As if getting a huge breakout right on our face isn't bad enough, our skin sometimes has to take it a step further and plague us with absolutely brutal body acne. While we can usually hide it in the colder months, summer can be a real burden when your back and chest are a full-on constellation. While hormones and genetics are sometimes to blame, we recently learned that there are common culprits that can conjure up a body breakout faster than we'd like (but do we ever like to break out?). Dermatologists Dr. Rick Mizuguchi and Dr. Julie Russack as well as celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau weigh in on this blemish dilemma.
Scroll through to read what they had to say!
Have you ever noticed breakouts on the sides of your back, right near where your bra straps lie? Mizuguchi says rubbing from bra straps can cause something called "friction acne." The sweat trapped under this area causes pores to be clogged, thus leading to breakouts. This is especially true with workout gear—skipping a shower after your daily sweat session is a big mistake: "It is important for people who work out to shower immediately, and in general, showering daily and cleansing is good for acne," he explains.
While it feels like a simple luxury to pour a bit of fabric softener into the wash, it turns out our skin may not find it as luxurious: "Fabric softeners have many chemicals that could irritate the skin," says Russack. Try skipping it your next few laundry days to see if it makes a difference.
Do you often spritz perfume directly onto your neck and chest? That could be the reason you have breakouts in those areas. According to Russack, perfume is made up of many different pore-clogging oils that can inflame the skin.
Mizuguchi gave a list of comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients to look out for in the beauty products we put on our bodies (get ready—they're a real mouthful): isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate, butyl stearate, isopropyl isostearate, decyl oleate, isostearyl neopentanoate, isocetyl stearate, myristle myristate, cocoa butter, acetylated lanolin, and D & C red dyes.
Not thoroughly rinsing your back after using your conditioner could be a major culprit for body acne, says Russack. Conditioner is often filled with petroleum byproducts that can clog pores if left on the skin. Take the extra time to let the water run down your back and remove as much residual product as possible.
"Avoid dairy products if your skin is prone to breakouts. Many people have heard that greasy foods and chocolate cause breakouts. Try cutting out cheese, milk, ice cream, and frozen yogurt and watch your skin clear up! Also, try Renee Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment ($43) for a quicker recovery from stubborn cystic breakouts," says Rouleau.
Rouleau also says that the growing trend of putting a heavy hand cream on before bed could be causing breakouts on your skin, especially if you sleep with your hands near your neck and face. Her solution? Cotton gloves.
"More studies seem to find that drying the skin too much causes acne, so hydration is very important with noncomedogenic moisturizers like CeraVe ($13)," says Mizuguchi.
What have you found to be a great solution for body acne? Please share in the comments!
Opening Image: Gilles Bensimon for Glamour