Let’s face it: a pimple (or six) on the face is just a part of life. We’ve come to expect the occasional breakout and we’re prepared for it. But when those offensive blemishes make their way south of the chin, not only is it surprising but sometimes it can be downright annoying, embarrassing and irritating.
There are more than a few culprits to the cause of body acne as well as a few solutions, so we reached out to one of our favorite experts on the subject, Dr Katie Rodan, a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Proactiv/Proactiv +. Here’s what she had to say about banishing body acne:
What is the main cause of body acne?
Acne, regardless of the location on your body, is caused by your genetics and your hormones.
Are some people more prone to body acne than others?
Yes, people who engage in a lot of physical activity are more prone to get it, especially when the activity involves athletic gear, like shoulder pads or tightly-fitted Lycra (non-breathable) clothing during activities like cycling. These items trap heat and moisture while creating friction against the skin, which is the perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to feed, breed, and multiply.
How common is this condition?
From my clinical experience, I believe approximately 30-40% of my acne patients battle breakouts on their body in addition to their face.
What can be done to treat body acne at home? Are there products and/or procedures you can recommend?
First, I tell my patients never to “stew in your own sweat.” Immediately after a workout, it’s important to shower and cleanse with a salicylic acid-medicated body wash. If you can’t shower right away, wipe the sweat and grime away with either a prescription topical antibiotic (clindamycin) or non-prescription pads medicated with salicylic and glycolic acids. Because these pads generally come packaged in jars, I suggest slipping a few into a resealable plastic to use post-exercise. The prescription product is Cleocin, and the non-prescription medicated products include the Proactiv Deep Cleansing Wash and Clear Zone Body Pads.
Is there anything diet-related that body acne sufferers can adjust so their symptoms are abated?
There is no definitive link between diet and acne. That said, recent medical studies suggest that high glycemic index foods including skim milk, pasta, candies, dessert, etc. may cause acne to flare up and are best ingested in moderation.
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