Body of Wisdom on Acne
Body acne is an ugly subject. Nobody likes to talk about it but the reality is that many acne sufferers don’t just experience breakouts on the face. It’s very common for pimples to form on the chest, shoulders and back. In some cases, people can even battle acne on the arms, legs and buttocks.
What’s the best way to deal with body acne? For starters, take the same care in cleansing and treating the skin on your body as you do with the skin on your face. That means washing at least twice a day and following with an acne treatment. Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing to let your skin breathe. Make sure you shower thoroughly immediately following sweaty workouts. Sweating can cause pore blockage and make sebaceous glands more active than usual.
Choosing an acne treatment can be tricky when dealing with body acne. The skin on the back is usually pretty thick and resistant but the skin on the chest is much thinner, particularly for women, and can be more fragile. Use more caution when treating acne on the chest.
Benzoyl peroxide is very effective against acne but will bleach out colored clothing which is why it needs to be used carefully on body acne. My favorite benzoyl peroxide cleanser is Peter Thomas Roth BPO 10% Acne Wash. Most benzoyl peroxide cleansers are in the form of a watery non-foaming lotion. This makes it difficult to effectively wash a large area. The Peter Thomas Roth cleanser foams up nicely so you can really see where the product is going on your skin. Use it only in the shower as this way it will be easy to rinse off thoroughly and you won’t have to worry about the bleaching effect. I’m also a big fan of DDF Pumice Acne Scrub that treats while exfoliating dead skin cells that clog pores. This is a great product for the back but I find it a little harsh for the chest so use wisely. Massage gently so as not to aggravate active acne.
If you do choose to use a benzoyl peroxide treatment after cleansing (a great one to try is Jan Marini Benzoyl Peroxide 5%), make sure you wear light colored clothing that won’t discolor. Buy sheets and towels that are free of dyes. I have used benzoyl peroxide for years and my family still teases me for bleaching out the linens.
Benzoyl peroxide is too harsh for sensitive skin and many acne sufferers seek alternatives. There are a couple of products that contain salicylic acid in the form of a spray. They are very convenient for treating large areas of the body. Murad Clarifying Body Spray is very gentle with only .5% salicylic acid so as not to irritate. It smells a bit medicinal but it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a lingering odor. It has a nice cooling effect on the skin that feels very refreshing. What’s great about the spray bottle is that you can hold it at any angle, even upside down, and it still works great. Another effective spray that has a higher concentration of acne medicine (2% salicylic acid) is Dr. Michelle Copeland Advanced Acne Formula. Although it is stronger than the Murad spray, I have not experienced any irritation.
Be persistent when it comes to treating your acne. If you are committed and take the necessary steps, you will find yourself with clearer skin.