it) but not exfoliating can definitely lead to clogged pores, which in turn lead to acne.
When dead cells combine with excess sebum within your pores, they become a deliciously appetizing snack to acne-causing bacteria known as P. acnes. It’s gross, but it’s true, and this is exactly what leads to those red, irritated pimples on your skin.
So, to keep your pores clean and clear, you won’t want to skip exfoliating. But if the word exfoliation makes you think of scrubs with gritty granules or scrubbing beads, think again. If you’ve got acne and you’re using a physical exfoliator, you’re making a mistake for two reasons: Microbeads can irritate any active acne, and they spread bacteria all over your skin, which can lead to even more pimples.
Skip the sand and reach for a chemical exfoliant, which will get the job done with less irritation. Slough the smart way by looking for formulas created with salicylic acid, lactic acid, and/or glycolic acid, all of which are gentle natural acids that penetrate that top layer of skin to remove dead cells, revealing a soft and smooth surface.
Yet another reason why we love the SLMD Body Wash — salicylic and lactic acids plus aloe and allantoin make it hydrating, soothing, and exfoliating, all in one!
3. Add a body treatment spray to your skincare team.
You probably wash your face, use a treatment serum or cream, then layer on your moisturizer, right? Did it occur to you that you should be doing the same thing to tackle bacne?!
Enter: the SLMD Acne Body Spray. This all-over acne treatment works to banish breakouts while gently exfoliating the skin, all thanks to its gentle yet effective 2% salicylic acid formula that’s enhanced with Papaya Extract and Rosemary for their exfoliating and antibacterial properties. The best part? It makes life easy! Equipped with a 360-degree spray pump, you can cover a lot of skin from any angle. We also love it because can use before and/or after workouts, as an overnight treatment, or whenever you get out of the shower. Think of it as a Step 2 in your daily AM/PM routine, and an on-the-go, use-as-needed product.
4. Up Your Linen Game
Sheets and towels get pretty intimate with our bodies… if you know what we mean. No, not like that! They’re just covered in all sorts of dirt, grime, bacteria, sweat, dead skin cells, hair product… you name it, it’s on your sheets and towels. So when you’re drying your bod with that 3-week old towel, or sleeping in sheets you can’t remember the last time you changed, you’re rubbing all that gross stuff back onto your skin.
Hate doing laundry as much as we do? Grab an extra (and inexpensive) set or two from Amazon or Target to make swapping them out that much easier.
5. Sweat hard, shower ASAP.
When your sweat — and your sweat-soaked clothing or sports equipment — sit on your skin for hours post-workout, it’s significantly increasing your chances of breaking out. That’s because it’s blocking your pores and letting any bacteria or dirt you picked up at the gym or on the field lay dormant on your pores. So get yourself to a shower as soon as you can.
Not realistic? At the very least, wipe your body down post-sweat session and use a treatment spray, like the SLMD Body Acne Spray, to help reduce your chances of body breakouts.
6. Understand what you’re putting on your skin.
You may just slather on a drugstore body lotion whenever you feel a little dry, or you may have a cabinet full of body-lucious products you love using. Whatever the case, have you read the ingredient lists on those products? Do you know if they’re filled with occlusive (aka pore blocking) ingredients that increase your chances of body breakouts?
If you’re acne prone and/or your face insists on the use of oil-free and noncomedogenic formulas, chances are your body will too. While everyone’s skin is different and tolerates specific ingredients in its own way, common culprits known for triggering acne-prone skin include: alcohol, fragrance, parabens, and lanolin. Keep tabs on which formulas you’re using and may be making you break out — that way you can stop using them as soon as you recognize a pattern.
If you’ve got oily skin on your face and body, you may be better off using a hydrator or light moisturizer versus a thick, moisturizing cream. You may also consider switching to an oil-based moisturizer that helps your body quell its oil production. If that sentence confused you, you’re not alone. You’re like a lot of people — afraid of oil because of scary marketing campaigns. Read our story below all about how amazing oils can be!
The bottom line on bacne…
Whatever the state and severity of your body acne, and no matter where on your body it may be, you can find relief from your symptoms with a little time, understanding, and some simple skincare additions to your ordinary routine!