Back and body acne
Information and treatment for back and body acne
Most people with facial acne have some amount of body acne as well. Body acne develops in a similar way to facial acne. However, the skin on the body can be thicker than that on the face and often has larger pores, making for more severe acne lesions at times.
Acne can develop anywhere on the body except for the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. That is because these are the only two areas which do not have sebaceous follicles where acne is formed. If you're wondering if the pus filled red marks on your check, shoulders, arms, legs, buttocks, or elsewhere are acne, chances are they just might be. If you are unsure, see a dermatologist for a diagnosis.
As with any type of acne, the exact cause of body acne remains unknown. However, we do know that irritation can make it worse. Anything that rubs against your skin can cause irritation. Damp, sweaty clothing combined with irritation tends to further aggravate acne.
- Wear breathable cotton clothing when possible. If you get sweaty, try to change your clothing when you can.
- Time your workouts so that you can shower and treat your skin using The Body Regimen afterward.
- Generally try to be aware of what might be irritating your skin in areas where you break out regularly and make changes where you can.
Don't worry too much
Our bodies are constantly in contact with various things and it is impossible to avoid irritation altogether. There is no need to obsess about avoiding irritation on the body. Rather, simply be aware of small changes you might be able to make and leave it at that. The Body Regimen should clear you up nicely and does not require you to avoid irritation altogether.
Treating body acne
The most effective topical treatment is The Body Regimen, which uses the combination of 2.5% benzoyl peroxide and 10% glycolic acid. This powerful combination can clear up even tough to treat cases of body acne. However, the process of The Body Regimen is just as important as the products. It must be followed precisely to be effective.
For severe, widespread, and potentially scarring acne, Accutane (isotretinoin) is an option. Isotretinoin is a systemic oral treatment which is taken for 15-20 weeks and produces long-term remission of acne symptoms in about 2/3 of people, but comes with a large range of side effects including causing severe birth defects, and must be administered in close partnership with your physician.21-22
Treatment must continue until your body outgrows the disease, which the majority of people do for the most degree after adolescence.16-17 Aside from Accutane (isotretinoin), there is no other oral or topical treatment for acne which produces long lasting remission of acne symptoms.18 However, ongoing treatment can get the skin completely clear and keep it that way for years if need be.
† Women of Asian heritage and men and women of African heritage can respond to some antibiotics differently – if you fit into any of these categories, check with your physician if you decide to take antibiotics for your acne.
- Titus S and Hodge J. “Diagnosis and treatment of acne.”
American Family Physician. 2012: 86(8): 734-40.
- Bataille V, et al. “The use of the twin model to investigate the genetics and epigenetics of skin diseases with genomic, transcriptomic and methylation data.”
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2012: 26(9): 1067-73.
- Kligman AM and Plewig G.
Acne and Rosacea. Berlin: Springer, 2000.
- Chen WC and Zouboulis CC. "Hormones and the pilosebaceous unit."
Dermato-Endocrinology. 2009; 1(2); 81-86.
- Gilliland K, et al. "Androgen Metabolism in Sebaceous Glands from Subjects With and Without Acne."
Archives of Dermatology. 1999; 135: 1041-1045.
- Dessinioti C and Katsambas AD. "The role of Propionibacterium acnes in acne pathogenesis: Facts and controversies."
Clinics in Dermatology. 2010; 28(1): 2-7.
- Zouboulis CC. "Propionibacterium acnes and sebaceous lipogenesis: A love-hate relationship?"
Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2009; 129(9): 2093-2096.
- Pappas A, et al. "Sebum analysis of individuals with and without acne."
Dermatoendocrinology. 2009; 1(3): 157-161.
- Tidman MJ. “Prompt treatment of acne improves quality of life.”
Practitioner. 2012: 256(1752): 15-7, 2.
- Kurtalić N, et al. “Quality-of-life of adolescents with acne vulgaris.”
Acta Medica Croatica. 2010: 64(4): 247-51.
- Alexis AF and Lamb A. "Concomitant therapy for acne in patients with skin of color: A case-based approach."
Dermatology Nursing. 2009; 21(1): 33-36.
- Shah SK and Alexis AF. "Acne in skin of color: Practical approaches to treatment."
Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 2010; 21(3):206-211.
- Taylor SC, et al. "Acne Vulgaris in Skin of Color."
Journal of American Academy of Dermatology. 2002; 46: S98-S106.
- Halder RM and Nootheti PK. "Ethnic Skin Disorders Overview."
Journal of American Academy of Dermatology. 2003; 48: 143-148.
- Davis EC and Callender VD. "A review of acne in ethnic skin: Pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and management strategies."
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2010; 3(4): 24-38.
- Cunliffe WJ, Goulden V and Stables GI. "Prevalence of Facial Acne in Adults."
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1999; 41(4): 577-80.
- Knaggs HE, et al. "Post-adolescent acne."
International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2004; 26(3): 129-38.
- Rademaker M. “Isotretinoin: dose, duration and relapse. What does 30 years of usage tell us?”
The Australasian Journal of Dermatology. 2012 Sep 26.
- Mohd NH and Aziz Z. “A systematic review of benzoyl peroxide for acne vulgaris.”
The Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 2012 Jul 25.
- Savage L and Layton A. "Treating Acne Vulgaris: Systemic, Local and Combination Therapy: Benzoyl Peroxide."
Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. 2010: 13(4): 563-580.
- Ganceviciene R and Zouboulis CC. "Isotretinoin: State of the art treatment for acne vulgaris."
Journal of the German Society of Dermatology. 2009; 8 Suppl. 1: S47-S59.
- Rademaker M. "Adverse effects of isotretinoin: A retrospective review of 1743 patients started on isotretinoin."
Australasian Journal of Dermatology. 2010; 51(4): 248-253.
- Poli F. "Acne on pigmented skin."
International Journal of Dermatology. 2007; 46(Suppl 1): 39-41.
- Yeung CK, et al. "A community-based epidemiological study of acne vulgaris in Hong Kong adolescents."
Acta-Dermato Venereologica. 2002; 82(2): 104-7.