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When it comes to the average case of acne, knowledge of how to subdue these pesky breakouts is fairly common—use a medicated facial cleanser, apply a cream, ask your dermatologist about oral antibiotics, and above all, don’t pick at your face! However, despite being nearly as prevalent, information about back and body acne often escapes discussion, perhaps because clothing often conceals these blemishes. Nonetheless, if you struggle with back and/or body acne, read on to find out how you might be able to achieve clearer skin.

Back and body (typically the neck and chest) acne occur via the same buildup of oil secretions and bacteria as facial acne. The main difference between the two concerns the thicker skin and larger pores of the body—these distinctions can result in more severe body acne relative to facial acne. Though you may not see it, over half of facial acne sufferers also have some degree of back or body acne.

Treatment for back and body acne often involves the same ingredients as most basic facial acne cleansers, namely salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Several varieties of body wash that contain these products are available in stores. If washing the skin of your back is difficult, consider investing in a body brush or sponge.

Investing in a body brush can help keep your back free of acne.

Image Source: Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury

Several factors, such as sweat, clothing, and bedding, often exacerbate back and body acne, but the effects of these contributors can be minimized with a little extra care. If you sweat excessively during physical activity, take a shower immediately afterward. Tight-fitting clothing or material that does not breathe can also contribute to back and body acne, so try to wear loose, breathable fabrics like cotton. Finally, make sure to wash your bed sheets and blankets regularly to avoid buildup of dirt and skin oil that can make acne worse. If you have acne along the back of your neck, avoiding collared shirts should prove helpful.

Like facial acne, back and body acne can be both a nuisance and a literal pain. If you find yourself bothered by blemishes on your body, whether it’s on your neck, chest, or back, making small adjustments to your daily hygiene routine can work wonders.

Feature Image Source: Face wash by Sudipto Sarkar

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