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Body Acne

Body acne is an embarrassing and distressing skin condition - acne which spreads onto the shoulders, back, trunk and even buttocks in some cases. Body acne can be in the form of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, redness and inflammation around skin eruptions, etc. Acne is caused when extra sebum is produced by the sebaceous gland, clogs the pores on the skin, attracting bacteria, debris which produces the inflamed lesions called acne. Severity of body acne can vary from mild breakouts to large, painful lesions. Body acne can result in both physical and emotional distress in individuals.

Mostly it can be attributed to overproduction of the sebaceous glands around puberty or during other times when our body experiences significant hormonal changes. Other factors that may result in body acne are –

  • Perspiration
  • Tight clothing, or clothing that doesn’t breathe well
  • Backpacks - irritation in areas where the strap presses against the back and shoulders
  • Genetic predisposition- acne runs in the family
  • Certain drugs (such as steroids, testosterone, estrogen, phenytoin)

How to get rid of body acne –

  • Strict personal hygiene like daily wash with mild soap
  • Shower as soon as possible after activities that result in perspiration
  • Use of over-the-counter medicines like body acne wash, which contain benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid.

There are many acne body wash products available in the market; most of them containing one of the above two ingredients. The way benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid body wash works is that they dry up the cell, stop oil production, thus resulting in peeling of the skin. Therefore, it is always a good idea to follow their use with an alpha hydroxy acid-based body moisturizer.

If your body acne is stubborn and persists inspite of this, then consult your dermatologist for using prescription-based medicines. These include -

  • Oral antibiotics like tetracycline, minocycline.
  • Skin applications like clindamycin or erythromycin
  • Retinoids such as retin-A
  • Accutane - very effective for facial acne, and prescribed in a higher dose to get rid of body acne.

Body acne can also result in scars. Most of body acne is in the form of cysts; very often cysts may burst, bleed and form scabs. It is important not to pinch them, or pick then off as they leave scars. There are some treatment options available for removing the scars. These include:

  • Micro pigmentation
  • Scalpel Excision
  • Subcision
  • Skin needling
  • Isolagen
  • Laser treatments

It is important to get well-informed information from a medical professional regarding your acne, as treatment varies basis the severity and more often the effectiveness of a course of treatment may be seen over 4-6 weeks.