I remember seeing a red carpet photo of Blake Lively once she was up to her Gossip Girl fame and the thought, “Oh, well, it’s not just me. It was 2009 and Lively donned a Victoria Beckham LBD, whose square neckline perfectly framed the few bright spots on her chest.
I knew these places well. These were the same ones that appeared in the photos my friends and I took with our digital cameras when we went out. (Anyone else remember dragging a real camera in their pouch?) The flash would bounce off the concealer we had sprinkled on our rashes, likely due to our generous use of self-tanner and highlights bodily. (That was the start, okay?) All of that to say, finding out that Blake Lively, too, was wrestling with Chestne was oddly heartwarming.
It turns out that body acne is actually quite common. According to Canadian Dermatology Association, acne affects between 20 and 30 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 40, and in 50 percent of cases it affects both the face and the body.
What causes acne on the body?
The phenomenon occurs when the pores become blocked and fill with sweat, hair and skin cells. “These clogged pores can inflame and cause painful acne,” says a certified dermatologist, Dr Ashley E. Sutherland MD, FRCPC. This usually happens in places where we tend to sweat, such as our chest, shoulders, back, and buttocks.
“These are areas where clothing could be tight against the skin or we could use products more likely to cause acne, including heavy creams or moisturizers,” says Sutherland. That’s why she suggests looking for lighter water-based (as opposed to oil-based) lotions that are labeled “non-comedogenic,” meaning they don’t clog pores.
The same goes for SPF. “Sunscreen is absolutely necessary in the summer,” says Sutherland, “but if you use a product that is too thick, it could block your pores and promote acne development. ”
How to get rid of body acne?
A few simple lifestyle adjustments can help a lot, especially in the summer when we usually sweat more. Sutherland recommends wearing loose, breathable clothing in hot weather. “If you’re prone to acne, this can help keep it more manageable,” she says. If you are exercising or sweating, change clothes as quickly as possible and take a shower regularly to prevent your pores from clogging.
When it comes to treating existing rashes, Sutherland says body washes that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help. You want to make sure you’re using products that are specially formulated for the body rather than making your dual-use facial products work. The skin on our face can be more sensitive, while the skin on our body is able to tolerate stronger treatments, explains the dermis.
With that said, you still want to be gentle. Resist the urge to pluck or pop your pimples. “This not only spreads the inflammation and makes the pimples more red and sore, but it can also cause permanent scarring to develop,” Sutherland warns. You should also exercise caution when it comes to exfoliation. Instead of rough scrubs, use a gentle product and don’t do it too often, says the pro. “If you shower and wash your skin regularly with a shower gel intended for acne-prone skin, you shouldn’t need to exfoliate regularly. “
Finally, if you follow all of these tips and still feel embarrassed about rashes on your body, don’t despair. There are many ways a dermatologist can help, including prescribing treatments that contain antibiotics, vitamin A, or higher concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, which are very effective against acne, says Sutherland.
And, you know, there’s always a concealer if you’re in a rush.
Buy the tips
The shower gel
Neutrogena’s Microclear technology helps push salicylic acid deep into the pores. You’ll also enjoy the invigorating grapefruit explosion, the perfect way to start the morning.
Salicylic Acid works with Hyaluronic Acid to smooth, cleanse and hydrate all at the same time. (It’s also great for keratosis pilaris, those little bumps that can appear on the back of your arms.) The fluid formula is super light and non-comedogenic.
The targeted solution
Think of it as a spot treatment for your body. The 360 degree nozzle means you no longer have to twist to reach your back or butt. You can even keep it in your gym bag and spray it after a workout when showering isn’t possible.
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