Give Body Acne The Boot With These Must-Have Products

Say goodbye to those pesky pimples on your back, chest, and bottom.

By Renée Walton2 min read

If you’ve ever struggled with acne, I don’t have to tell you just how frustrating it can be. In addition to being a confidence crusher, it’s also just incredibly annoying. That’s probably because it can be the result of so many different things, and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s causing it. And just when you think you have it cleared up, another set of blemishes begins to surface. 

While acne is typically discussed in regard to facial skin, body acne is equally annoying. It can be especially stressful in the summer months as you want to shed some layers and show more skin. 

Ready to give body acne the boot, once and for all? Read on to see what may be causing those annoying (and sometimes even painful) blemishes on your body, and what to do about them. 

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Acne Cosmetica 

Acne cosmetica is caused by certain body and hair products that cause irritation. Body washes and lotions are the most obvious culprit, but hair products have a sneaky way of causing blemishes too. These products are especially troublesome because they weren’t formulated for your skin, and are therefore more likely to clog your pores. As a first line of defense in preventing acne cosmetica, be sure to rinse off completely after you shampoo and condition your hair in the shower. Also try to avoid overspray getting on your chest and back when using aerosol or spray hair products.

Acne cosmetica is caused by certain body and hair products like body washes and lotions that cause irritation. 

If you suddenly notice body acne that seems to come out of nowhere, it’s a good idea to check your self-care products to see if they contain any ingredients that commonly cause irritation. Some potentially problematic ingredients include: 

  • Algae extracts

  • Coconut oil

  • Linseed oil

  • Isopropyl myristate

  • Lanolin

  • Butyl stearate

  • Stearyl alcohol

  • Oleic acid

Of course, this list isn’t the end-all, be-all of irritating ingredients. Many people have sensitivities to other ingredients, including some you may never suspect. You can always stop using a product to see if your body acne clears up afterward. 

Acne Mechanica 

Another form of body acne is acne mechanica. As the name implies, acne mechanica surfaces when the skin becomes irritated from material rubbing against it. That abrasion, combined with heat or sweat, can inflame skin follicles and create acne. We saw acne mechanica frequently on facial skin during the pandemic when mascne became a thing as a result of the mask mandates

In order to avoid acne mechanica, try wearing looser fitting clothing, especially in the affected areas. Additionally, be aware of any purse straps or backpacks that may be rubbing against your skin, potentially causing a breakout. 


Of course, a common cause of body acne is sweat. Sweat clogs your pores and keeps acne-causing bacteria in place. Additionally, be mindful that body acne may increase in the warm weather months because you’re likely sweating more. For that reason, be sure to shower immediately after a sweat session – whether that’s working out, spending time in a sauna, or just sweating outside on a hot day. 

Another lesser-known trick to clearing up body blemishes is lymphatic dry brushing. Dry brushing decreases body acne by exfoliating the skin. It eliminates dead skin cells that can clog pores, which leads to breakouts. Dry brushing also increases circulation. Better blood flow throughout your body means more efficient toxin elimination, and therefore clearer skin. This dry brush from Goop is especially user-friendly because of its handle and ergonomic shape. 

Our Favorite Acne-Busting Products 

So you’ve taken all the precautions – you’ve switched your body products and you’re sure your clothing and accessories aren’t causing irritation. You’ve been showering immediately after workouts and maybe you’ve even added dry brushing to your routine. But if you’re still experiencing frustrating body acne, then it’s time to find a product to help clear it up. 

Luckily, there are plenty of products on the market specifically designed to target body acne. Here are some of our favorites: