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Acne on the Belly

author image Shannon Marks
Shannon Marks started her journalism career in 1994. She was a reporter at the "Beachcomber" in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and contributed to "Philadelphia Weekly." Marks also served as a research editor, reporter and contributing writer at lifestyle, travel and entertainment magazines in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Temple University.
Acne on the Belly
Acne can occur anywhere on your body. Photo Credit belly dancing image by Leticia Wilson from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Acne can occur anywhere on your body including your back, chest and belly. Acne.org, a website about treating and preventing breakouts, explains that acne develops when the sebaceous glands--glands that excrete oil--produce too much sebum. This oil, combined with dead skin cells and bacteria, choke pores and cause inflammation. Stomach acne can be uncomfortable from irritation caused by clothing and perspiration.

About Acne

In the article “Facts About Acne,” the FDA reports that about 80 percent of Americans between the ages of 11 and 30 break out at some point. It’s not a serious condition, says Jane Liedtka, an FDA medical officer, but no matter where you break out, acne can cause significant emotional distress.

Possible Causes

The bacteria that cause acne, P. acnes, are located all over your body. In the right conditions, P. acne can cause irritation and inflammation anywhere. Wearing snug clothing or pants and underwear with an elastic band can create conditions conducive to breakouts. According to KidsHealth, tight clothing restricts your skin from breathing and can lock in dirt and oil. Using a fabric-softening detergent to wash your clothes can also cause some people to break out.

How to Treat Belly Acne

You should wash your skin with soap and water at least once a day. For acne-prone skin, wash those areas twice a day. Use a fragrance-free soap. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide to your stomach. Benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria that cause acne.

Preventing Acne

Establish a daily acne-prevention routine. Wash your stomach twice a day with soap and water. Apply benzoyl peroxide not just to existing lesions, but also to the areas of your belly where you typically breakout. Benzoyl peroxide can prevent pimples from forming. Use astringent pads containing salicylic acid once a day. Daniel Kern, of Acne.org, recommends applying an over-the-counter alpha hydroxy acid, which can stop a developing zit in its tracks. The Mayo Clinic suggests using a few acne-fighting products to achieve the best results


You should never pop pimples. KidsHealth warns that popping pimples can push bacteria farther into the hair follicle, causing more swelling and redness. It can also cause permanent scarring. Only use moisturizers and sun block labeled oil-free, noncomedogenic, or nonacnegenic--products that won’t clog pores and cause acne.

Be sure you’re wearing sunscreen whenever your belly is exposed to the sun. While getting tan may temporarily camouflage existing acne, tanning and sunburn may trigger your body to produce more sebum. You should wear sunscreen containing an SPF of 15 or higher.

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