Acne can be a huge pain – especially when it’s on your body. If you’re struggling with body acne (also known as folliculitis), keep in mind that you’re not alone, said New York-based dermatologist Susan Bard. “It’s very common,” she told INSIDER. “Most people will experience some form of folliculitis in their lifetime.”
So where does it come from? Tennessee-based dermatologist Carley Fowler told INSIDER that it can be caused by many different things. “Body acne can be caused by a combination of bacteria, hormones, and genetics,” she said.
Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York, added that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get rid of. “More recently, we are seeing a resistant form, referred to as ‘hot yoga acne,’ by many dermatologists,” he told INSIDER. “It’s actually caused by a yeast called pityrosporum and is generally seen in patients wearing tight workout clothes who don’t shower immediately after classes.”
Bhanusali’s number one tip is to make sure that you’re washing off right after any workout. But maybe that isn’t enough. After all, body acne can be really challenging to treat, said Marisa Garshick, a New York-based dermatologist. “The skin on the body is thicker than that on the face, making it harder for topical treatments to penetrate the skin,” she told INSIDER.
The good news? There are products out there that can help clear up your skin. INSIDER spoke to board-certified dermatologists to find out what they are.
Medicated body wash can fight bacteria that causes acne.
The most popular suggestion was to use an over-the-counter body wash that has benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid in it. “Using a bactericidal wash, such as one with 10% benzoyl peroxide, daily in the shower can help to kill bacteria and reduce the number of breakouts,” said Jennifer Channual, a dermatologist in California. Need a recommendation? One of the top picks among the dermatologists was Panoxyl (but almost any over-the-counter medicated body wash will do). Fowler added that you should let it sit on your skin for five minutes before washing it off.
If you’re struggling with post-workout zits, Bhanusali reccomends using something extra. “For these patients, products like Dove’s anti-dandruff shampoo (which has pyrithione zinc) work amazingly,” he said. But any product with that magic ingredient will be able to help clear your skin up, too.
Glycolic or salicylic acid pads are perfect when you’re on the go.
Looking for an on-the-go option? Olubusayo Obayan, a dermatologist in Texas, told INSIDER that pads infused with glycolic acid or salicylic acid are a great option. All you have to do is swipe them across your body, and the medication will help zap the bacteria from your skin.
Plus, they’re travel-friendly and disposable. “I love glycolic and salicylic acid pads for body acne,” he said. “My athletes, dancers, and other clients who are on the go can just throw them in a bag and use them after a workout. You can find a lot of affordable products on amazon or your local dermatology clinic.”
Medicated body spray offers a quick and easy fix.
If you’re looking for an easy application, consider using a body spray that’s infused with acne medication. Garshick recommended looking for a product that has salicylic acid in it.
It’s extremely easy to use: Just spray it onto clean, dry skin. It will kill the pesky acne-causing bacteria on your body.
Differin is a great treatment option.
For a more targeted approach, Florida-based dermatologist Matthew Ellias told INSIDER that there is a powerful over-the-counter medication that could help.
“Differin was up until recently a prescription retinoid and is now over the counter -making it accessible to everyone,” Ellias said. ” A small amount goes a long way, and it will get rid of those pesky blackheads, whiteheads, and pustules.”
Like other heavy-duty retinoids, Differin may make your skin sensitive to the sun. Avoid exposing your treated skin to the sun and be sure to wear SPF.
Moisturizer is crucial.
If you’re using a drying product to kill acne-causing bacteria on your body, don’t forget to replenish your skin’s moisture. When your skin gets too dry, it will only get more irritated and may even start producing extra oil to compensate for the dehydration.
Bhanusali reccomends using a ligher product, like a body oil, in the summer and a thicker cream in the winter.
You might want to go to a dermatologist and get prescription medication.
If you’ve tried these options and your acne still hasn’t cleared up, it may be time to see a dermatologist.
“If the body acne isn’t going away with at-home treatments, we recommend seeing a board-certified dermatologist who can help by recommending prescription medications such as retinoids, topical antibiotics, oral medications or chemical peels,” Garshick said.
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