Let’s talk about something that makes us all a little uncomfortable: body acne and the best body washes you can use to combat it.
Even though as teenagers we’re told that acne is a thing we grow out of, it never really goes away. It just becomes more manageable.
And, of course, seeing a dermatologist for facial acne is always an option, as well.
But, here’s something you may not know: if you’re prone to breakouts on your face you’re probably just as prone to getting blemishes on your back or other parts of your body.
Basically, wherever you have oil-producing glands, you can get acne. Pores clog with oil, bacteria, and dead skin and create pimples and zits. It’s important to use the right ingredients to combat your breakouts.
Whether you get zits on your back after a workout or you get the occasional breakout on your arm (hey, it happens), we have compiled a list of the best body washes for your acne prone skin below!
The 10 Best Body Washes for Acne Prone Skin:
A great way to combat acne, both on your face and on your body, is with salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid. BHAs work on the skin’s surface and inside the pore. It’s a wonderful exfoliator that’s both gentle and deeply cleansing.
Neutrogena’s Body Clear Acne Treatment uses salicylic acid and Neutrogena’s Microclear technology to exfoliate the skin and clean out the pores. The lathering body wash also contains grapefruit extract and naturally derived Vitamin C to brighten the skin. The wash treats and helps prevent breakouts, all without over-drying the skin!
This 32-ounce bottle of Dr. Bronner’s is a cult favorite. It lasts forever and is 100 percent vegan, making it free of potentially irritating ingredients. The product is very concentrated so to use it, all you have to do is mix a few drips of the soap with water to get a very sudsy lather going that will cleanse your entire upper body.
The soap itself relies on hemp, olive, and coconut oils to make your skin feel soft and hydrated. But don’t worry, it’s still a cleansing formula that will help to fight acne causing bacteria. This particular version of the Dr. Bronner’s castile soap is beautifully scented with rose. It’s floral, sweet, and fresh.
If you’re concerned with the environment, you’ll be glad to know that the soap is biodegradable and comes in 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic bottles. Dr. Bronner’s is committed to environmental protection, ethical sourcing, and fair- trade practices.
Just as with the Neutrogena body wash, this is an exfoliating formula. Exfoliators work double duty, cleansing the skin while simultaneously helping to get rid of dead skin that might contribute to forming acne.
The 5 Elements 2% Glycolic Acid and Coconut Cleaner is made using only five natural ingredients that are effective at getting rid of acne, brightening the skin’s tone, and helping to get rid of the hyperpigmentation and dark spots that break outs leave behind in their wake.
Unlike salicylic acid, which is a BHA, glycolics are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). AHAs target the skin’s surface to clear impurities on the outer layer of dermis.
This particular wash is gentle on sensitive skin because it contains moisturizing elements taken from coconut and Sclerotium Gum, a mushroom derived ingredient that creates a protective barrier on the skin.
Just as you may get hormonal breakouts on your face during your menstrual cycle, it’s not uncommon to get hormonal acne on your body. This kind of acne is best and most easily treated with salicylic acid. Salicylics are great for rough and bumpy skin, which this wash is specifically made for!
This wash targets the lower layers of your dermis and exfoliates it to reveal smoother, rejuvenated skin. Many salicylic formulas can be drying but CeraVe is actually made for people with sensitive skin and it’s safe for every day use. CeraVe is formulated with three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) that help to restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier.
When you have acne prone skin, it can be very tempting to pop and pick at your breakouts. Unfortunately, that’s very unhygienic and can even cause further damage to the skin. If you’re prone to picking, it may be wise to select an acne cleanser that has disinfecting qualities.
Essential Oil Labs’ Tea Tree Oil Body Wash contains a natural acne-fighter that’s also a disinfectant: tea tree oil! While you may not want to use tea tree oil without diluting it (it can cause a burn if you aren’t careful), when used correctly it packs quite the punch.
It’s antibacterial, antifungal, and helps keep and self-inflicted acne-related injuries clean and sterile. Plus, this wash contains coconut oil and shea butter that make this cleanser gentle enough for daily use.
Related: Check our article about tea tree oil shampoos!
The Murad Acne Body Wash is unique in that it features both glycolic and salicylic acids that work together to penetrate and clean your pores to help eliminate breakouts and soothe irritated skin. AHAs and BHAs work together to clean pores while simultaneously exfoliate.
This body wash helps to reduce acne and breakouts and prevents future breakouts from occurring. The formula features date seed powder in combination with glycolic acid to exfoliate pore clogging oil, dirt, and dead skin cells.
After using such powerful ingredients, you’ll want to avoid drying out your skin. Enter the next dream team in this unique formula; green tea and licorice root extracts soothe irritated, red skin.
Alba is a long-loved vegetarian and environmentally friendly brand that specializes in catering to those with sensitive skin.
The Alba Botanica ACNEdote scrub can be used for both your face and body. It’s made with 2% salicylic acid and willow bark making it a powerful astringent that treats and prevents acne and breakouts. The formula features parsley extract and witch hazel which calm the skin, leaving you with clear and smooth skin, free of irritation.
This body wash is another great option for people who want a more natural alternative. Detoxifying activated charcoal is seemingly everywhere these days, and now it’s in a great body wash!
The Chic Republic Natural Body Wash uses coconut derived charcoal to pull toxins from your skin, clearing clogged pores. White lava volcanic minerals further exfoliate dead skin cells to reveal smooth, clean skin.
The body wash also features aloe vera extract, so your skin will receive an infusion of moisture. The formula of this body wash is 95% natural, making this a great choice if you have sensitive skin.
The SAL3 soap bar is a no-nonsense product that provides keratolytic, antifungal, and antiseptic benefits. The bar of soap lowers the pH of your skin’s surface while improving overall hydration and helping you retain moisture, as well.
The benefit of a bar soap is that it’s convenient to use on your neck, back, arms, and anywhere else you may be experiencing a breakout. The soap’s salicylic acid, derived from the inner bark of the white willow tree, acts as a comedolytic agent by causing skin cells to shed more quickly, unclogging blocked pores and neutralizing bacteria.
Besides acne, this soap can also be used for rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and more!
Another bar soap on our list is the Noble Formula zinc bar. Zinc provides antifungal and antibacterial benefits while the soap’s antioxidant rich formula of olive oil and emu oil relieves itching, redness, flaking, and irritation. The soap bar also features exfoliating milled oats, so you can help your skin along in the shedding process.
A rather uncommon ingredient featured in this product is, of course, the emu oil. Emu Oil is a traditional Australian aboriginal treatment.
When applied to the skin, it exhibits anti-inflammatory benefits, eases swelling, and relieves the irritating effects of psoriasis and particularly bad breakouts. Unfortunately, this ingredient makes this bar non-vegan, but the vegan bar contains cocoa butter which can cause breakouts.
Wondering how else you can prevent and fight body acne?
- Don’t use a rag or a loofah in the shower- Wash rags and loofahs are notorious for breeding bacteria, which is certainly not helpful when you’re trying to rid yourself of acne. Use your hands to suds up your soap, instead!
- Keep your hair off your back- Hair products like conditioners and masks are wonderful for your hair. They’re deeply moisturizing and humectant but, unfortunately, they’re filled with pore-clogging ingredients that can create more problems for your skin. After rinsing your hair after your shower, tie it up with a hair tie. Then rinse off your back one last time to get rid of excess product. After drying off, make sure to slip on a shirt before taking down your damp hair.
- Shower after you work out- Do your best to avoid leaving sweaty clothing on your skin. Sweat, exercise, and tight-fitting clothing are the perfect recipe for a acne breakout. If your gym has a shower, try to take advantage of it and use a pH balancing body wash (including any from the list above) to cleanse the skin. If you’re on a tight schedule between your gym time and work time, invest in some moisture wicking fabric.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing- When you’re experiencing a break out, it’s a good idea to wear more loose-fitting clothing. Friction caused by tight clothing can further irritate your breakouts. If you wear tight yoga pants or compression shorts to work out you may also be prone to experiencing folliculitis, an irritation and infection of hair follicles.
- Considering using a back mask- Try applying a mask to body acne. Look for an all-natural calcium bentonite clay-based mask. Mix the powdered mask with apple cider vinegar, put it on your back and then after it’s dried, wash it off in the shower with warm water. After doing this a few times a week, you should see some improvement!
- Try a chemical peel- If you’re having a particularly bad breakout and have an event coming up, you may want to try a chemical peel. An in-office visit is preferable, of course. Look for local aestheticians or visit your dermatologist. But, if you’re pressed for time, you can always try an over the counter, extra strength alpha/beta peel pad.
- Use acne-friendly products- If you wear makeup every day, before applying any makeup use primer for acne prone skin. Also, it is important to mention that if you self-tan a lot, you must use a self-tanner that is suitable for acne prone skin.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods- Just as diet can improve or worsen your facial acne, diet can effect your body acne. Increase foods that fight inflammation including leafy greens, fish, and tomatoes!
- Wash your towels, sheets, and clothes more frequently- Make sure to wash your towels and sheets frequently. Fabrics tend to hang out to bacteria, especially in humid environments (like a bathroom). If you sleep shirtless, definitely wash your sheets on a weekly basis. If you don’t have time for all that laundry, consider switching to an antimicrobial fabric towel so that bacteria doesn’t sit and then transfer back to your skin.
- Change up your laundry products- Fragrance in your laundry detergents can sometimes cause irritation and dryness on the skin’s surface. This can trigger inflammation and exacerbate existing acne. Meanwhile, the waxy coating on dryer sheets can transfer to your clothing and cause clogged pores.
- See a doctor- If nothing else helps, it may be time to see the professionals. Getting in early with your doctor is the easiest way to prevent scarring. In office procedures that are done on the face can also be applied to your back. Try microdermabrasion, blue light or red-light treatments, if all else fails. Or, if worst comes to worst, it may be time to consider an antibiotic!
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Joan S. Wilson is a lifelong healthy lifestyle promoter. Healthy eating, exercising is her daily routine for 11 years. Joan S. Wilson works as a nutritionist for 5 years. She is always curious and wants to learn more when it comes to health. She is not only taking care of herself, but she also tries her best to make other people health better. This is why Joan is so passionate about writing articles on health topics. In every article, she shares her knowledge to make your life healthier and happier!