While we tend to think of acne as appearing on the face, this is not the only place that acne occurs.
Acne can also affect other places on the body such as the back, chest, neck, shoulders and upper arms. Acne on these body areas are more common in males than females. It is both more common and more severe in males, often spreading to the body from the face. You are not usually going to have body acne without the existence of face acne as well.
Body acne is caused by those same factors that trigger acne in the face, namely over active oil glands, excess dead skin cells and other debris as well as multiplying bacteria once the pores are clogged. The oil and the dead skin cells and debris become trapped within the skin pore, cause a blockage and leave an open invitation for bacteria to invade. Blackheads, pimples and worse are the result.
Body acne is usually confined to the back and upper torso because they have more sebaceous glands per square inch. While the presence of clothing on the body does not cause body acne, it can aggravate it by chaffing and irritating the existing outbreak. If you have body acne, it is best to avoid clothing and collars that are too tight, backpacks, book bags and certain sports equipment. Sweat is another source of irritation either from the clothing and equipment already mentioned, from exercise or just in general. If you are feeling sweaty, have a gentle shower with warm water and a natural soap so that you are cleansing while avoiding any rubbing or scrubbing.
Just as facial acne can cause embarrassment and low self esteem to the sufferer, so can body acne particularly back acne because it is frequently more severe than acne on the face with pus-filled nodules and cysts. Men with back acne will often avoid taking off their shirts or stay away from those recreations that require them to strip down because of embarrassment. It can be especially difficult for teens with body acne when they have to undress in school locker rooms.
Another disadvantage of body acne is its tendency to scar, sometimes deeply. The more inflamed the body acne is, the higher the likelihood of developing scars.
Although the use of OTC medications, prescription drugs and natural treatments like H-Acne Formula from Healing Natural Oils can all be used on back acne, the actual care of the skin when back acne is involved can differ from that of facial acne. Here are some ways to help you cope with back acne:
- Use a mild and gentle fragrant-free soap (preferably natural) to clean the skin.
- Be careful not to use any loofahs, body brushes or body scrubs when cleaning the body if affected with acne because any rubbing or scrubbing will worsen the inflammation of the pores and lead to breakouts. Rather use a soft cloth or your hands.
- Instead of your usual shower, try soaking in a warm bath as this loosens dead skin cells, gets rid of unwanted debris and keep the pores open and clear. A cup of Epsom salts or a cup of sea salt is also helpful for any healing process but particularly for inflamed acne. Keep the acne-affected areas under the bath water for a good 20 minutes for maximum benefit. Dry carefully and gently with a clean towel. Again no rubbing or scrubbing.
- After the cleaning ritual which should take place twice a day, you can apply your choice of topical medication or treatment.
- Dress in loose clothing made of natural fibers such as cotton so that the skin is not irritated.