Body acne is a chronic skin condition commonly occurring anytime in life. It appears as breakouts anywhere on your body except your face. Acne mainly develops in body areas containing more sebaceous glands, including the back, chest, and shoulders. It is characterized by clogged pores, forming white and blackheads leading to pimples.
This article elaborates on everything you need to know about body acne and how to treat it.
Types of Body Acne
Body acne is mainly divided into the following types.
Hormonal acne occurs due to imbalanced estrogen, progesterone, and androgens levels. These hormones cause an excess sebum production that clogs pores.
Nodule-like lumps appear under the skin in nodular acne. Also, you may find pimples forming on your skin.
Fungal acne occurs due to yeast accumulation in hair follicles. This accumulation causes itching and inflammation leading to acne.
Cyst acne is an inflammatory condition that projects deep down the skin. It involves the formation of pus-filled pimples on the skin, leaving scars on the body.
What Are The Causes Of Body Acne?
Body acne is a chronic skin condition with multiple causes. Some factors relate directly to acne formation, while others trigger it. Stress, friction, excessive sweating, and lack of cleanliness can trigger acne.
Here are the leading causes of body acne:
Hormonal changes commonly cause acne development. Estrogen and androgen imbalance, particularly during pregnancy and puberty, can cause excess oil secretion. Excessive oil clogs skin pores leading to acne.
Oil-based Skin and Hair Products
Oil-based skin care products add more oil to your skin. They can clog your skin pores and hair follicles, leading to acne.
Acne has a direct link with the food you consume. Certain foods like skimmed milk, chocolates, whey protein, and a high carbohydrate diet can aggravate acne1Laetitia Penso, M.S. (2020) Association between adult acne and dietary behaviors, JAMA Dermatology. JAMA Network. Retrieved February 25, 2023 from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/2767075.
Your body produces hormones called androgens under stress. Androgens stimulate various body parts, such as oil glands and hair follicles, causing inflammation. More oil can clog pores in the skin and worsen acne.
Other factors like medications, sleeping patterns, weight, genetic predisposition, and age can also affect acne creation.
How Is Body Acne Treated?
Treatment involves simple strategies to manage your body’s internal and external triggering factors. You must adopt lifestyle changes and consult your dermatologist for the best body acne treatment.
Many medications are available at prescription or over-the-counter to treat acne2 Tan, A.U., Schlosser, B.J. and Paller, A.S. (2017) A review of diagnosis and treatment of acne in adult female patients, International journal of women’s dermatology. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved February 25, 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986265/. . Your dermatologist can prescribe any suitable combination according to your skin type.
Various oral medications are used as body acne solutions. Certain antibiotics, like Tetracyclines, help treat moderate to severe acne caused by bacteria. Some retinoids, such as Isotretinoin, reduce acne by shrinking oil-producing glands. Also, oral contraceptives that combine estrogen and progesterone tend to lower acne.
Some topical antibiotics limit the growth of bacteria on the skin that exacerbate acne. Salicylic acid lotions and cleansers help remove dead cells from the skin that might clog hair follicles. Retinoids disrupt whiteheads and avoid clogged pores.
You can use a gentle body wash or scrub to avoid clogging pores. Also, a benzoyl peroxide body wash or a salicylic acid cleanser can relieve mild acne. However, avoid using a coarse scrub on sensitive skin because it worsens acne.
Your dermatologist may prescribe a steroid or laser therapy if oral or topical medications fail to cure acne. Steroid injections help in reducing inflammation. Moreover, the laser targets the collagen to get rid of acne scars. Chemical peels clear away the top layer of skin, leaving fresh skin free of acne.
How To Get Rid of Body Acne?
Acne affects your skin and influences your self-esteem3Gallitano, S.M., Berson, D.S. (2017) How acne bumps cause the blues: The influence of acne vulgaris on self-esteem, International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. Retrieved February 25, 2023 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352647517300849. You can follow some simple tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eliminate acne. Following dietary and lifestyle changes can help prevent and manage body acne.
Keep Your Skin and Clothing Clean
Regularly shower, especially after exercise, to wash off excess sweat-clogging pores. Use gentle body washes on your skin, effectively removing dead skin cells and oil from pores. Avoid exerting excessive pressure on your back, as constant friction may trigger acne on the skin.
Exfoliate and Moisturise your Skin
Regularly exfoliate your skin with a gentle body scrub to remove dead cells. Also, you need to moisturize your skin daily with a good moisturizer. Leaving your skin dehydrated increases oil secretion and ultimately clogs pores. Avoid coarse scrubs because they may irritate the skin. Also, avoid using too many oily skin care products, and use a handsome amount of sunscreen.
Avoid Squeezing Acne
Restrain yourself from touching acne scars, as bacteria on your fingers may enter the acne. Moreover, popping up and squeezing acne worsens the condition. Picking up acne causes scars that are difficult to treat.
When to Consult a Dermatologist?
You can manage mild acne through lifestyle changes to an extent. However, consulting a dermatologist is the only option if you get a stubborn form, e.g., hormonal or cystic acne. Your dermatologist can design a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan after checking your body’s hormone levels and other factors contributing to acne. He can prescribe a diuretic, alpha or beta hydroxy acid, contraceptive, or other topical medications.
How to get rid of body acne scars?
While it may be tempting, try not to pick at your acne or pop pimples to prevent scarring. You may opt for various home remedies to decrease the appearance of scars but need to consult a dermatologist for deeper ones. Following is a list of options:
Salicylic acid is a good body acne solution and a main ingredient in products that remove acne scars. It reduces inflammation and exfoliates the skin but might irritate some skin types.
Alpha-hydroxy acids are vital in reducing acne scars. These make scars insignificant by removing dead layers of skin and reducing their rough texture.
Pulsed-Dye Laser Treatment
This technique uses a special laser to minimize hypertrophic scars. The laser reduces inflammation and enhances the elasticity of the skin.
Cryotherapy causes cell death in the scar tissue. It involves reducing body temperature until the blood supply to the scar is diminished. Inadequate perfusion causes the death of tissue.
Acne is a common skin condition affecting mental health and self-esteem. You can try various skin care treatments to get rid of your acne. However, it’s better to visit a dermatologist to seek expert advice and medication therapy if needed. Acne can go away with the right combination of treatments prescribed for your skin.
- 1Laetitia Penso, M.S. (2020) Association between adult acne and dietary behaviors, JAMA Dermatology. JAMA Network. Retrieved February 25, 2023 from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/2767075
- 2Tan, A.U., Schlosser, B.J. and Paller, A.S. (2017) A review of diagnosis and treatment of acne in adult female patients, International journal of women’s dermatology. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved February 25, 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986265/.
- 3Gallitano, S.M., Berson, D.S. (2017) How acne bumps cause the blues: The influence of acne vulgaris on self-esteem, International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. Retrieved February 25, 2023 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352647517300849