Noticing bumps on your body, but can’t seem to figure out why they’re popping up? You’ve likely got what’s referred to as bacne — body acne. As it turns out, so do a lot of people, so know that you're not alone! Nearly 60% of people with acne experience breakouts on their bodies as well. Most commonly, bacne appears on the neck, chest, back, and butt, but it can also show up anywhere you’ve got skin.
What’s the best way to figure out why you’re getting bacne and how to get rid of it?First, 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!
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... 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.
2. 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 provide an opportunity for pores to become clogged, which can result in pimples.
Sometimes, the residue from our hair products 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.
3. Your skin is overdue for a good scrub-down.
Many people assume that acne is caused by overactive oil production. They aren’t entirely wrong — but there’s more to the formation of a pimple than excess oil (sebum). In order for the bacteria that leads to breakouts, known as P. acnes, to become active, that excess sebum must combine with debris in your pores. Most often, that debris is dead skin cells. Just as you should exfoliate your face 1-3 times a week, your entire body — we’re talking chest, shoulders, arms, back, thighs, and butt (not just the areas of the body where you’re experiencing breakouts) should be treated to some exfoliation on a regular basis as well. Be aware that physical exfoliants (little scrubby granules and beads) can irritate active acne, so stick with a chemical exfoliator, a body wash or treatment with Salicylic Acid.
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 or use the same towel for too long, oil, dead skin cells, skincare residue, sweat, dirt, bacteria and all sorts of other residue collect over time, any of which can easily become transferred onto our skin, possibly clogging pores. If you notice breakouts on the side you sleep on, a dirty pillow case might be to blame...
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. As if those things aren't stressful enough!