Just as the name implies, body acne can appear anywhere on your skin where you have pores… and that’s everywhere! Body breakouts tend to show up on the neck, chest, shoulders, butt, and back — aka "bacne." While it may be tempting to hide body acne with clothes, finding an effective body acne treatment is possible. With a body acne treatment in hand, you can prevent and manage breakouts no matter where they appear — and have the confidence to show some skin every once in a while. Here’s how to get rid of chest and back acne.
What causes body acne?
The same things that cause facial acne can lead to body acne, too. Genetics, hormones, skincare products, the environment, dirty sheets and towels, and lifestyle habits are all potential culprits for body breakouts. Even if you’ve never had acne before, stress can trigger a reaction due to a rise in cortisol (the stress hormone), which causes the body to produce more oil.
Pimples on the body also tend to occur when pores are blocked for too long (often by tight, sweaty clothes or sports equipment) creating chest acne, bacne, and more. That’s why it’s likely that athletes and people who regularly exercise will experience body acne.
It’s important to know that sweat itself does not cause acne. But, when sweat mixes with bacteria, dirt, oil, and dead skin cells it can end up getting trapped and clogged inside pores. This is especially true when you’re wearing sweat-drenched, tight clothing. By not allowing your skin to breathe and trapping acne-causing debris and bacteria inside your pores, you can accidentally cause chest and back acne. Friction against your body from items like backpacks, hats, and tight collars can also block pores, which can increase breakouts.
How to Get Rid of Body Acne
Are you wondering how to get rid of chest acne? Or perhaps you want to know how to get rid of back and shoulder acne? Fortunately, the same acne treatments and lifestyle habits that help treat breakouts on your face can also help as a body acne treatment.
- Keep clean: To help reduce chest and back acne, wash your skin as soon as you finish a sweat sesh. Aside from these post-workout showers, be sure to regularly clean and hydrate your skin, exfoliate dead skin cells, and keep your pores clear of oil, debris, and bacteria. Don’t over wash, though — if you wash your body too many times a day you may strip essential oils, causing your body to overproduce oil which can lead to more breakouts.
- Use acne-fighting actives: Whether you choose an AHA like glycolic acid or a BHA like salicylic acid, use chemical exfoliators that keep pores unclogged to help treat and prevent breakouts from head to toe. Avoid physical exfoliators that are too harsh (like loofahs and body washes with rough exfoliating beads) which can irritate your breakouts even more.
- Sanitize gym equipment: Wipe down gym equipment with antibacterial wipes to keep bacteria from the machine or mats off your skin. A used chest press machine is a surefire way to aggravate your skin and clog pores.
- Loosen up: Your clothing, that is! Friction from restrictive clothing can lead to acne mechanica, a specific type of acne that appears when sweat, heat and friction all combine. It’s best to wear loose-fitting clothing if you’re struggling with chest or back acne, but if tight clothing is necessary, choose breathable fabrics like cotton, silk, rayon, linen, or better yet, merino wool — one of the few materials that can wick away moisture.
- Change your sheets and towels: When you don’t wash your sheets or towels regularly, you run the risk of getting body acne. Over time, bacteria, sweat, dead skin cells, pollen, dust, and oils from your hair and skin build up on your sheets. This is especially true if you tend to sweat while you sleep, prefer to shower in the morning, or typically go several days between hair washing. The bottom line? Wash your sheets once a week in hot water and opt for a fragrance-free detergent since it’s less irritating on the skin.
Body acne products that work
Body acne products are vital for keeping breakouts at bay. Look for salicylic acid, which gently exfoliates, keep pores free of debris, and treats and prevents pimples. Glycolic acid is another popular and effective exfoliating ingredient. Proactiv has medicated products specially formulated to treat and prevent body acne.
Best Proactiv Product for Body Acne
- Clear Zone Body Pads: Developed for the face and body, these pads help keep pores clear of dirt, oil, sweat, and acne-causing bacteria. The dual-textured pads contain glycolic acid’s skin-enhancing properties for a smoother, softer, more even skin tone. You can use them throughout the day to help control oil.
The final word
Acne can pop up anywhere on the body thanks to hormones, stress, the environment, certain skincare products, tight clothing, not washing your body after you sweat, and/or genetics. In addition to showering right after exercise, wearing loose clothing, and regularly cleaning your sheets and towels, you can keep body breakouts at bay by using products for body acne formulated with salicylic and glycolic acids, such as these ones from proactiv.