Acne is often thought of as a teenage problem, but the American Academy of Dermatology points out that 40 million to 50 million Americans are affected by acne and that many age groups are susceptible to developing the unpleasant and sometimes painful spots. Acne isn't limited to the face; although that is where acne is often most noticeable. Acne also appears on the chest, shoulders, back and even the legs. If you're an adult suffering from body acne, a gentle treatment plan can help clean away dirt and oil for clearer skin.
Wash your body daily in the shower. Avoid using harsh cleansers and exfoliating creams; instead use gentle soap-free cleansers to get rid of dirt and oil. Soap and harsh cleansers can dry out the skin, which increases sebum production, subsequently resulting in even worse acne.
Apply an acne ointment containing 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide once daily to the affected area. Benzoyl peroxide dries out excess oil and kills germs and bacteria to help clear up existing acne and help prevent more body acne in the future. Start by applying once daily and see how your skin reacts. If your skin tolerates the ointment without burning, itching or peeling, increase to twice-daily applications. Allow the ointment to dry before getting dressed because it may bleach your clothes.
Wear loose clothes, especially during the summer. Tight clothes trap sweat and bacteria into your pores, exacerbating the issue. Whenever possible, choose clothes made from breathable natural fibers, such as cotton or linen. Avoid synthetics, which could inflame your acne and make it look worse.
Shower after you exercise. While sweat itself won't cause acne, the warm and moist environment it creates is excellent for germs and bacteria. The bacteria becomes trapped in the pores, resulting in excess acne. Schedule your workouts so you have time to shower and use a mild cleanser after exercise.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor if your body acne has happened suddenly. A change in the texture and quality of your skin could be caused by changing hormones, which often happens during pregnancy and menopause. In some cases, hormone replacement therapy is used to regulate hormones and get rid of acne caused by changes in your body.
- Columbia University Health Services; Acne Below the Belt; Oct. 20, 2009
- Acne.org: The Body Regimen
- "Heal Your Skin: The Breakthrough Plan for Renewal"; Ava Shamban; 2011
- American Academy of Dermatology: Acne