Now that the spring weather is almost here in Canada and we’re about ready to bring out our spring and summer wardrobe, I wanted to touch upon a topic that plagues some of us silently.
As you can probably tell by the title of this post, today I’ll be talking about body acne. There are many forms of body acne but the most common areas of the body, other than the face, are back acne (bacne for short) and chest acne.
Back acne is something that most people want to hide because it can be embarrassing. They’ll often do this by safely hiding it under clothing. If you have acne on your face, it’s much easier to cover the redness with concealer and foundation. That’s not the case with body acne though, especially since it usually covers a much larger area of the body and putting makeup on it doesn’t make sense because it would smear onto your clothes.
If you’ve experienced back acne or are currently trying to fight it, you probably know what it’s like to have to deal with it on a regular basis. It’s no fun especially in the summer when you just want to wear pretty open-back dresses and tank tops but they’re totally visible. And let’s not forget about the times when you want to relax at the beach and wear a bikini, which means showing even more skin!
These little buggers are pesky and often hard to get rid of. They’re even harder to fight when you mix in the heat, humidity, and sweat that are synonymous with hot weather.
My Back Acne Experience
I’ve had a lot of experience dealing with chest and back acne growing up as a teen and young adult. Back in the day, I used to only wear t-shirts or tanks so I didn’t have to show my back to the world. I also rarely wore strapless or halter dresses because I was so ashamed of the breakouts and the red hyperpigmentation marks that were left behind.
Luckily by the time I was 20 years old and after many years of constant experimenting, I was finally able to figure out how to effectively treat and cure my back and chest acne breakouts once and for all.
Today, I will share with you a simple list of what you should and shouldn’t do to effectively get rid of those annoying, unsightly bumps.
1. Take a shower once a day
This may sound obvious but it’s important to do this especially if you live in a warm climate or if you participate in a lot of physical activity. Make sure the areas which tend to get more sweaty are washed thoroughly because they will be more prone to breakouts when bacteria builds up and pores get clogged.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys morning showers, it may be preferable to switch your showers to the night time if you do a lot of physical activity to ensure that you aren’t sleeping in sweat and grime.
2. Change your bed sheets and pillowcases every week
Your skin is constantly shedding dead skin cells so there will be an inevitable build-up of dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and bacteria on your bed sheets. Changing your linens frequently will reduce the chances of your skin getting clogged and forming breakouts.
3. Use a loofah or exfoliating glove in the shower
This will help remove some of the dead skin cells that may be clogging your pores. It’s best to use something gentle so that you don’t irritate any existing breakouts. I enjoy using a loofah over other types of exfoliators (such as harsh scrubs or gloves) because it’s less abrasive on existing breakouts. I also love how it really foams up my body wash.
4. Keep your body dry after sweating
If you’re unable to shower after you sweat, always wipe down the areas where you experience body acne the most with some paper towel and water or a wet cloth to freshen up. Changing into clean, dry clothes also reduces the chance of new breakouts forming. It’s better to be proactive and prevent breakouts than to spend more time fixing them.
After wiping down your body from all the sweat, combine it with tip #5 below…
5. Use a body acne spray that contains salicylic acid
Use a body acne spray all over the areas that you experience break outs once or twice a day, preferably after taking a shower when the area is clean and dry.
I like products that contain 2% salicylic acid because they have been the most effective in reducing back and chest acne for me. They’re also gentle enough without irritating my sensitive skin.
Here are 2 effective body acne sprays that I have used in the past and recommend:
Nature’s Cure Body Acne Treatment Spray: I highly recommend this stuff! It comes with 2% salicylic acid and is very effective and affordable. It has a functional 360-degree spray that makes it super easy to cover hard-to-reach places such as your back.
I like how it helps to heal your breakouts but it isn’t drying on the skin. It’s also gentle enough to use on the chest, which is important as that area is very delicate.
Paula’s Choice CLEAR Back and Body Acne Spray: This is another great spray with 2% salicylic acid. I like that it’s fragrance-free which is great for those with sensitive skin. They also don’t test on animals.
This spray is a little more on the expensive side (priced at $25) for 4 oz. If you had previously tried the Nature’s Cure Body Acne Treatment Spray and didn’t like it or you just want to try something new, give this one a try!
Other Treatment Options
Acne Pads: If you’re not into body sprays, you can try acne anti-blemish pads. Products such as the Noxzema Triple Clean Anti-Blemish Pads with 2% salicylic acid are effective for body acne and they don’t bleach and stain your clothes (unlike benzoyl peroxide) after wiping them over problem areas. I had originally placed this product on my list of acne products that I would not repurchase to treat facial acne but I found after experimenting that it was actually pretty effective for back acne.
The only downsides to these pads are that they contain a lot of alcohol and the pads dry out pretty easily if you open the container often. Other than that though, they are a great alternative to body sprays for back acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. I’d probably skip using this on the chest though because that area is more sensitive.
Acne Body Washes: Although body washes with acne fighting ingredients seem like they would be the ultimate solution to body acne, I found that they rarely did much at all for problem areas except for drying out my skin. I would recommend avoiding these and just stick to using acne body sprays or pads to treat problem areas.
1. Avoid shampoos and conditioners with silicone ingredients
I found that once I switched away from using hair products that contained silicones, my back and chest acne improved immensely.
If you can’t imagine switching to natural products without silicones because you dislike the way that they feel, always at least lather and rinse your back and chest area thoroughly after you’re done washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner.
I always make sure to finish washing and conditioning my hair before moving on to washing my body. This ensures that any residue that’s left over in the acne-prone areas are clean.
2. Avoid hair sprays, leave-in conditioners, or styling products if you have long hair
You won’t be washing these products off once they’re put on so there is a great chance that they will stick to your skin and cause breakouts if you have medium to long hair. They may also contribute to acne on your jawline, temples, cheeks, or neck.
3. Avoid picking or scratching active breakouts
A lot of times breakouts on your back or chest can become quite itchy but it’s best not to scratch or pick them! Practice your willpower because they may leave dark hyperpigmentation marks if you scratch them and these take ages to fade long after the pimples disappear.
4. Don’t excessively tan
Some people find that tanning (both outside and in a bed) helps to rid of their breakouts. However, this is just a blanket solution. You may get rid of the acne temporarily and achieve a nice dark tan as a bonus, but it’ll also age your skin and/or cause skin cancer. Just don’t do it!
Back acne and chest acne can be a thing of the past!
Although they can be hard to get rid of and there are many different triggers that can make them worse, treating problem areas with the correct acne products and keeping it clean of sweat, dirt, and silicone hair products can really go a long way. Also ensuring that you are exercising consistently and eating healthily will be very beneficial to the healing process as we are truly what we eat!
I hope that some of these tips that I’ve listed will be of some help to anyone suffering body acne. If you are also having trouble fighting facial acne, read about my experience with prescription acne medication and how I cured my acne with natural remedies.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of my acne series here:
- Deep Cleansing Masks For Acne-Prone Skin
- Affordable & Effective Acne Products That Won’t Break The Bank
- Over-The-Counter Acne Products You Need To Avoid That Just Don’t Work
- My Experience With Prescription Acne Medication And How They Didn’t Work For Me
- How To Cure Your Acne With Natural Remedies
What are some methods that you use to fight back acne? Feel free to share!