When it comes to acne, most people think of teenagehood. The condition is thought to be caused by hormonal fluctuations (several things can trigger it). But don’t be fooled into thinking that breakouts are just a phase, one you can outgrow as an adult.
Some experts believe that body acne may also be related to hormones — but not in the traditional sense. Rather than being a teenager-specific issue related to oil production or skin turnover rate (which is when skin cells shed naturally and new ones grow in their place), they think it’s more related to hormones like insulin or cortisol — which are found throughout your body and aren’t just regulated by your ovaries.
Unlike pimples on the face typically caused by clogged pores and oil production, bacne and buttne tend to be caused by a buildup of dead skin cells and sweat or friction from clothing or athletic gear. This is why we often see these things happening with teens rather than adults as teens start to hit puberty, get more active with sports, and begin to sweat more.
Now that gyms are closed, and many of us are working out at home or outside in heavy layers of winter clothing (which can increase friction), those factors may be coming into play now for adults who haven’t experienced body breakouts before.
Causes of Body Acne
Acne is caused by skin cells clogging pores, excess oil production, and bacteria buildup.
Breakouts can occur on your face, chest and back. Pimples are caused by excess oil production, blocked pores and inflammation, among other factors like genetics, hormones and stress. This is why most people who have back acne also have facial breakouts. So if you know what works for your face, it’s likely that the same treatment will help keep your back clear.
The biggest difference between facial and body acne is the skin type. Your face has thinner skin than your back, so it tends to be more sensitive. That means you need to be extra gentle when using exfoliating scrubs or harsh cleansers on your body. But otherwise, treating bacne is pretty straightforward: use a pore-clearing cleanser twice a day (morning and night), exfoliate gently once or twice a week to unclog pores, treat any active breakouts with a spot treatment and moisturize post-cleanse.
Factors to Consider to Minimize Body Acne
Body acne happens, and it’s no fun. If you’re dealing with breakouts on your back, chest, or other areas of your body, there are a few things you can do to help keep them under control and prevent future pimples from popping up. Just a few tiny tweaks to your daily routine are all you need for healthy, breakout-free skin. Find a body wash that manages existing pimples and prevents future breakouts, add exfoliating products to whisk away acne-causing dead skin cells and bacteria, and use a light, hypoallergenic body lotion to prevent dryness.
Here are some other factors to consider to minimize body acne breakouts:
- Wear looser, more breathable clothing whenever possible (if you think that’s a factor for you)
- Cleanse and treat breakout-prone areas of your skin daily
- Utilize stress management techniques like meditation, yoga and/or other forms of exercise
Sometimes, what may appear as a common case of body acne could actually be a more serious condition, such as a cancerous mole on the scalp. If you suspect you might have a cancerous mole, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention. Learn more about identifying and dealing with a cancerous mole on the scalp.