Editor’s Note: If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the previous season (and the 10 other seasons before that), it’s that it’s never too early to start prepping your body in time for swimsuit season—even if it’s still 50 degrees out. But crunches and mason twists aren’t the only thing you should be doing right now. We’re talking about addressing other skin concerns, like body acne, so you can feel confident about baring that amazing body you worked hard in the gym for. To give us a few tips on how to take care of our body skin, we sought the help of experts at VI Derm (yes, the same folks who introduced us to the amazing and transformative power of the VI Peel). Here, they talked about the main causes of body acne and what you can do to treat and prevent it from coming back.
Acne breakouts on the body can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but having body acne is actually very common and can easily be treated. Many people who experience breakouts on their face may experience it on their body. The skin on the back and chest are often prone to breaking out due to stress, hormonal changes and overproduction of sebum (oil), bacteria, fungus and yeast. The pores and hair follicles on the body are larger than the face and can easily become clogged with oil, dirt and bacteria, which leads to acne issues on the body.
Fortunately, body acne can be easily prevented, especially if you know what’s causing it. Below are the top seven things you didn’t know may be causing body acne—plus what you can do to reverse the damage.
1. Your Laundry Detergent
As in your skin care products, fragrances and artificial dyes in your laundry detergent can clog and irritate hair follicles on your body, so if you can, choose fragrance-free and clear detergents for your clothes.
2. Your Workout Clothes
Tight, non-breathable fabrics can trap heat and sweat against your skin, which makes the perfect environment for body acne to flourish. Instead, opt for loose-fitting clothing made of breathable material, like cotton. It will also help to take a quick shower or at least change your clothes immediately after sweating.
3. Your Bath Towels and Bed Sheets
Bedsheets and bath towels collect dead skin cells, dust mites and acne-causing bacteria, so change them often.
4. Your Perfume
Fragrance is a known irritant and may easily cause breakouts even if you don’t have sensitive skin. So just to be on the safe side, don’t spray it on areas where you usually get acne—or, if you can help it, just avoid perfumes all together.
5. Your Hair Products
Aside from your body moisturizers and oils, your hair products also come in direct contact with your skin, so choose your hair care and styling products wisely. For starters, avoid products with sulfates as this may clog and irritate your pores.
6. Your Fingers
We know how frustrating it is to deal with body acne, but picking or scratching the skin with your bacteria-laden fingers will just make it worse. This can cause the bacteria, yeast or fungus to spread, prolonging your acne breakout.
7. Your Diet
While the jury is still out on whether certain foods can trigger acne breakouts, we still recommend keeping your diet in check. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid eating foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates.
Consider an Alpha Hydroxy Acid Treatment
It’s one thing to prevent body acne, but how do you treat an existing breakout? A perfect way to help minimize breakouts on the body is by using a body wash and lotion with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), like glycolic acid and azelaic acid, which are proven to slough off pore-clogging dead skin cells and kill acne-causing bacteria. AHAs also decrease oil production and prevent future breakouts on the back, chest and shoulders without overdrying or irritating sensitive skin.