If you’ve got body acne breaking out like nobody’s business, you’re not alone: the stress and sedentary lifestyle brought about by pandemic chaos has made many of us more susceptible to acne of all kinds.
But elevated cortisol isn’t the only culprit — read on to learn what makes some people more prone to body breakouts than others.
What causes body acne?
Just like facial acne, below-the-neck breakouts are caused by several factors:
- Clogged pores
- Bacteria buildup
Due to the varying concentration of sebaceous glands, body acne is more common in certain areas, including:
- Shoulders & back
Are some people more prone to body acne?
The number one predictor of body acne should come as no surprise: if you break out on your face, chances are higher that you’ll encounter body breakouts, as well. While no one knows exactly why some people are more prone to acne, researchers believe it’s a combination of things like hormones, genetics, and lifestyle (like diet, and that stress we already mentioned). To help prevent body breakouts, focus on factors within your control, like:
- Shower after working out: sweat can breed bacteria.
- Wear breathable, loose clothing: snug fitting clothes in fabrics that don’t breathe are occlusive.
- Clean your gear: anything rubbing on your skin (like sports equipment and bag straps) can lead to irritation and acne mechanica.
- Manage your stress: increased cortisol levels can mean more sebum production and inflammation.
How do you treat body breakouts?
It’s true: the same active ingredients that treat facial acne — like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide — are effective for managing body acne, too. But because body skin tends to be tougher than facial skin, it’s best to use products that are formulated with higher concentrations. Here’s a roundup:
SLMD Skincare BP Body Wash: kills acne causing bacteria and calms red, irritated skin.
SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Body Spray: an all-over body treatment that clears pores and targets blackheads and whiteheads.
SLMD Skincare Clear Out: a purifying treatment mask with salicylic acid and sulfur that works great on both body and face.
Dr. Lee’s last word
We still don’t know exactly why some people are more prone to acne than others — but here’s what I tell my patients: if you’ve got facial acne, you’re more likely to experience body acne as well. The good news is that we can usually treat it with maximum strength acne fighters like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. And simple things like showering after workouts, and wearing breathable fabrics, can make a noticeable difference.
—Dr. Sandra Lee