10 things you're doing that are giving you body acne, according to dermatologists

phanasitti/ iStockThere are certain body acne triggers to be aware of.
  • Body acne can occur on the chest, back, underarms, and bottom.
  • Certain things, like not showering after working out or getting too stressed out, can trigger body acne.
  • If you have no relief with over-the-counter products such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid wash, consider seeing a dermatologist.

We all know that hormones, diet, and skin-care products play a big part in influencing those nasty breakouts that appear on your face every so often. However, you’ll definitely want to acknowledge that body acne (which can occur on the chest, back, underarms, and bottom) can be particularly stubborn, as board-certified dermatologist Dr. David Lortscher explained that some body acne cases require a course of oral antibiotics for treatment.

However, aside from seeing a dermatologist, Dr. Lortscher recommended being aware of body acne triggers, as lifestyle and dietary habits can be a big indicator of what’s actually causing it. To help you find the root behind your body acne, we spoke to some experts on the topic to help you keep those breakouts at bay once and for all.

Below are some things to keep in mind if those acne flare-ups are becoming too much to handle.


You are not showering after working out.

By MilanMarkovic78/ShutterstockBacteria can flare up on skin that’s moist and warm.

“Bacteria (one component of acne) loves moist warm skin and proliferates, causing acne flares,” said board-certified dermatologist Anna Guanche, MD.

To avoid unwanted flare-ups, she recommended showering and cooling off after workouts.


You are using testosterone gel.

Marc Bruxelle/ iStockTestosterone cream/gel can make you break out.

“Testosterone made you break out in puberty and here it is again,” Dr. Guanche said. If you are supplementing with a gel or cream, that may be the culprit, she suggested.


You are using steroids.

Evgeny Kabardi/ShutterstockSteroid cream can lead to breakouts.

“Whether you are taking them to bulk up, have eczema or psoriasis, and are using a steroid cream, you can definitely get steroid acne on your trunk from this,” Dr. Guanche said.


You are consuming whey protein.

Albina Glisic/ShutterstockWhey protein shakes can lead to truncal breakouts.

“Shakes designed to supplement or bulk up can be causing truncal breakouts,” Dr. Guanche told INSIDER.

To avoid the unwanted pimples, she recommended switching to pea protein instead.


Read more:
Here’s what protein powder you should use depending on your health goals


You are spending too much time in a hot tub.

kurhan/ShutterstockThe bacteria that can survive chlorine can cause folliculitis.

“Certain very resilient bacteria survive the chlorine in the hot tub and can cause hot-tub folliculitis,” Dr. Guanche explained.

This is a particularly intense breakout, that requires specific antibiotics, and can be pretty tender, she added.


You’re undergoing a lot of stress.

Shutterstock/TORWAISTUDIOStress produces hormones which stimulate oil glands.

“When we experience high levels of stress, hormones known as androgens are produced in higher doses,” Dr. Guanche said. These hormones stimulate your oil glands and hair follicles on the skin, which leads to breakouts, she suggested.


You are using the wrong skin-care products.

iStockMake sure your products are non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic.

“Certain skin and hair products could irritate your skin, causing excessive lubrication on the skin which results in acne breakouts,” said Dr. Alain Michon, cosmetic physician and medical director at the Ottawa Skin Clinic.

When selecting your products, he recommended ensuring that they are non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic.


You are suffering from a hormonal imbalance.

kadirkaplan/ iStockPeople go through hormonal imbalances during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.

“Unfortunately, adult acne is more common in women than men,” said Dr. Michon. This is usually due to the fact that hormones can become imbalanced throughout various stages such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.


You aren’t cleaning your sheets.

millann/ iStockYour sheets can collect skin cells, bacteria, and oil.

“Sweat, oil, and bacteria accumulate in our bedsheets with each use,” said board-certified dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD FAAD.

The oils and bacteria move around, and can sit on our body while we sleep, potentially leading to acne, she added. Wash sheets once a week, including your pillowcase, to keep dead skin cells, bacteria, and oils from worsening acne-prone skin, she recommended.


You may want to see a dermatologist if things don’t improve.

ShutterstockSeeing a dermatologist is never a bad idea.

“Some people may need to see a dermatologist if they have no relief with over-the-counter products such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid wash,” said family and emergency physician Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, MD.

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