It’s summertime, which means you’re probably showing a little more skin than in the colder months. But if you have body acne, this can be an anxiety-producing time of year. The pimples, blackheads and cysts on your neck, back, and chest cause the millions of Americans with acne to suffer embarrassment when putting on a bathing suit or a sundress. If you have body acne, you might benefit from the care of a dermatologist. But there are also many things you can do for yourself to reduce the breakouts. Follow these 8 tips to beat your body acne and feel confident no matter the season.
What you wear has an impact on your acne. Opt for natural and breathable fabrics, like cotton. Stay away from nylon and wool. Keep your clothing loose-fitting so that dirt and oils aren’t trapped against your skin, causing your pores to get clogged. If you are going out and will be getting sweaty, bring an extra set of clothes so you keep your skin clear. While working out, wear loose and sweat-wicking fabric, making sure to change clothes as soon as you are done exercising.
Always shower after a workout or any other sweat-producing activity. You want to clean off the extra oils and bacteria that hang out on your body after you’ve perspired. If you can’t shower immediately after sweating, use a cleansing wipe or salicylic acid for spot treatment on your acne. And again, change your clothes. Even if you’re not engaged in strenuous activity that causes sweating, you should still shower daily to remove the dead skin cells and oils that lead to acne.
While it may seem like scrubbing and using strong soaps would help acne, these things actually irritate your skin and lead to more breakouts. Use gentle cleansers and don’t over scrub your skin. Stay away from loofahs, back scrubbers, antibacterial soaps and harsh exfoliating scrubs.
Gentle exfoliation can help clean out your pores and eliminate dead skin cells, which acne-sufferers tend to produce more of. You can use chemical exfoliating cleansers that have pore-clearing ingredients, like alpha and beta hydroxy acids, including salicylic acid, glycolic acid or lactic acid. If you use a physical exfoliant, stick with one that has super fine particles that won’t cause small abrasions on your skin.
It may seem contradictory, but completely stripping your skin of oils and moisture causes your body to overproduce oils and so cause greater problems with acne. Make sure to keep your skin moisturized. Use a lighter moisturizer that is labeled non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores), oil-free or non-acnegenic. Save thicker, greasy creams for your hands, feet and legs.
Dead skin cells and oils build up on fabrics that touch your skin. It’s important to keep your clothing, pillow cases and bedsheets clean so you aren’t rubbing dirt on your pores that will lead to further breakouts.
Some people think that sun exposure helps clear up acne. This isn’t true. UV rays can actually darken acne and prolong breakouts. Use a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen whenever you are outside, reapply every 2 hours or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating, and stay in the shade as much as you can. You can find non-comedogenic sunscreen that will not worsen your acne.
It’s so tempting to pop those whiteheads and blackheads, and it may even feel like you are helping clean out your pores. However, picking and popping makes acne worse. It opens your skin up to more bacteria and dirt and frequently causes scarring.
Don’t wear backpacks or purses or bags with shoulder straps. Just like tight clothing, straps that rub against your skin rub dirt and oil into your pores. Carry your bags and purses in your hand, or use a backpack with wheels that you can pull behind you.
Make an appointment with Vanguard Dermatology today. The board-certified dermatologists at Vanguard are experienced in a variety of skin care treatments, including acne care, skin cancer screenings and procedures and cosmetic dermatology.