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How To Treat And Prevent Body Acne

How To Treat And Prevent Body Acne

January 18, 2023
Contributor - Kelly Crane

Don’t let white pimples and ugly red splotches ruin your post-yoga endorphin high. Body acne be gone.

You only waited the time it took to boil a few protein-packed eggs and kick start the coffee machine, but as you peered south, alas, white spots starting to form along your bra line. Sigh.

Body acne is far more common than most realise, but it doesn’t make it any the easier to live with. Finding effective prevention and treatment options can be more challenging than your morning animal flow class.

It’s not for a lack of products on the market, or for the want of trying — in fact the beauty industry is flooded with brand-claimed “miracle” potions, lotions, creams and even bum masks (yep, Google it)!

The key to finding the right product for you is understanding why your body acne is appearing in the first place, as the reason can differ from person to person.

What causes it?

The scorching summer heat and long days spent in a layer of our own sweat (we know, gross), is often the culprit for many. Other reasons could be a high-production of sebum, overly dry skin, or an abundance of hair and thus, the follicles they grow from that can get blocked and ingrown. Rapid hormonal changes such as pregnancy, menopause, and perimenopause can also contribute to body acne, as oil glands become hyperactive during these transitional periods. “Fabulous timing”, we say.

How to spot (yep, we went there) it

Also known as truncal acne, body acne is most commonly characterised by cystic acne of the chest, shoulders, back, or buttocks. These areas have pretty large sebaceous oil glands, which are usually the root cause.

What causes it?

The fact-less cliché — if you have body acne it means you’re dirty. Completely incorrect.

A few of the causes include inflammation, increased oil production, hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells, and irritation of the follicle by a specific acne-causing bacterium called Cutibacterium.

However, one particular trigger is trapped sweat or oil, hence an uptick in cases across the Middle East where it is warm and sweaty for much of the year. People who consistently sweat and opt for tight clothing are very likely to develop some kind of body acne.

Let’s prevent it

The most important piece of information here is not to overdo anything. Cleanse, exfoliate and hydrate but don’t become obsessive because that will have the opposite effect.

If you're body-acne prone, daily showering — particularly right after exercising — is important.

But the most important message must be to opt for a gentle, acne-fighting body wash infused with ingredients such as bacteria-killing benzoyl peroxide and exfoliating glycolic and salicylic acids, which are all beneficial for treating acne.

Don’t go overboard with cleansing or use harsh products as this can disrupt the skin microbiome and lead to increased irritation and inflammation that just makes it all worse.

You cannot scrub away body acne, that simply isn’t an option. Dermatologists suggest light exfoliation every few days to remove dead skin cells, as well as PH-friendly body washes and skin-soothing lotions.

Let’s treat it

Targeted treatments are the best way to fight what’s already there, as well as building, and sticking to, a kind, regular skincare routine. Stay as sweat-free as possible, along with this, and you’ll be on your way to pimple-less skin!

Take a look at your lifestyle

Just for a short time it might be sensible to stay away from foods that have been proven to exacerbate acne in some people. Some foods that cause inflammation, include dairy products and refined grains and sugar.

Stress can absolutely exacerbate body acne, and fun fact, insomnia can lead to elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. This means the age old statement ‘beauty sleep is real’ stands true folks!

Hydration is key

One big mistake here is to go as thick as you can. In actual fact it’s better to veer away from thick, oil-rich products, which can be aggravative, especially on the torso area.

Nourished, hydrated skin with an intact barrier is your best defense when it comes to acne. The docs tend to recommend gentle, nourishing moisturisers with prebiotics and ceramides to help rebalance the microbiome.

In addition, make sure you’re hydrating from the inside out by drinking enough water for overall wellbeing.

How To Treat And Prevent Body Acne

Combating Body Acne

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