The Scourage of Body Acne
The word “acne” is enough to send pretty much anyone screaming for the hills. Add “body” to that and most people go right over the edge. While acne on the face is no picnic in itself, body acne can be so much more problematic. It can be more persistent and more stubborn to treat, particularly when it appears on the back or buttocks, because it is frequently hard to reach. In addition, body acne is not always caused by the same things that cause facial acne, so the products you religiously use on your face may not get rid of those pesky blemishes on your back.
While many of the same issues that cause facial acne—such as hormones, stress and diet—can trigger body acne flare-ups, body acne has several other causes as well. Some of the most common are bacteria and friction from tight-fitting clothing. Workout wear can particularly be problematic, because sweat, bacteria and oil can become trapped under form-fitting clothes from synthetic fabrics, and the friction from the movements of a workout can inflame these areas, causing breakouts.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So if you are prone to breakouts, do your best to avoid getting them in the first place. If you work out regularly, consider switching to more loose-fitting, 100 percent cotton clothing, or specially designed workout wear that wicks moisture away from skin, to help stop sweat from becoming trapped next to your skin.
Be sure to shower as soon as possible after a workout or any situations in which sweating occurs, ideally with a cleanser that contains salicylic or glycolic acid. Revision Alpha Cleanser and Glytone Mild Gel Wash are both good choices, as they contain ingredients that exfoliate and condition the skin. It is important, however, that you not scrub your skin too harshly while cleansing, because over-scrubbing can cause inflammation and skin damage and actually can spread bacteria, making acne worse. If an immediate shower is not possible, use pre-moistened cleansing towelettes, such as Dermalogica MediBac Clearing Skin Purifying Wipes to wipe sweat off of acne-prone areas such as your face, back and chest.
If you are prone to back acne, it is a good idea to wash your back after conditioning and rinsing your hair, because the waxes in hair conditioners often can coat the back and clog pores. Along the same lines, when applying mousses, gels or pomades, take care that these products do not come into contact with your neck, back or chest.
Be sure to use a moisturizer that is appropriate for your skin. Thick, heavy moisturizers can coat the skin, so those with acne-prone skin should look for oil-free moisturizers such as Glycolix Elite 15% Body Lotion, DDF Ultra Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew, or MD Skincare’s Hydra-Pure Oil Free Moisturizer. If possible, avoid daily moisturization.
There is a great deal of controversy over whether or not chocolate and greasy foods can trigger an acne breakout, but most experts agree that it is important to drink at least 64 oz of water each day to help cleanse the body from the inside out.
The unfortunate truth is that no matter how many steps you take to prevent acne breakouts, flare-ups still may occur. Luckily, acne prevention products have come a long way in recent years. While those with severe acne may need to rely on prescription medications, there are a number of over-the-counter cures that can have a significant impact on acne. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are two highly effective acne-fighting ingredients.
Salicylic acid prevents bacteria from clogging pores and inhibits whiteheads and blackheads from forming. MD Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Body Peel helps to eliminate current blemishes while preventing new ones from forming. The two-step process uses antioxidant-rich pads to soothe, smooth and balance the skin. This body peel can also be found in the Team Body Pack, which also includes a moisturizing body wash that removes oil and dirt from the skin. Another effective salicylic acid cleansing product is PCA Skin's Blemish Control Bar - pHaze 32.
Benzoyl peroxide dries or peels congested areas, so it often is found in spot treatments like Bioelements Breakout Control. This light lotion contains 2.5% pharmaceutical grade benzoyl peroxide to dry and heal existing blemishes while preventing future breakouts. Obagi Clenziderm M.D. Starter Set - Normal to Oily is a three-step anti-bacterial system that contains a daily care foaming cleanser and a pore therapy formula (both of which contain salicylic acid) as well as a 5% benzoyl peroxide serum gel. Jan Marini Skin Research Benzoyl Peroxide 5% treatment regulates skin’s moisture and pH levels while drying up pimples and preventing new blemishes from forming.
As always, check with your dermatologist before beginning any new skin care routine.
Article posted 9/10/2007.