Summer is here, and so is the dreaded bacne. Or yeah, even buttne (acne on your butt — yep, it happens often enough to get its own moniker).
Because, while body acne can happen through the year, summer seems to bring it out in droves.
Which makes this a good time to ask the question once and for all: How to get rid of body acne? And how to banish it forever?
What causes body acne?
To understand ways in which to treat body acne, we first need to understand why it happens. Because knowledge is power. And also because that bacne may be telling you more about your overall health than you think!
At its most basic, body acne is caused by a buildup of oils and dead cells in our pores — just like its facial counterpart.
The P.Acnes bacteria thrives in clogged pores, leading to inflammatory acne, which shows up as those red, painful, and sometimes pus-filled pimples on your body.
While body acne can show up at any time of the year courtesy various factors like genetics, hormonal imbalance, stress and using the wrong skin or har products, it tends to spring up more frequently in the summer, thanks to the excessive sweatiness, greasiness and grime.
Just in time, it seems, for floaty, skin-baring summer dresses, swimsuits and camisoles.
How to get rid of body acne
So, what’s the solution? How to get rid of body acne? And then ensure that it stays away?
Thankfully, help is at hand with this easy, effective and expert-approved plan that will keep those under-the-neck-zone spots at bay… butt, back and chest included.
Switch up your body wash
No, that luxe, utterly delish creamy cleanser is not doing your body acne any favors. Neither is your normal facial acne wash — face-grade products are often too gentle for the body, which needs more potent active ingredients.
What are the ingredients you should be looking for in your acne body wash? Salicylic acid, which can cut through oil and reach deep into pores to unclog them; and benzoyl peroxide, which kills the acne-causing bacteria.
Remember that you need to cleanse your body at least once a day — twice if you have had a particularly sweaty, grimy time; and also immediately after exercising or swimming to wash away any pore clogging oils and other debris!
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate
Exfoliating once a week is the best way to bust pore-clogging dead cells, as well as allowing fresher, unblemished cells to come to the surface for visibly smoother skin.
Look for either a manual scrub with smaller, rounded particles that won’t tear you skin (body bars, like the Glossier Body Hero Exfoliating Bar or L’Occitane Almond Delicious Exfoliating Soap, are perfect for tackling those tough to reach spots); or a chemical exfoliator with glycolic or lactic acid, which are alpha-hydroxy-acids (AHAs) that gently dissolve the upper layer of dead skin cells to prevent pimples from cropping up in the first place.
Put on a body mask!
Clay masks are superb for oily and congested skin. Look for bentonite clay — it attracts impurities and draw them out of the skin.
Mix equal amounts of clay powder and water, then apply it on problem areas. Leave the mask on until it’s completely dry and then rinse it off with cool water.
If you have the time, follow this up with an aloe vera mask, which soothes inflammation, fights infection and promotes healing without clogging the pores.
Simply apply aloe vera juice to the skin, leave it on for half an hour and then wash off in the shower.
You don’t need to stay away from body lotions or creams if you have acne-prone skin. In fact, using a lightweight lotion is a good thing, as it helps keep the skin’s natural barrier intact, which in turn protects against the invasion of acne-causing bacteria.
Just make sure to switch to one that’s not oil-based and labelled as non-comedogenic, which means that it won’t clog the pores.
For added acne-fighting cred, look for a body lotion that contains small amounts of salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or a blemish-buster like tea tree oil.
Bring out the spot treatments
Over-the-counter spot treatments can go a long way in shrinking existing pimples and prevent new ones from popping up in the same area.
Benzoyl peroxide is the top choice amidst skin experts, followed by salicylic acid and retinol. The latter plays an important part in treating body acne by regulating cellular turnover, which allows the shedding of dead cells, pore decongestion and fresher, smoother skin coming to the surface.
Look at your diet
Diet can go a long way in your quest to get rid of body acne. This means you need to include skin-friendly fatty acids in your diet, from fish, flaxseed oil and avocados.
Vitamin A from egg yolks, green and yellow fruits and vegetables will help as well in keeping skin clear from the inside-out.
Plus, zinc is very healing — get it from liver, seafood, green vegetables, brown rice and wholegrain bread. And don’t forget bioflavonoids, found in oranges, red capsicum and other red foods.
Wear loose, breathable fabrics
While summer may seem like the best time to show off that gym-honed body, tight clothing can trap dirt, oils and bacteria that can cause blemishes. Instead, stick to looser, more comfortable fits for your skin’s sake.
Similarly, certain non-breathable fabrics like nylon, polyester and spandex can irritate existing blemishes and lead to new ones by causing excessive friction with the skin. Switch them out for natural fabrics, like linen, cotton or silk.
How to apply products to your back
Of course, applying anything on the back is not the easiest thing for those of us who are not double jointed. And getting someone to do it every time is tedious!
The answer? A product applicator for the back that can help you get to those hard to reach places.
And they don’t even cost a ton… the Toem Lotion Applicator For Back clocks in at just $11.99, while the Bearback Lotion Applicator for Back & Body will set you back by $24.97, and the Smooth Reach Lotion Applicator For Back is equally light on the wallet at $20.36.