We all talk about acne on the face, but what about those other uncomfortable body flareups? Your back is the most common body breakout zone, but other not-so-pretty areas can become plagued by pimples and zits. "The chest, shoulders, and buttocks are familiar trouble spots," says San Diego-based dermatologist Michelle T. Pelle, M.D. We chatted with Dr. Pelle to explore this body beauty blunder and discover ways to get rid of unwanted body acne for good.
Dr. Pelle notes that all types of acne show up equally on the face and body, depending on the individuals own experience. Genetic or physical factors such as sweat and heat can trigger breakouts on parts of the body easier than on the face—and butt breakouts are perhaps the most annoying. "Acne on the buttocks often occurs from occlusion of the hair follicles when you sit for long periods at a time," says Dr. Pelle. Excess sweat, heat, and prolonged contact from your clothes can clog hair follicles, causing blemishes. "Because of the blocked follicles, there's a greater need to remove cellular and keratinaceous debris from the follicular orifices—otherwise known as pores," she clarifies.
So how do you banish the body blemishes? Dr. Pelle recommends a regimen of both physical and chemical exfoliation to reduce these pesky acne flareups. Slough off body debris in the shower with a soft plastic mesh puff, and use a sulphur-based treatment to attack your re-occurring acne zones. "The plastic puff doesn't hold onto cellular debris in the shower, and the sulphur is an anti-inflammatory and anti-biotic ingredient that inhibits bacteria growth and helps with acne on the body" asserts Dr. Pelle. She recommends either a prescription-strength cleanser such as Prascion or an over-the-counter sulphur active such as Murad's Clarifying Mask. Out of the shower, you can apply a topical astringent to problem areas such as the buttocks or chest—try Alyria Clarifying 8% Astringent and DDF Glycolic 10% Toner. "Glycolic acids change the pH of the follicle to an acidic environment that acne cannot survive in," explains Dr. Pelle. "They also reduce hyper-pigmentation and improve skin texture."
Michelle T. Pelle, M.D. is a San Diego-based Diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology who specializes in medical care for severe skin diseases, skin cancers and general dermatologic disorders. She has ten years of experience in the performance of cosmetic and laser rejuvenation procedures, and is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Medical Dermatologic Society, the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery and the San Diego Dermatologic Society.