Lifestyle, Skincare

How to Get Rid of Body Acne

Body acne is one of those things I don’t really think about when I don’t have it. However, when I do break out in chest or back acne, boy. does. it. suck.

Since most of my acne occurs on my face, I often take for granted the fact that I have pretty clear skin on the rest of my body.

I almost never get pimples on my shoulders or back now, and it’s very rare that I get the occasional pimple on my chest or neck.

But, it definitely wasn’t always this way for me. In addition to suffering from constant facial acne, my chest, shoulders, and back would frequently break out, too.

Today, it’s my pleasure to share some tips with you about the one kind of acne I have been able to permanently cure for myself: body acne.

My back: Now acne-free.

If you want to hear about my personal experiences with body acne, how I got rid of it, and the kind of body acne wash I used, keep reading.

What Causes Body Acne?

Body acne has causes similar to those of facial acne and, just like facial acne, the causes of body acne are frustratingly not fully understood by doctors and dermatologists.

My husband has acne on his back, so here’s his skin as an example of what body acne can look like. (Note: The big “pimple” near his right shoulder is actually scarring from a cyst that was removed a few years back.)

However, it’s widely accepted that a few variables likely play into how prone you are to body acne:

  • Genetics. As with pretty much any kind of skin condition or health condition, your genetics influence how susceptible you are to body acne.
  • Hormones. Changes in hormones or hormonal imbalances are often thought by medical professionals to cause body acne.
  • Clogged pores. Excess sebum can clog the pores on your body and cause acne.
  • Bacteria. Along with having clogged pores, exposing your skin to certain kinds of bacteria can results in blackheads or whiteheads on your body.

For me, I always noticed a sharp uptick in the amount of body acne I would get when I was exercising heavily.

For example, when I was training for a half marathon several years ago, I got quite a bit of body acne around my bra-line, my shoulders, chest, and upper back. I attributed this mostly to the extra sweating I was doing and how that sweat would get trapped under my athletic clothes. (I know, gross.)

More recently, when I started favoring weight-lifting exercises over cardio, I noticed more acne showing up on my back, with some of it even spreading down the sides of my back and along my spine. My chest would also break out in relatively large whiteheads, too.

This, I think, has more do to with some kind of hormonal changes that happen when I lift as opposed to do cardio. However, I really enjoy lifting weights and, since it’s healthy, I don’t want to give it up just because it gives me acne.

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Why Body Acne Sucks

I’ve often thought that, if I could just have clear skin on my face, I’d happily take a back full of acne. However, when I really think about this, I know that isn’t true.

Having body acne is just as frustrating and difficult as it is to have acne on your face.

Those of us primarily suffering from facial acne may think that people with body acne “have it easy,” since we might assume they can just cover their acne up with clothes.

However, having body acne can cause just as much insecurity and emotional damage as facial acne, and can even dictate the kinds of clothes you wear.

I know when I’m experiencing a particularly bad chest or back breakout, I certainly don’t reach for a sleeveless dress or cute tank top. Instead, I’ll probably begrudgingly wear a t-shirt or sweater, even if I don’t feel like it.

And let’s not even talk about wearing a swimsuit. As if that whole ordeal wasn’t enough of a confidence-challenger to begin with, try adding a back and chest full of acne into the mix.

However, there might be a way to cure your body acne that you haven’t tried yet.

The Body Acne Wash I Use to Keep My Skin Clear

I’ve tried a few body acne treatments in the past that didn’t really work.

Notably, I tried using Neutrogena’s  pink grapefruit body wash, which actually did help for a month or so, but then my skin seemed to get used to it and it stopped working for me.

The only thing that has ever gotten rid of my body acne completely is the Noble Formula 2% Pyrithione Zinc soap bar.

I was first recommended this as a body acne wash back when I was on Curology.

Since Curology only formulates acne treatments for your face, my skin consultant there recommended that I used the Noble Formula soap to clear up my body acne, which I had mentioned was quite bad at the time.

I still have the message she sent me, so I’ll share what she said about treating my body acne below:

“For your body acne, I’d recommend a cleanser that fights both bacteria and fungus, as acne is often caused in part by pityrosporum (a type of normal fungus that lives on our skin). A good choice is Noble Formula 2% Pyrithione Zinc Bar Soap; the non-vegan version is advised, as the vegan bar has cocoa butter (which can trigger breakouts in some people).

“Noble has a new soap with argan oil, which could be a great alternative as well. Please stick to this brand, as many other brands contain coconut oil, which can actually block pores. I’d recommend keeping the soap on a holder with perforations so that it doesn’t stay damp and giving the bar a quick rinse before using.

“I would use it every day in place of your normal cleanser for your back / body. Make sure to leave on for a minute or so before rinsing off.”

I haven’t given the argan oil zinc soap a try, since the normal zinc bar worked so well for me as a body acne wash. If you opt for the argan oil bar, let me know how it goes!

I know Noble also makes a zinc soap bar with mango butter. Again, I can’t personally vouch for this, but it sounds lovely and I’d be interested in knowing if any of you have tried this variation as an acne body wash.

Finally Get Rid of Body Acne

I followed the instructions my Curology consultant recommended for using the Noble Formula bar and my body acne cleared up completely in two – three weeks.

I’ve been using this soap as a body acne wash ever since, and it’s continued to keep my skin clear.

I also used the bar on my face for a while, and it did help clear up my facial acne. However, since zinc soap is pretty alkaline, it’s probably not a good idea to use it long-term on your face.

If you’re really desperate and want to give it a try though, I personally don’t think that alkalinity had any real negative effects on my skin. However, I’d still recommend only using this for your body acne and getting some prescription-strength treatments for your face.

What do you think about body acne vs facial acne? Would you rather have one over the other? Do you have any other tips for getting rid of body acne? Share them in the comments section below!

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