While the most visible outbreaks of acne occur - unsurprisingly - on the face, other parts of the body can certainly be affected. Body acne can be just as discouraging, but don’t despair: It can often be kept under control and mitigated through proper skincare practices and products.
Let’s set the stage: What causes body acne? Excessive production of a natural body oil called sebum is the prime offender. Boosts in hormones can trigger notable increases in sebum - the main reason why adolescents are so commonly afflicted with acne. Excess sebum can bog down the natural release of dead skin cells through our pores, clogging them up and encouraging within localized explosions of a common bacteria native to our epidermal ecosystem, P. acnes.
A clogged but open pore is commonly called a “blackhead” or an “open comedo (or comedone),” while a clogged pore sealed by oil and dead skin is a “whitehead” or “closed comedo.” The flourishing of P. acnes bacteria in the oily, jammed pores creates the inflammation that leads to redness and swelling - producing pimples and, ultimately, acne cysts. (Dermatologists further distinguish other kinds of acne blemishes, including papules and nodules.) Scarring may result from severe inflammations.
Major acne breakouts are most associated with concentrations of sebaceous glands, the sebum-production factories. Along with the face, these areas include the neck, shoulders, upper back, chest, and the upper portion of the arms.
Acne breakouts can be utterly dismantling to self-confidence. They can also be physically irritating and, especially in the case of full-blown cysts, painful. It should come as a relief, then, to know that many people successfully address their body acne through the combination of sensible skin care
practices and focused treatments, as well as counsel from a dermatologist if necessary. The topical treatments displayed here at drugstore.com may take several different routes to tackling the problem. They may, for example, work to diminish sebum and thereby minimize clogged pores; they may also strive to kill acne-causing bacteria.
The specific form of these acne care
treatments varies: Depending on your skin type, the severity of your condition, and your personal preferences, you might try out a body wash or explore gels and lotions.
Keep in mind that treating acne takes time, and that any mitigation effort is aided by your own skincare and lifestyle practices. Dermatologists advise against, for example, popping or squeezing pustules, as tempting as the impulse might be. Be gentle with your skin, which is, after all, already aggravated; mild cleansers
and non-abrasive washing-no violent scrubbing-are recommended.
If body acne bothers you, don’t delay: Begin addressing it as prudently as possible. Study the options available to you here at drugstore.com - with an eye on the target skin type and ingredient lists associated with each product - and give those that appeal to you a try. With diligence and the right tools, you stand a great chance of reducing breakouts - and boosting your self-esteem. But as always, it is best to consult with a dermatologist before addressing any treatments or conditions for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. back to top »