What causes spots on the body?
The reasons for getting spots on your body are similar to the reasons for getting spots on your face - excess sebum production and a build-up of dead skin cells. These mix together and get trapped in our pores creating an ideal environment for a particular bacterium called ‘propionibacterium acnes’ to thrive. This triggers inflammation in the skin leading to angry red bumps and pus-filled spots. The most common areas for spots on the body are on the back, chest, shoulders and buttocks.
Why is it more common in the summer?
During the summer your body produces more oil and you sweat more. When you combine oil and sweat blemishes can arise. Heavy sun creams can also be the cause of body acne during the summer, as well as increased physical activity as many of us take advantage of the longer days to workout, or get in shape for an impending holiday.
So are you more prone to body acne if you work out a lot?
Yes – acne-inducing bacteria love sweaty skin so it’s important to remove your gym clothes as soon as you can and wash thoroughly after a workout. If you can’t shower immediately after a workout, invest in some good-quality body wipes – Mio Skincare’s Clean Slate wipes are packed with aloe vera, mint, cucumber and lactic acid to combat post-gym breakouts naturally.
If you have acne on your face, does that mean you’ll get it on your body?
If you have acne on your face, it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get spots on your body, although the risk seems to be higher than for someone who doesn’t get spots at all. It’s also worth noting that body spots are exactly the same as facial blemishes, so you can double up on products such as an acne-fighting face wash. However, if you’re looking for real results, it’s worth investing in something a little stronger as the skin on your body is much thicker than your face. Fortunately, there are a whole host of body products designed to tackle body acne that are effective and easy to use.
What ingredients should you look out for?
The top ingredient to look out for is salicylic acid, which works by reducing oil production and dissolving the dead skin cells that block pores and lead to blackheads and spots. Lactic acid, glycolic acid, tea tree oil, zinc and benzoyl peroxide are others to look out for.
Any particular body lotions to use or avoid?
I would suggest looking for a lightweight moisturising cream or lotion containing salicylic acid or lactic acid. Look for the words ‘non-comedogenic’ on the package label – this means the product is unlikely to clog your pores and make your spots worse.
Can body brushing help?
Body brushing or exfoliating may be helpful if you have blackheads or small skin-coloured spots as this manually unblocks the pores. However, it should be performed gently and limited to a couple of times a week otherwise you risk aggravating your skin. I certainly wouldn’t recommend exfoliating or rubbing inflamed red spots or whiteheads as this could trigger increased redness and swelling.
At what stage should you seek help from a dermatologist?
If you have spots that haven’t got better with appropriate skincare products or advice from your GP, consider booking in with a dermatologist. Early dermatologist involvement is critical if you have cysts or nodules; if you have started to notice scars or discolouration; or if your spots are affecting your self-esteem.
Best quick fix for body spots?
If you have a wedding or other summer event and need to get rid of an unsightly body spot quickly, look to benzoyl peroxide, which works in a matter of hours. Simply dab a product containing benzoyl peroxide on the offending spot once daily with a clean fingertip or cotton bud, as soon as you feel it coming up. Another over the counter alternative is to apply an acne patch, such as Sarah Chapman’s Spot Stickers, to the blemish. This has the extra advantage of stopping you from picking or squeezing which should be avoided due to the risks of scarring and infection.
DR KLUK’S GOLDEN RULES FOR BODY SPOTS:
Switch up your body wash: Swap your regular shower gel for one that contains ingredients such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid or lactic acid, all of which will help to exfoliate the skin’s surface layer and unblock pores.
Shower immediately post-workout: Remember the bacteria responsible for causing acne thrive on sweaty skin.
Use a scrub: If you suffer from lots of under-the-skin spots or blackheads, using a scrub a couple of times a week in the shower can be effective – just go gently.
Be moisturiser savvy: Ditch heavy, pore-clogging formulas in favour of Ameliorate’s genius Transforming Body Lotion, which works wonders to banish spots on limbs, shoulders and the chest thanks to a hefty dose of AHAs.
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