Just like frizzy hair and sunburns, chest and back acne is a skin issue that hits its peak during the summer. While body acne is unwelcome any time of the year, there’s truly nothing like discovering a chest or back breakout the night before a weekend trip to the beach where you’ve been planning to spend a lot of time in your new swimsuit. We spoke with RealSelf contributor dermatologist Dr. Michele Green to find out why we’re more prone to chest and back breakouts in a heatwave, as well as how to stop these blemishes from completely cramping your summer style.
“Back and chest acne are more prominent during summer because of the extra heat and perspiration. This is a perfect environment for acne to proliferate because it loves sweaty surroundings,” says Dr. Green. “When you sweat from or overexertion, tight-fitting clothing made of material that does not allow your skin to breathe. Using dirty sheets, towels, and other materials that come into contact with your skin that absorbs sweat can also instigate breakouts.”
Although no skin type is exempt from chest and back acne, if you’re on the oily side, Dr. Green says that you’re generally more prone to these breakouts. To keep blemishes at bay, she suggests showering with an exfoliating body wash such as Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash ($32; dermstore.com) immediately after working out or any summer activities that make you break a sweat, to prevent oil buildup and clogged pores. She also stresses the importance of making a habit of regularly changing your sheets and towels.
If you begin to experience severe breakouts on your chest and back, Dr. Green says to make a trip to a dermatologist, who can set you up with a topical antibiotic to control the condition. Exfoliating pads that contain acne-fighters salicylic and glycolic acids such as her Retexturizing Pads ($65; drmichelegreenmd.com) can also help. The most important thing to remember when you want chest and back acne to heal fast: Don’t pick the affected area. This will not only make the pimples’ appearance worse, it can also lead to scarring.