When I first started to develop acne, a long time after my supposedly ‘spotty teenage years’, I didn’t just get spots on my face, I got them on my blimmin’ chest, back and bottom too. Yay, just what I’d always wanted…
The difference being that while the ones on my face were fairly small and inoffensive, the spots on my body were big and very sore. It took me a long time to learn how to deal with them and though they’ve mostly disappeared now, I occasionally get a flare up, so I thought I’d share some tips and treatments that have really helped me.
- Keep acne prone areas clean. Showering daily is ideal, but if that’s not possible, then keeping a pack of antibacterial wipes to hand is a good idea. You can use these to cleanse your chest and back (if you can reach it) at the end of the day, or when sweaty, for example after exercise. There are lots of wipes available – I find these Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel wipes effective and they’re pretty affordable. I wouldn’t use them on my face though, they’re too harsh.
- Use a body wash specifically for acne. Some body washes are too moisturising for spotty areas. I use an ordinary shower gel for my arms, tummy and legs etc. and a different product for my acne prone areas. I like this one from Dr Organic and this one from Quinoderm – it’s actually a face wash, but works well for the body too.
- It’s a good idea to wash your back, chest and bottom with your acne body wash, after you’ve rinsed the conditioner from your hair. Hair conditioner is rich and thick and can leave a greasy residue on your body, encouraging more spots to form. Making sure you’ve removed any conditioner by lathering up with some antibacterial wash will leave your skin thoroughly clean.
- Don’t shower in water that is too hot. Hot water irritates and damages skin. We’re trying to kill our acne with kindness!
- Don’t use harsh scrubs to exfoliate any areas with acne, they’ll just aggravate your skin. Instead, use a body lotion that contains salicylic acid. Not only will this get rid of dead skin, it will also help to unclog pores. This one from Paula’s Choice is excellent. You can also buy sprays which contain salicylic acid, which make reaching your back much easier. Again, Paula’s Choice has a good one or Boots have a spray in their Tea Tree and Witch Hazel range. Don’t use rich moisturisers on trouble areas and avoid any products which are perfumed or heavily fragranced.
- Benzyol Peroxide really helped clear up my body acne. It’s pretty strong and bleaches anything it comes into contact with, so I used to apply it at night to my chest and back and then sleep with a white tee shirt on. Before I did this, I managed to bleach all my bed covers. This one by PanOxyl is the one I used. A more natural treatment is this from Fix-A-Zit, which gets good reviews.
- Speaking of bed covers, it’s really important to change your sheets and pillows regularly. Dirt and grease can accumulate which exacerbates acne. The same with towels and flannels. Keep greasy hair away from your back and chest, especially at night. Sleep with your hair out of the way, if possible.
- Wash bedcovers and clothes in washing powder/liquid and fabric conditioner specifically for sensitive skin. Biological detergents leave residues in your fabrics which can aggravate your skin.
- Another good idea is to use and wear natural fabrics, such as cotton, which wick away sweat. Man made fabrics prevent your skin from breathing. If you are wearing tight fabrics which are close to the skin, like polyester or nylon, it’s a good idea to, like I mentioned earlier, wipe your skin with acne wipes once undressed. This step really helped me.
- Use a sunscreen product designed for greasy, acne prone skin type. Sunscreen with oil in is a definite no-no. I like this one by Neutrogena and this one by Ultrasun.
- Finally, try not to pick and touch any spots. I know it can be tempting, however, it will just make them worse.
Body acne is very treatable and I’m much relieved to have mostly gotten rid of mine as it can really destroy your confidence. You don’t really want to rip off your clothes and shout, ‘Touch my pimples! Go on, you know you want to!’ (Not that I desperately want to do that anyway, you’ll be pleased to hear) Especially when you’re a middle aged woman and feel that you should have grown out of this phase by now… the body acne phase, I mean. I do find that they come back when I don’t follow the steps above, or when I’m very run down. Like I mention a lot, cleaning up my eating habits in the past and keeping my stress levels down has improved my skin all over immeasurably. I’m sure, as well, that taking supplements to help balance out my hormones has played a big part too.
Anyway, I hope this has helped and let me know if you have any body acne tips.