While most patients have been enjoying the hot summer weather outdoors, for some, the idea of having to wear swimming costumes and tank tops can be distressing if they struggle with body acne.
In teens, chest acne and back acne (bacne) are incredibly common, and they can be a total confidence killer. It’s no fun stepping out in your brand-new cute suit, just to feel like everyone is staring at your bacne.
WHO GETS BODY ACNE?
Generally, it’s most common among teens, especially those who already struggle with acne. Remember that body acne (like regular acne) is mostly genetic, and hormones play a large role in exacerbating skin troubles.
Body acne can be more common in humid climates. This is because humidity tends to open your pores more, making them more susceptible to the damaging effects of unwanted bacteria.
So, what’s going on? The hyperkeratinised skin (thickened skin, due to lack of natural exfoliation) on the body creates the ideal environment for Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria to proliferate.
WHAT TO ADVISE PATIENTS
If this is you, don’t despair. The good news is there’s a lot you can do to treat and prevent body acne.
- Increase exfoliation. Regulating cellular turnover is key in managing skin conditions. When cellular turnover is too slow, dead/dying skin cells can block pores, causing breakouts. Get rid of these troublemaking skin cells by exfoliating, preferably by using a gentle chemical exfoliant, which contains fruit acids like mandelic acid and willow bark to safely supercharge your exfoliation game.
- Reduce inflammation. When it comes to managing your skin, inflammation is a big-time enemy. It can be caused by a plethora of things like poor diet, pollution, UV exposure, bacteria overgrowth, and more. Stop inflammation woes by using a serum that is rich in vitamin A, antioxidants, and probiotics.
- Clean and hydrate. Simply put, keep your back, chest, and shoulders clean and hydrated as much as possible. After a long day, it’s important to deep clean your skin to remove sweat, grime, pollution particles, bacteria, and sunscreen. Use a gentle cleanser that is the same pH as your skin. Then, gently hydrate with a non-greasy moisturiser, preferably one that is enriched with vitamins and antioxidants.
- Do laundry. Yes, doing laundry is a total downer, but if you’re struggling with body acne, it’s important to always wear clean clothes, use clean bath towels, and sleep on clean sheets. Clean those sheets and towels at least once or twice a week.
- Exercise smart. Gym equipment can be downright dirty sometimes. Before you square up at the squat rack or bust out some bench presses, disinfect everything that comes in contact with your skin (specifically the bars and benches) with alcohol swabs. You can also be courteous to the next person and wipe your equipment after you’re finished pumping iron.
Controlling body acne can be difficult, but fruits acids (like mandelic acid and willow bark), anti-inflammatories (like tea tree oil & antioxidants), and vitamin A are your new BFFs because they help reduce cell impaction and decrease inflammation within the follicle while controlling the acne-causing bacteria. Simply treat your body the same as you treat your face.
Click HERE to learn about SA’s very own Dr Janine Ellenberger and her pursuit of safe, chemical-free skincare products.