Why body acne occurs and how to treat it

Everyone is accustomed to dealing with the occasional zit (or three or five!) on the face. But what about those pesky pimples that pop up and proliferate all over the body? They even have a name: body acne. 


What is body acne?

Sometimes the pores under the skin get clogged with dead skin cells and an oily substance called sebum. The clogged pores may lead to non-inflammatory acne like blackheads and whiteheads. Sometimes the clogged pores get infected by bacteria. If that happens, they become inflamed and develop into pimples. In severe cases, nodules or cysts may form as well.

Although people associate acne with pimples on the face, breakouts can happen anywhere on the skin. In fact, body acne occurs so often on the upper back that it has a name: bacne. You could also get body acne on the shoulders, chest, and buttocks. All these areas have an abundance of sebum-producing glands, which leaves them prone to clogged pores and therefore to breakouts.


Causes of body acne

Body acne is a lot more common than you might think. Let’s take a look at what could be causing those breakouts

  • Friction: The clothes you wear and the backpack you carry can aggravate your acne. When these rub against the skin, they may irritate the pores, leading to acne mechanica. This type of acne often appears on the shoulders, neck, and buttocks.
  • Sweat: Do you wait to shower after an intense gym session? Allowing sweat to linger on your skin is a recipe for acne. It leads to clogged pores and promotes the growth and spread of acne-causing bacteria.
  • Medication: Some medicines may cause or aggravate acne. Check with your doctor if you suspect an ongoing medicine is causing your breakouts.
  • Stress: Stress is an indirect cause of acne. It triggers the production of a hormone called androgen. This, in turn, increases sebum levels, which may cause or aggravate your body acne.
  • Hormonal changes: If your body acne is persistent, it may be the hormones at play. Body acne which occurs due to hormone fluctuations is typically seen on the chest and back regions.


Banish that bacne

You may have multi-step anti-acne regimens for the face. But where do you start for the body? The first step is to eliminate any acne triggers. Here are some quick tips!

  • Swap out the skin-tight tees and stretch jeans for looser clothing. This will reduce friction against your skin. 
  • Change your bed linen more frequently. Dust and grime on the sheets and pillowcases could aggravate your acne. 
  • Take regular showers on hot days and after workouts. Even if you work out at home, make sure to change out of those sweaty clothes after the session.
  • Don’t wait too long to wash your hair. Build-up from the scalp falls on the back and chest triggering breakouts.
  • Hair products like oils, leave-in conditioners, and styling creams could trigger your acne. If possible, tie your hair in a bun to prevent it from touching the skin.

The next step is acne treatment and care. Here’s the good news: you don’t need a complicated skincare routine to tackle body acne. A few easy steps are all it takes.

  • Cleanse gently: Avoid harsh soaps and cleansers. These tend to dry the skin so much that sebum production goes into overdrive to compensate. What you need instead is a light, oil-free shower gel or body wash that is suitable for your skin type.
  • Repair acne: Treat your body acne topically with a targeted formulation like Clearica’s Anti-Acne Cream. This will stop the spread of acne bacteria while also reducing inflammation, clarifying pores, and rejuvenating the skin. 
  • Moisturise right: Avoid products with heavy moisturising ingredients as these may end up clogging your pores. If your regular moisturiser makes your skin feel heavy or sticky, it may be time for a change. Replace it with a light, oil-free moisturiser instead.
  • Exfoliate weekly: Add a body scrub to your shower caddy. Use it once or twice a week to slough off dead skin and other debris. A good exfoliant will reveal the healthy glowing skin that lies beneath. 

If your body acne shows no signs of easing in a couple of months, consult a dermatologist. The doctor may prescribe topical or oral medicines to clear up the breakouts.


Goodbye, body acne!

Your skincare routine may give a lot of attention to the face. But don’t ignore the rest of the body. Besides, the solution to body acne is relatively simple: just eliminate your acne triggers and keep the pores clean. All it takes is a little care and an extra boost from a good acne-control product. Bye-bye, bacne! Hello, gorgeous glowing skin.