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Why am i getting acne on my body? Decoding Body Acne 101

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While acne is a skin condition that we all may be familiar with at some point in our life it may leave us feeling insecure every now and then. This is not only restricted to our face but is also commonly found on other parts of our body such as the back, chest, arms and other areas. It may be easier to hide but that does not solve the problem! We are here to guide you through and hold your hand on each step along the way. Read on to find out!

How is body acne different from facial acne and what are its causes?

The basic reason for any type of acne development raises from dirt and oils being trapped in the pore. Body acne and face acne are almost the same kind and formed due to the same reasons. Since the skin found on our body is thicker than that on our faces it is more difficult to treat. The best way to target any concern is to understand its root cause to find a treatment. We have list some of the most common reasons down below:

1. Hormones

Even a tiny imbalance in your hormonal structure can have a noticeable effect on your skin. During puberty, mensuration, pregnancy your body experiences change. Our arms and back have hyperactive pores that produce thicker and oiler sweat that can be the first to show acne development on the body. 

2. Environment

Those living in moist and humid climatic conditions with high levels of pollution are more prone to body acne. City dwellers are exposed to dust, dirt, and debris that collects on the skin and blocks the pores. During winter your skin may become dry and flaky, increasing your natural response to produce more oil. This can trap the dead skin cells sticking them together in the pores.

3. Clothing

Tight fit clothes and sweaty gym wear can trap oil and dirt in the skin as well as increase fiction. This breaks the skin barriers, allowing bacteria to penetrate and cause inflammation that leads to acne. 

4. Genetics

Those with a first degree relative who had body acne have a hereditary tendency to acne or over production of sebum. This makes them prone to oily skin that can trap bacteria in pores, resulting in more frequent breakouts.

5. Hygiene

Poor cleansing habits after a long day at work or sweaty gym session increase chances of body acne. As tempting it might be to just lay around after a tiring day, waiting too long before showering may allow sweat and dust to settle in your pores. 

6. Dandruff

Dandruff is caused due the Oleic acid produced by microbes feeding on the oils produced by your scalp. This accumulates dead skin cells and drops on the surface of your back as harden flakes. Though acne and dandruff are developed due to different reasons, it is common to find many people experiencing both concerns at the same time. 

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What are the best tips to fight body acne?

1. Revamp your wardrobe

Discard those tight fitted leggings and sport bras, instead switch to more breathable materials like cotton or moisture wicking fabrics. If making such a huge change is not possible, make a gradual shift by buying one new pair at a time, maintaining an efficient post work out session and cleansing your body immediately. 

2. Cleanse your body regularly

Showering daily is essential, especially for those with oily skin. As lovely as those coconut shower gels, fragranced bar sops and colourful bath bombs might feel, they come at a price. The Petal Fresh Purifying Tea Tree Bath & Shower Gel consists of Tea Tree that is known to be a powerful alternative to popular, chemical skin treatments. Its antibacterial properties help to combat free radicals and acne.

3. Use a body scrub

Physical exfoliants are great to remove unwanted dead skin cells and dirt that accumulate on the surface of the skin. Shankara Purifying Sea Salt Scrub is infused with Neem known for its purifying and soothing effect along with Honey which acts an antioxidant to naturally keep away bacterial development. 

4. Do not skip moisturiser

Just as our face requires moisture content so does the body. Excess dryness can lead to breakouts and to avoid this focus on non-comedogenic formulations such as the Sapphire Botanics Lust Moisture Crème. This contains Camellia that absorbs quickly into the skin due to its lightweight properties and does not inflame acne as well as Pumpkin Seed known for its high Vitamin E contents to fight bacteria. 

5. Keep your hair off your back

Hair can trap heat and result in increased amounts of sweating on your back. This can aggravate acne development as your pores get blocked and is especially if hair products  such as conditioner are not rinsed off thoroughly and leave a layer of residue. It is highly recommended to those prone to dandruff. 

6. Opt for spot treatment with Tea Tree Oil

This will help to reduce acne symptoms dues to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Clay Pure Tea Tree Essential Oil is a 100% natural formulation derived by steam distillation that balances oil purifies the  skin for a healthy complexion. 

What does acne found on different body parts indicate?

Our body is a great communicator, but how do you understand what it is trying to say? Mapping the location of your acne can help you pinpoint the exact reason for its cause. Acne occurring in each zone may indicate different underlying concerns. Try to decode your body acne using this simple guide: 

Zone 1: Neck and jawline

Reasons: Overactive hormonal imbalance, excess sebum and greasy hair products.

Zone 2: Shoulders

Reasons: Friction caused due to handbags or straps and hormonal fluctuation.

Zone 3: Chest

Reasons: Tight clothing, poor diet or fungal infection that may look like acne but does not respond to the same treatment.

Zone 4: Arms

Reasons: Vitamin deficiencies (Vitamin A, D, K2).

Pro - Tip: Before to determine the cause of acne, rule out Keratosis pilaris that is often confused with acne. You will notice small spots that make the skin rough giving it goosebump like appearance.

Zone 5: Stomach

Reasons: Tight clothing and high blood sugar.

Zone 6: Pelvis

Reasons: Sweat accumulation due to the band of your pants, hygiene and ingrown hair caused from waxing or shaving.

Zone 7: Thighs and legs

Reasons: Skin sensitivity and reaction to cream, shower gel or detergents, tight clothing, ingrown hair caused from waxing or shaving and high blood sugar.

Zone 8: Back

Reasons: Sweating, poor hygiene after workouts, backpacks, tight clothing, flaky scalp and hormonal fluctuation.

This is an image of indication of acne on different body parts

What should we avoid to overcome body acne?

Dealing with acne can be tough and with the tons of advice available can overwhelm you. It’s easy to get lost with those length steps, so we have put together a list of things you simply must not do to avoid body acne:

1. Do not pick

Picking, popping or squeezing can lead to scars that will refuse to leave for all eternity. Instead use topical treatments such as Salicylic Acid or Glycolic Acid that chemically exfoliate the skin with its dirt-destroying properties. This will help to alleviate clogged pores giving you clearer and radiant looking skin.

2. Do not forget to sanitise your surroundings

 Laundry your clothes regularly, change your towel, bed sheets and clean any other material your skin comes in contact directly with.

3. Do not apply products immediately

Spot treatment and formulations such as Retinol and Benzoyl peroxide work best when applied 15 minutes after washing the body. This will make your skin less sensitive and allow you to rebalance the pH levels.

4. Do not neglect your back area

It's often hard to reach certain areas of the back, making it easy to neglect it during our shower. This may result in residues of body wash or hair product to accumulate on the surface of the skin. Using a body sponge or back scrub can help to rub off the excess dirt and residue.

5. Do not avoid sunscreen

Even though our body is covered with clothes, harmful UV rays can perpetrate through. Sunscreen helps to strengthen our skin barriers and prevent inflammation. The more your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful rays, the higher the chances of you experiencing a flare up.

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When do you visit a dermatologist?

Body acne is fairly common but if your battle with acne goes on for long and if you are unsure of what stage it is right to seek professional advice, we are here to help. This type of acne can get stubborn as the skin found on our body is thicker and oiler. It can take anywhere between a week to a month to clear out mild acne. Squeezing leads to scars that can persist for 3 to 6 months

 If you feel like you have tried everything possible and yet do not receive desired results, seek professional advice. Low to mild acne can be controlled using over the counter medications however, if it still persists dermatologists can prescribe higher doses to treat more severe forms of body acne. Your doctor is there to help you with all of your skin problems, even ones you may not know about yet.


Body acne can make us tug at clothes and feel conscious about our beautiful self. Do not let this come in the way! Taking precautions, eating health and keeping clean inside out are the simple steps you can take to overcome this concern. 

- Howrah Lookmanji



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