A woman's back with bacne

Put Bacne Behind You: How To Clear Up Body Breakouts

Although body acne is easier to conceal than facial acne - those bumps on your chest and back are still painful and not the most ideal... Here's advice from Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) on the best way to figure out why you’re getting bacne, and how to get rid of it.


4 minute read

Although body acne is easier to conceal than facial acne, those bumps on your chest and back are still painful and not the most ideal. So what’s the best way to figure out why you’re getting bacne and how to get rid of it?

The first step is to determine what you’re working with by examining the possible causes of your body acne, because sometimes treatment can be as easy as making a small change to your routine. We're breaking down the top body acne causes from our founder and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Sandra Lee, below.

 4 minute read


Most common causes of bacne:

1. You’re hanging out in sweat-soaked clothing.

Getting a good sweat working out is the best way to relieve stress, stay in shape, and rid the body of toxins. But... a sweat sesh can be counterproductive, if you don’t take care to clean your skin after you’ve worked out. Hanging around in your workout clothes might be tempting, especially if your workout wasn’t especially rigorous, but allowing tight, sweat-soaked fabrics to linger on your skin can result in breakouts known as acne mechanica, caused by friction when your skin isn’t exposed to air.

It can also result in folliculitis, the result of pores that host sweat glands and hair follicles becoming clogged when they are blocked. If you don’t have time to rinse off, having a body spray on hand to spritz your skin, along with exfoliating swipes to keep your body clean and less susceptible to breakouts. We recommend SLMD Salicylic Acid Body Spray and AHA/BHA Swipes.

SLMD Salicylic Acid Body Spray

2. You need a better body wash.

You wash your face morning and night, and follow a strict skincare routine. The skin on your body deserves the same attention! Body acne develops when your pores get plugged up with dead skin and excess oil, known as sebum. Bacteria grows in these clogged pores and causes pimples. We can actually treat acne on our body with the same ingredients as our face, but you want to use products that are formulated for the body specifically because this skin is tougher, thicker and can generally handle more.

If you’re dealing with those deep painful underground pimples, we recommend SLMD Skincare's BP Body Wash, formulated with the powerhouse ingredient, benzoyl peroxide. It will improve acne and calm inflammation, by diving deep into pores to attack C. acnes, the invaders that cause inflammatory breakouts on the body.

SLMD BP Body Wash

3. You’re using harsh, comedogenic products.

Most people with acne-prone skin know to steer clear of comedogenic ingredients and unnatural oils, but all too often, that stops below the neck. Because the chest and back are also covered in hair follicles, they also have pores that can become clogged and irritated.

Sometimes, the residue from our hair products or added fragrance can exacerbate skin irritation and acne, so if you noticed an increase in breakouts after using a certain product, take a break and look closer at the ingredients. If your symptoms subside, avoid that ingredient when making your next purchase.

4. Your pillowcases or towels need a run through the wash.

Sometimes, a breakout can be attributed to something as simple as not doing that load of laundry. When we sleep on the same pillowcase, use the same towel for too long, or don’t regularly wash sheets - oil, dead skin cells, skincare residue, sweat, dirt, bacteria collect over time, any of which can easily become transferred onto our skin, possibly clogging pores. Be sure you are washing all of the above at least once a week!

A woman sleeping in sheets that could be causing body acne

5. It's in your genetics.

We're not trying to point the finger at mom and dad, but acne and the size of your pores, is somewhat linked to genetics, so if either of your parents have or had acne-prone skin, chances are you might too — so you just need to be conscious of that and loyal to your skincare routine.

6. Your hormones are running rampant.

Simply put, the condition of acne is often attributed to a hormonal imbalance. When certain hormones are out of balance, our sebaceous glands, which work to create the oil our skin needs to stay healthy and protected, can go into overdrive, producing more than what’s needed to keep our complexions hydrated. This is why many women notice an increase in acne symptoms around their monthly period, during pregnancy, amid times of stress and of course, during puberty. 

Having spot treatments on hand for these breakouts is beneficial. Opt for treatment masks like SLMD Clear Out, with salicylic acid and sulfur, and targeted solutions like BP Acne Spot Treatment (for inflammatory pimples) and Salicylic Acid Spot Treatment (for blackheads and whiteheads).

Dr. Lee's last word

Body acne and facial acne are really caused by the same thing: when pores clog up with sebum and dead skin, which sometimes elicits an inflammatory response — especially when C. acnes bacteria gets involved. But with some simple lifestyle habits and a consistent skincare routine, you can manage your acne, no matter where it shows up.

—Dr. Sandra Lee


Shop the Article