How to Treat Body Acne

Posted by Azadeh Shirazi MD on

Acne can strike anyone, anywhere, at any age. While acne located on the face often takes the spotlight, its infamous counterpart, body acne, can be just as frustrating and debilitating. From stubborn back pimples to pesky chest breakouts, dealing with body acne can feel like a never-ending battle. It’s not you; it’s your bacteria. But what exactly causes this condition? 

Our skin houses millions of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms, collectively known as the skin microbiome. Under normal circumstances, this microbiome exists in a delicate balance, helping to protect the skin and maintain its health. However, when this balance is disrupted—often due to factors like hormonal changes, sweat, or inadequate hygiene—it can pave the way for bacterial overgrowth.

What Causes Body Acne?

One of the primary drivers of bacterial buildup on the body is sweat. When we sweat, especially during physical activities or in hot, humid environments, our skin becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Sweat is mostly odorless, but when it comes into contact with the skin's natural oils (sebum) and mixes with bacteria, it can create a potent cocktail that clogs pores and leads to acne flare-ups. 

Understanding Acne Vulgaris

In the case of body acne, the most common type is acne vulgaris, characterized by the formation of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), papules, pustules, and, in severe cases, nodules and cysts. When bacteria multiply within clogged pores they trigger an inflammatory response from the body's immune system. This can lead to redness, swelling, and the formation of painful, pus-filled lesions—a hallmark of acne vulgaris.

Prevention and Treatment Strategies: Breaking the Cycle 

So, what can be done to combat bacterial buildup and prevent body acne? The key lies in maintaining a balanced skin microbiome and adopting a comprehensive skincare routine:

  1. Cleanse Regularly: Regular cleansing helps remove excess oil, sweat, and bacteria from the skin's surface. Opt for cleansers containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which can help unclog pores and reduce acne-causing bacteria. 
  2. Exfoliate: Incorporating exfoliation into your skincare regimen can help remove dead skin cells and prevent pore blockages. Look for gentle exfoliants containing ingredients like glycolic acid and Salicylic Acid, like the One Spray helps remove dead skin buildup, treat acne, and minimize overgrowth of acne-causing yeast and bacteria while improving skin texture and discoloration.
  3. Moisturize: Despite common misconceptions, moisturizing is essential for all skin types, including acne-prone skin. Choose oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizers to hydrate the skin without clogging pores.
  4. Spot Treat: For existing breakouts, spot treatments containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide can help target acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation. The Zit roller is great for treating on the go. 
  5. Maintain Healthy Habits: Lastly, adopting healthy lifestyle habits—such as eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, managing stress, and getting adequate sleep—can also contribute to overall skin health and reduce the likelihood of acne flare-ups.

While bacterial buildup may be a contributing factor to body acne, it's important to remember that everyone's skin is unique. Finding the right skincare routine that works for you may require some trial and error, but with patience, consistency, and the right approach, you can take control of your skin's health and say goodbye to stubborn body acne for good.

Dr. Azi Recommended Products: 

The One Spray: A medicated solution featuring clinical strength 10% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid to unclog pores, exfoliate dead skin cells, and improve texture while treating breakouts and ingrown hairs.

Clarify Pads: Exfoliating pads infused with 2% salicylic acid and glycolic acid to target clogged pores, uneven texture, dark spots, fine lines, acne, and breakouts. 

Zit Roller: An easy-to-apply roll-on spot treatment designed to minimize acne-causing bacteria and purify clogged pores, effectively treating pimples on the go.

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment


Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, MD is a Board-Certified Dermatologist.

Specializing in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Shirazi received her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University Of Kentucky College of Medicine. After doing a Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, she completed her residency training in Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in addition to completing her training in dermatology and cosmetic surgery at the University of California San Diego.

She has received multiple research scholarships from iconic institutions including Harvard University and the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and has several peer-reviewed publications to her name.