How To Deal With Pimples On Your Back, Chest, Arms And Other Body Parts

Large Editorial Image


October 16, 2015

It’s one thing to have to fight facial acne–something many of us suffer through when we were teens–but it’s always an unexpected, unpleasant surprise to look in the mirror and find pimples on your back, arms, legs or even buttocks. Where do you even begin?

The first thing to remember if you’re suffering from body acne is that it shares a lot in common with facial acne, but has to be handled with a different level of care because it’s more difficult to treat.

“Body acne is the result of sweat mixing with the oil, impurities and bacteria on your skin, causing clogging pores and triggering breakouts,” says board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “The most common areas for these breakouts to appear are on the hairline, chest and back. Made worse by excessive sweating, rubbing of clothing and comedogenic makeup, body acne is a pesky problem for many, but there are easy steps you can take to prevent these pesky pimples.”

Here are 5 tips for dealing with body acne.

1. Shower immediately after your workout. “Bacteria thrive in moist environments,” Schlessinger says. “Even if showering isn’t an option, change out of your exercise clothes as soon as possible. Sweat easily becomes trapped inside tight-knit clothing, leading to body acne, irritation and other problems. If you can shower, wash your body with an antibacterial body wash, focusing on the back, buttocks, and chest areas. I recommend using a body wash like CLn SportWash, which contains bleach to remove acne.”

2. Wash your hands often. Washing your hands will do more than keep germs and illnesses at bay. “We touch thousands of surfaces every day, and that means coming in contact with a lot of germs,” Schlessinger says. “Touching your neck, arms, or back can transfer these bacteria to other parts of your body, causing acne. To avoid spreading germs and bacteria, wash your hands frequently.”

3.  Go for an up-do. After your fun night is over, consider tying your hair up to prevent break-outs. “Put your hair up in a ponytail or braid to keep it off your face, neck and back,” Schlessinger says. “This is especially important if you use styling products in your hair as these can transfer to skin and cause breakouts.”

4. Exfoliate. Removing dead skin cells will help prevent clogged pores, which lead to breakouts. “Regular exfoliation and nourishing products should be applied all over the body, including your scalp,” says certified health coach and skin specialist Diana Ralys. “It is important not to use products that are clogging–some people think that the heavier the cream or oil is the more moisturizing it is, but this can be quite the opposite. The thinner the oil the better chance it has of getting deeper in the skin layers to moisturize from the inside out.” Ralys recommends the following products for body acne: Blemish Cleanser, Blemish Toner, Blemish Microfoliant (limited edition with activated charcoal would be best), and Body Nutrients Oil.

5. Visit a dermatologist. If stubborn body acne continues to torture you, the best thing you can do is visit a dermatologist to find out if there’s a condition causing your skin problems. Your doctor can suggest a mild topical treatment like Neutrogena Body Clear® Body Wash if your condition is mild or a strong prescription gel, such as Epiduo®, or Tazorac ®, if it’s serious, says  Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy, M.D. of the Miami Skin Institute. “If the back acne or chest acne is severe, I tell the patient to first get a full hormonal blood work done, then based on the results, I will refer them to a gynecologist or endocrinologist if there are any abnormalities. Usually this fixes the problem,” Jegasothy says. “If the patient’s hormonal blood levels are normal, then she probably needs a short course of oral prescription Spironolactone or for severe cases, oral Isotretinoin. Occasionally, some women improve a great deal simply with oral contraceptive. With body acne, the diagnosis can often be tricky, as there are many other conditions that mimic acne on the body. So everyone, men or women alike, should see a board-certified dermatologist for treatment of any and all body acne.”

For more beauty tips, check out 6 Amazing skincare brands you’ve never heard of and 10 At-home remedies to try when zits pop up out of nowhere.

 

Shop neutrogena clear

More neutrogena clear | 3 of 92 »

Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Sunblock by

Neutrogena

Buy Now

Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Sunblock SPF 55 by

Neutrogena

Buy Now

Clear Pore Skin Cleanser/Mask by

Neutrogena

Buy Now




  • Sale Alert! The Best-Selling Tarte Shape Tape Concealers Are 25% Off Right Now

    Sale Alert! The Best-Selling Tarte Shape Tape Concealers Are 25% Off Right Now

    Beauty

    today

  • Use Our Exclusive Promo Code To Score The Best Rain Boots Ever For 20% Off

    Use Our Exclusive Promo Code To Score The Best Rain Boots Ever For 20% Off

    Style

    today

  • 5 Things You Need To Know About Nordstrom's Return Policy

    5 Things You Need To Know About Nordstrom's Return Policy

    Shop

    today

  • This eBay Hack Will Help You Get Some Serious $$ From Your Old Purses

    This eBay Hack Will Help You Get Some Serious $$ From Your Old Purses

    1 day

  • Drop Everything--These Are The New Launches Our Editors Are Shopping Now

    Expect To See A LOT Of This Hat In Your Social Feeds

    Shop

    1 day

  • Gift Alert! All The Beauty Products Our Editors Want This Year

    Gift Alert! All The Beauty Products Our Editors Want This Year

    Beauty

    1 day

  • These Are The Best Collaborations You <em>Need</em> To Know About Now

    Style Bloggers Love This 'Elevated Athleisure' Line That Dropped TODAY

    Shop

    1 day

  • Today Only! Get A Best-Selling tarte Mascara For Just $10

    Today Only! Get A Best-Selling tarte Mascara For Just $10

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Molton Brown's New Russian Leather Scent Smells Like Everything You Love About Fall

    Molton Brown's New Russian Leather Scent Smells Like Everything You Love About Fall

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Meet Shelley Gibbs Sanders, The Pioneering Designer Behind Everyone's Current Jewelry Obsession, The Last Line

    Meet Shelley Gibbs Sanders, The Designer Behind Everyone's Current Jewelry Obsession, The Last Line

    Style

    1 day

  • This Is The One Body Lotion You <em>Need</em> Before Winter

    This Is The One Body Lotion You Need Before Winter

    Beauty

    1 day

  • These Are The Jeans Every Editor Wants This Year

    These Are The Jeans Every Editor Wants This Year

    Style

    1 day

  • I Tried Dr. Brandt's Best Selling Magnetic Mask And It Worked Wonders On My Skin

    I Tried Dr. Brandt's Best Selling Magnetic Mask And It Worked Wonders On My Skin

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Psst! Dermstore Is Having A Huge Sitewide Sale And This Cult Mascara Is <em>So</em> Cheap

    Psst! Dermstore Is Having A Huge Sitewide Sale And This Cult Mascara Is So Cheap

    Beauty

    2 days

  • The Fenty Galaxy Collection Is Here & It's Nothing Like We Expected!

    The Fenty Galaxy Collection Is Here & It's Nothing Like We Expected!

    Beauty

    3 days

  • You <em>Need</em> This $38 Sweater Dress From Nordstrom In Your Closet For Fall

    You Need This $38 Sweater Dress From Nordstrom In Your Closet For Fall

    Style

    4 days

  • Beauty Products Our Editors Are Obsessed With--And You Will Be, Too

    This Is The Only Shampoo & Conditioner For Curly Hair That Doesn't Leave Mine Feeling Greasy

    Beauty

    4 days

  • Shop Gorgeous 14K Gold Jewelry At AUrate With Our Exclusive Promo Code

    Shop Gorgeous 14K Gold Jewelry At AUrate With Our Exclusive Promo Code

    Style

    4 days

  • 3 Arbonne Products Every Woman Should Own

    3 Arbonne Products Every Woman Should Own

    Beauty

    4 days

  • These $39 Leather Booties Are Perfect For This Hot/Cold In-Between Weather

    These $39 Leather Booties Are Perfect For This Hot/Cold In-Between Weather

    Style

    4 days

  • The One Pair Of Leggings Every One Is Buying From Target Right Now

    The One Pair Of Leggings Every One Is Buying From Target Right Now

    Style

    4 days

  • Nordstrom Shoppers LOVE These $39 Black Jeans

    Nordstrom Shoppers LOVE These $39 Black Jeans

    Style

    5 days

  • This Is The Camel Peacoat EVERY Woman Needs For Winter (Bonus: It's Only $37!)

    This Is The Camel Peacoat EVERY Woman Needs For Winter (Bonus: It's Only $37!)

    Style

    5 days

  • Coach Is Changing Its Name & People Are Not Happy About It

    Coach Is Changing Its Name & People Are Not Happy About It

    Style

    5 days

  • Hands Down, These Are The Best White Boots Under $100

    Hands Down, These Are The Best White Boots Under $100

    Style

    5 days

  • How To DIY An Evolution Of Taylor Swift Halloween Costume

    How To DIY An Evolution Of Taylor Swift Halloween Costume

    Style

    5 days

  • Here's How To DIY Those Super Trendy Mermaid Lashes That Are All Over Instagram

    Here's How To DIY Those Super Trendy Mermaid Lashes That Are All Over Instagram

    Beauty

    6 days

  • Meghan Markle's Favorite Flats Are So Chic They'll Make You Feel Like A Royal

    Meghan Markle's Favorite Flats Are So Chic They'll Make You Feel Like A Royal

    Style

    6 days

  • Taco Bell's Forever 21 Collection Is Here & It's Fire

    Taco Bell's Forever 21 Collection Is Here & It's Fire

    6 days

  • This Season’s Hottest Haircut Is Totally Unexpected (It's Out Of This World!)

    This Season’s Hottest Haircut Is Totally Unexpected (It's Out Of This World!)

    Beauty

    6 days

  • 5 Lululemon Dupes That Look Great And Will Save You Money

    5 Lululemon Dupes That Look Great And Will Save You Money

    Style

    6 days

  • Can You Spot Khloe's Baby Bump In This KUWTK Christmas Special Photo?

    Can You Spot Khloe's Baby Bump In This KUWTK Christmas Special Photo?

    Celebrity

    today

  • Here's Why Nicole Kidman Never Talks About Her Two Other Children

    Here's Why Nicole Kidman Never Talks About Her Two Other Children

    Celebrity

    today

  • The One Skincare Habit That’s Aging You, According to a Dermatologist

    The One Skincare Habit That’s Aging You, According to a Dermatologist

    Beauty

    today

  • The One Drugstore Eye Cream You Should Stop Using, According To A Dermatologist

    The One Drugstore Eye Cream You Should Stop Using, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    today

  • Did Kylie Jenner Just Accidentally Confirm Her Pregnancy? Her Latest Snapchat Makes Us Think So!

    Did Kylie Jenner Just Accidentally Confirm Her Pregnancy? Her Latest Snapchat Makes Us Think So!

    Celebrity

    1 day

  • 7 Beauty Products You Didn’t Know You Could Buy At Target

    7 Beauty Products You Didn’t Know You Could Buy At Target

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Joe Jonas Got Engaged & Jonas Brothers Fans Are Not Happy About It

    Joe Jonas Got Engaged & Jonas Brothers Fans Are Not Happy About It

    Celebrity

    1 day

  • How To Top The Charts With A DIY Cardi B Halloween Costume This Year

    How To Top The Charts With A DIY Cardi B Halloween Costume This Year

    Style

    1 day

  • The One Protein You Should Try This Week For Your Hair, Skin & Nails

    The One Protein You Should Try This Week For Your Hair, Skin & Nails

    Beauty

    1 day

  • The One Drugstore Product You Should Try This Week For Your Hair, Skin & Nails

    The One Drugstore Product You Should Try This Week For Your Hair, Skin & Nails

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Your Go-To List For The Funniest Meme Halloween Costumes This Year

    Your Go-To List For The Funniest Meme Halloween Costumes This Year

    Style

    3 days

  • The Ultimate Guide To The Best Pop Culture Halloween Costumes This Year

    The Ultimate Guide To The Best Pop Culture Halloween Costumes This Year

    Style

    4 days

  • 5 Hacks That Will Forever Change The Way You Shop At Lush

    5 Hacks That Will Forever Change The Way You Shop At Lush

    Beauty

    4 days

  • These Are The Best Supplements For Your Hair Skin & Nails, According To A Beauty Expert

    These Are The Best Supplements For Your Hair Skin & Nails, According To A Beauty Expert

    Beauty

    4 days

  • People Can't Tell If These Shoes Are Pink Or Teal & We Don't Know Either

    People Can't Tell If These Shoes Are Pink Or Teal & We Don't Know Either

    Style

    4 days

  • How To DIY A Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez Couple's Costume

    How To DIY A Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez Couple's Costume

    Style

    4 days

  • Jennifer Aniston Just Announced Something MAJOR & We're Freaking Out!

    Jennifer Aniston Just Announced Something MAJOR & We're Freaking Out!

    Celebrity

    4 days

  • Is Kourtney Kardashian's Baby Bump Already Showing?! These Pics Make Us Think So!

    Is Kourtney Kardashian's Baby Bump Already Showing?! These Pics Make Us Think So!

    Celebrity

    4 days

  • How To DIY Will & Grace Halloween Costumes For Every Character

    How To DIY Will & Grace Halloween Costumes For Every Character

    4 days

  • 6 Diets Celebrities Swear By To Get A Flat Stomach

    6 Diets Celebrities Swear By To Get A Flat Stomach

    Celebrity

    4 days

  • The One Drugstore Product You Should Stop Using For Your Hair, Skin & Nails, According To A Dermatologist

    The One Drugstore Product You Should Stop Using For Your Hair, Skin & Nails, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    4 days

  • Blake Lively Just Chopped All Her Hair Off & We Hardly Recognized Her!

    Blake Lively Just Chopped All Her Hair Off & We Hardly Recognized Her!

    Beauty

    5 days