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How to Get Rid of Body Acne Once and For All

Acne on the face is no fun, but what's often even harder to deal with is body acne, which can appear just about anywhere at any time. Acne is the most common skin condition in the world, and about half of people who experience facial acne also experience body acne.

To get rid of body acne, it's important to identify the main causes and triggers of your breakouts and develop a skincare regimen that properly addresses them. A build-up of acne-causing bacteria, too much oil on the skin, and inflammation can all lead to body acne, but fortunately, it's easy to treat.

Back acne.
Acne on parts of the body, including the back, is more common than you might think, which means it's possible to successfully treat.

Getting rid of your body acne once and for all won't happen overnight, but with some patience and high-quality skincare products, you can see huge improvements in the way your skin looks. and feels. Let's dive deeper into the facts about body acne to learn more about where it comes from, how to manage it, and what you can do to stop it.

What Causes Body Acne?

Body acne, though it may be triggered by different circumstances than facial acne, shares the same main causes as all types of acne: bacteria, excess oil production, and inflammation.

Acne infographic.
Acne, regardless of where it occurs on the face or body, shares the same root causes.

Triggers like genetics, hormone fluctuations, increased levels of sweat, tight clothing, and more can all exacerbate one or more of these causes, leading to the development of acne.

How is Body Acne Different from Facial Acne?

Body acne may differ from facial acne in its appearance, severity, and the things that tend to trigger its outbreak.

Lower face of a woman with acne.
Acne on the face can have different triggers than body acne.

Facial acne, for instance, is likely to be triggered by things like sweaty clothes due to the simple fact that the skin on your face is not frequently exposed to them.

Sweaty clothes may lead to a build-up of bacteria on the skin or irritation and inflammation, all of which can lead to breakouts.

Different Types of Body Acne and Common Triggers

You'll likely find that some types of acne are more common in some areas of your body than others and thus require a slightly different approach.

If you experience lots of whiteheads on your back and shoulders, for instance, and deeper, more painful cysts elsewhere on your body, you may need more rigorous skincare products for some places over others.

Arm Acne

The skin on our arms is also prone to becoming clogged by dead skin cells and excess oil, just like our face. Lifestyle habits that exacerbate this problem -- such as wearing tight clothing, not cleansing your body regularly, etc. -- can lead to breakouts, even if they don't directly cause them.

If you're dealing with frequent acne on your arms, trapped sweat or irritating fabrics may be the culprit.

A lack of exfoliation or proper moisturizing can likewise make it hard to truly clean your skin or keep it healthy enough to resist infection.

Try switching to clothes made with breathable, lightweight material, like cotton, in addition to regular hygiene habits and avoiding tight shirts, dresses, jackets, etc.

As a final note, it's important to distinguish acne on the arms from other common skin conditions, like keratosis pilaris.

Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common skin condition that causes small red bumps to appear on the skin, typically on the upper arms, legs, or buttocks.

It's caused by a buildup of keratin that blocks the opening of hair follicles, which leads to its textbook bumps and dry, rough skin.

Similarly, folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles, can lead to acne-like red or white-headed bumps on the arms. Though it may look like acne vulgaris, folliculitis is caused by bacterial or fungal infection and, as a result, requires different treatment.

Back Acne

Back acne is often extra tricky to deal with simply because it's hard to reach.

You might notice that a build-up of sweat, oils, and dead skin cells is especially common on the back and, as a result, itchy or irritated blemishes tend to pop up.

Oily skin.
A build-up of oil and sweat on the skin, which is common on the back, can easily trigger breakouts.

Some common triggers of back acne include:

  • Sweat

  • Tight clothing or undergarments

  • Dirty or sweaty bed linens

  • Internal triggers like genetics and hormones may also come into play.

Butt Acne

Much like acne on the back, butt acne can easily be triggered by exposure to a build-up of dead skin cells or other surface grime.

If you exercise often or are otherwise very active, you might notice that you experience butt acne more often than others.

Sweat, grime, and moisture in undergarments can irritate the skin, clog the pores, or introduce bacteria into the environment that lead to acne.

Folliculitis and keratosis pilaris also commonly affect the skin on the buttocks because of its tendency to be dry, irritated, and exposed to bacteria.

Give your skin the TLC it needs by keeping it clean, dry, and allowing it to breathe. Change out of sweaty or wet clothes and undergarments as soon as possible to avoid irritation and clogged pores.

Shoulder Acne

If you sleep on your sides, wear longer-sleeved or itchy clothing, or simply are predisposed to developing acne in the area, you may experience breakouts on your shoulders more frequently than others.

Chest Acne

Also common is acne on the chest, which can also result from things like sweat, overly tight or irritating clothing, or inflammation from scratching and touching the skin.

It can be hard to allow the chest area to fully breathe and heal once it's begun to break out, but opting for loose clothing that doesn't bother the affected skin can make a big difference.

Acne and Pimples on the Neck

Acne that appears on the neck can share the same triggers as other body acne, but it may also result from exposure to cosmetics or hair products.

Jewelry, scarves, and shirts can also irritate the sensitive and delicate skin of your neck; these sorts of triggers may lead you to break out in this area.

Treating Body Acne: How to Do It & What to Use

You can treat body acne in the same way you can treat facial acne: with a deliberate and thorough skincare regimen designed to fight existing acne and prevent future breakouts.

Exposed Skin Care - Basic Kit
The Exposed Skincare Basic Kit includes all you need to fight your body acne, including products with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and more.

How to Get Rid of Back Acne and Body Acne: Ingredients to Look For

To accomplish the goal of eliminating body acne and restoring your skin to a place of vibrancy and good health, it's important to use products with ingredients that actually make a difference.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a key ingredient to look out for, as it has the ability to kill excess P. acnes bacteria without stripping or irritating the skin.

Take advantage of benzoyl peroxide and all it has to offer with our Acne Treatment Serum, which features natural ingredients alongside a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide to soothe and disinfect the skin.

Salicylic Acid

Likewise, salicylic acid is a powerful acne-fighting ingredient that's unlikely to cause side effects as it deeply cleanses the skin, absorbs excess oil, and shrinks the pores to avoid future blemishes.

Our Body Wash is formulated with salicylic acid, sage extract to prevent dryness, and pro-vitamin B5 to regulate oil production and help you cleanse your entire body of surface grime for healthier, softer skin.

Exposed body wash.
The Exposed Skincare Body Wash uses healthy and powerful acne-fighting ingredients.

Body Cloth

For an even deeper clean, try our Derm-X Body Cloth, which is designed to gently exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells, improve the appearance of body acne, and support your other body acne treatments.

By combining our body cloth and our salicylic-acid-based body wash, you will see a reduction in your acne within a month.

A. Berry before-after pictures.
A. Berry said that after using Exposed, "It's the first time I have really felt great about my skin."