When I was on the Waikiki beach a few months ago, I saw this guy hanging out with his friends on the shore. While every other guy was wearing boardies (thankfully not tiny speedos), this one guy in particular was wearing a t-shirt as well. And not a sun smart I’m-protecting-myself-from-UV kind of t-shirt, it was just an ordinary t-shirt. And I could see his acne creeping up from underneath the back of his shirt and up his neck.
Back acne, or ‘bacne’, can be just as embarrassing, if not MORE embarrassing than facial acne if it’s severe enough. Some people, (and it’s usually men) can even feel the need to cover it up all the time, just like this guy did in Waikiki.
Why do we get body acne?
We get body acne pretty much for the same reasons why we get facial acne. The strongest difference being back acne can often be induced by sweat. So wearing a backpack or doing a lot of sport that makes you sweaty can bring on a body acne breakout. An allergy to the laundry detergent you’re using to wash your clothes can also cause a body acne breakout.
How to treat back and body acne
Treating back or body acne is similar to treating acne on your face. You need to take a holistic approach and treat your body both inside and out. So this means following the steps in this guide first: 7 Steps To Acne Free Skin
If your body acne is mild …
It also depends a lot on the severity of your acne. If your back or body acne is mild, then you’ll likely be able to cure it with just regular exfoliation. This means keeping some kind of abrasive bath cloth in the shower or exfoliating body scrub and using it every single day. You’ll probably find that your acne will clear within a couple of weeks.
When I was in my teens I used to get mild back acne. I kept some body wash in the shower, along with one of those little puff ball things that’s designed to be used with body wash (I don’t know what they’re actually called so I found a picture for you). I found this abrasive enough to exfoliate my skin daily, but still gentle on my skin. You can use a loofah if you want, but I find loofahs a little too harsh on my skin.
Using this exfoliation method, the skin on my back would always clear within two weeks.
There are other ways to exfoliate your acne prone back too, like using a skin care product such as an exfoliating body scrub. There are plenty of brands available, and plenty of natural options around too. Body exfoliation products often contain abrasive particles like sugar or salt which work by gently ‘scratching’ your skin I guess to exfoliate all the dead skin cells and toxins off.
You can also use a chemical deep pore cleanser, or a combination of both the deep pore and surface exfoliation.
Moderate to severe body acne
If your body acne includes a lot of inflammations (pussy heads), then it’s best not to use the abrasive exfoliants for now so you don’t spread the bacteria. Instead, you should try using a deep pore exfoliator and/or anti-bacterial wash. It’s great if you can get a combination of the two, because the deep pore exfoliant keeps your pores clear, while the anti-bacterial helps prevent the actual acne bacteria from spreading.
The active ingredient in deep pore exfoliants is usually salicylic acid and there are plenty of options available in drug and grocery stores. Make sure you purchase something that is made for the body and not the face, because body products are often a little more robust. You can also try looking for a glycolic acid natural product, but they may be hard to find.
As for the anti-bacterial wash, I love tea tree oil products for the body. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial and it works beautifully for most people. But anything that is an anti-bacterial (chemical or natural) will do.
Also, as usual, make sure you check any new products up on MUA.
So in case I’ve confused anyone, here is my action plan for back and body acne …
For mild body acne:
- Exfoliate your body in the shower or bath once per day, using a surface exfoliant (abrasive bath sponge or body exfoliant skin care product with abrasive particles) OR a deep pore exfoliator (such as a salicylic acid or glycolic acid product).
For medium to severe body acne:
- Use a deep pore exfoliator, such as a salicylic acid or glycolic acid product once per day.
- Use an anti-bacterial body wash, preferably a natural product once per day.
If you can find a product that is both a deep pore exfoliant AND an anti-bacterial, that’s the most desirable option.
Note: Also MAKE SURE you continue to treat your acne using holistic methods to ensure your acne does not come back after you discontinue the use of any products that you’re using. Holistic methods will also help your skin clear a lot faster.