Most people look forward to summer because of the hot weather and lazy days hanging in the pool or lake.
But not if you have body acne.
If you suffer from body acne, summer is just another reminder of the big, red pimples all over your arms, back, chest and neck. So the last thing you want to do is wear a bikini or tank top.
Since covering it up isn’t an option in the summer, let’s dive into why it happens and how you can fix it so you can confidently wear that bikini.
Body acne is exactly what it sounds like– acne on the body. And it’s more common than you think. Up to 50 percent of facial acne sufferers also have body acne, usually popping up on the ears, neck, chest, upper arms, back and butt.
While facial acne ranges from cysts, pimples, whiteheads and blackheads. Body acne, on the other hand, only appears as cysts, pimples and whiteheads but usually no blackheads.
Even though facial and body acne may look different, they both have similar contributing factors.
To start off, hormonal imbalances can play a big role in the development of acne anywhere on the body. For example, chronically elevated blood sugar levels can increase the production of androgen hormones. Excess androgen hormones promote more sebum (oil), which results in clogged pores and then inflammatory acne. Consistently high insulin levels can also decrease sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). When your SHBG levels are too low, it can lead to symptoms of estrogen dominance like acne and PMS.
Another underlying factor of facial and body acne is a sluggish lymphatic system. Put simply, there are a number of lymph nodes located in the ear, jaw and neck area. If there is stagnation in the lymphatic system, though, toxin-filled lymph can accumulate around those lymph nodes in the ear, jaw and neck area leading to breakouts.
Systemic inflammation can also lead to acne on the face or body. One of the most common reasons for systemic inflammation is intestinal permeability (a.k.a leaky gut). When irritants like medications, the birth control pill and chemicals enter the gut, they can damage the cells that line the small intestine leaving a hole. This allows undigested food particles and toxins to get into the bloodstream. Since the majority of the immune system resides in the gut, leaky gut can spark an immune response and inflammation throughout the body and this inflammation can result in acne.
Other factors of body acne include allergic reactions, sweating while wearing tight-fitting clothes or a breakout on your legs after shaving.
No matter the reason for your body acne, there are several things you can do to help clear it up. Here are some ways to tackle it:
The glycemic index is a measurement of how quickly foods raise your blood glucose after eating them. High glycemic index foods like white bread, muffins and pastries tend to spike your blood sugar levels quickly. As I mentioned early, chronically elevated blood glucose levels can worsen acne. Low glycemic index foods, on the other hand, promote stable blood sugar levels. Try to focus on low GI foods such as leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables and most fruits.
While there is no one “ideal diet” for everyone, an anti-inflammatory diet is the most effective for reducing inflammation and clearing the skin. This includes whole foods like avocados, beets, berries and cacao, among others.
In order to identify deeper underlying factors such as a sluggish lymphatic system or hormonal imbalances, it’s best to work with an experienced practitioner. Consider joining us in The Clear Skin Solution. You’ll have access to myself and my team of acne experts.
Dry brushing removes dead skin cells, stimulates the lymphatic system, boosts blood circulation, and helps flush those nasty toxins. Click here for a step-by-step breakdown on how to dry brush.
Instead of tight-fitting workout clothes, opt for loose, moisture-wicking fabrics. These can help reduce body acne because they move sweat away from the skin, which keeps clothing and the skin dry.
As soon as you finish your workout, hop in the shower to get rid of the sweat, dirt and oil on the skin that can clog your pores and lead to acne.
One of my favourite personal care products is BeautyCounter’s charcoal body bar. Charcoal cleanses the skin, unclogs pores, and washes away impurities and dead skin cells.
African black soap, aloe, neem leaf, shea butter and tea tree oil are all examples of antibacterial ingredients that can kill various strains of acne-promoting bacteria.
Want to go more in-depth?
Listen to our podcast episode “5-Steps to Acne-Free Skin” here!