6 Reasons Why You Have Body Acne

Have you ever suffered from back acne? Chest acne? Neck acne? Even shoulder acne? Have you ever wondered why you have body acne while your best friend doesn't? Why do you have what they don't even if you live similar lifestyles? Well, acne and body acne are generally genetic conditions. Some people are acne-prone, and some people simply are not. That is because everyone's skin is different and everyone's bodies are different. Why? Because everyone's biochemistry is different. What happens to my body, may not happen to yours. What works for my body may not work for yours. There is no one size fits all solution for everyone. That being said, there are some common reasons why people have body acne and I've compiled a list of six of them for you guys!

This video/post was very highly requested. It has come to my attention that a lot of people don't actually know or understand what body acne is or where it comes from. So...lemme put y'all on real quick. Below are the six most common reasons why people have body acne!


reason #1: your clothes are too tight, not breathable, or create friction

There is a specific type of acne called acne mechanica which is caused by friction, pressure on the skin, heat, lack of air exposure, etc. Acne mechanica can be caused by apparel such as bra straps, athletic equipment, backpacks, and basically anything that can irritate the skin from friction. I have a personal experience with acne mechanica! Two years ago I went to my friend Josh's birthday party. I wore a crop top with a racerback, but I didn't have a racerback bra to wear with it. I used one of those Strap Perfects to pull the straps together so that they wouldn't be visible. I could feel the left strap digging into my shoulder, but I figured "hey, I'll just be a lil uncomfortable. It's only for one night". YIKES. I woke up the next morning with a cluster of pimples on my shoulder: exactly where my bra straps were digging into!

Take a look at your lifestyle and figure out if there is anything that you're wearing that could be causing acne mechanica. Bra straps, backpack straps, football pads, tight tank tops, jackets, hats...look at everything and try to limit their wear as much as possible!


reason #2: excessive sweating

Body acne that is caused by excessive sweating is most common during the summer and/or for athletes or people who exercise a lot. For me personally, I tend to workout in the morning and I shower immediately after. I'd say the most optimal time frame to shower after working out is around 30 minutes - 1 hour. However because it is the summer and it's been pretty hot lately, taking showers twice a day is not a foreign concept to me. If I spent the day outside and sweated a lot, then I'm also going to take a shower at night even if I already took one in the morning. 

I'd recommend taking a shower after sweating. Whether that is in the morning or night, take a shower. That's just so you don't go to bed with dried sweat, excess sebum, dirt, and bacteria.


reason #3: your hair & body products contain comedogenic ingredients

There are a lot of hair & body products that contain ingredients that are comedogenic: ingredients that can clog pores. This is especially true for hair care products. The reason why this happens is because when you're washing your hair, the products get washed over your body. Even if you wash your body after washing your hair, there is still a possibility of product residue being left on your body! That's why I recommend flipping your hair over when you wash it. You can check out how I wash my hair by watching my curly hair routine.


reason #4: you're sleeping in dirty bed sheets

If you're not frequently changing out your bed sheets, you're basically rolling in dirt and bacteria every night. I personally wash my bed sheets every other week or bi-monthly. I don't sleep naked, and I don't go to bed wearing tank tops or cami tops. All of my pajamas cover my back, chest, and shoulders. If you think that dirty bed sheets might be a culprit for you, try changing them more frequently and wear pajamas that cover your body (and are made of a breathable fabric like cotton).


reason #5: you're not exfoliating your body properly

I talk a lot about acne. But to give you like an acne-101 crash course: acne is caused by a buildup of excess sebum & bacteria that gets trapped under dead skin cells. If your skin cell turnover is not regulated, then you are more prone to acne breakouts. That's why exfoliating is so important for folks with acne-prone skin! I like using those textured exfoliating towels (which I call "Asian auntie towels" because all the Asian aunties have them LOL) to exfoliate my body. Almost every time I shower, I will gently exfoliate with this towel. Though, it's very important not to be too harsh or else you will overexfoliate your skin, damage your skin barrier, and make your acne worse! If this is your first time hearing the term "skin barrier", then I'd highly recommend checking out my Skin Barrier 101 video series.


reason #6: it might not even be acne...it could be malessezia folliculitis!

If you've tried using a lot of products that contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, yet nothing quite seems to be working...there is a possibility that you don't even have acne. It may look like acne, but it's probable that it's not acne! I have a skin disorder called malessezia folliculitis, which is basically the inflammation or infection of hair follicles caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called malessezia.

Everyone has malessezia on their skin. If you don't have malessezia present on your body, it's because you have a compromised immune system or have went through chemotherapy, or something along those lines. Generally, if you have malessezia present on your body, it means that's you're pretty healthy. Now, malessezia only becomes an issue when there is an overgrowth of it. Malessezia folliculitis is considered a fungal infection which causes these little acne-like bumps, papules, and pustules that are red, inflammed, and tend to be itchy!

Malessezia folliculitis is most common for people that sweat a lot and have oily skin types. This type of fungus loves sebum to feed on. Also, a lot of hair/body products contain ingredients that feed malessezia. Especially lotions! Minimize the amount of body & hair products that you're using to isolate & identify which products or ingredients make you break out!


Well, there it is...my list of six common reasons why you might have body acne. I hope this helped! Leave a comment if you have any questions, and I'll try my best to respond!


xo Asia J.