By Abby Vinas
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The Benefits of Using Acne Body Wash
We’ve all bought into the myth that our acne struggles would end with puberty, but sadly that’s not always the case. For some of us, acne continues to be a lifelong struggle to one degree or another. Stress from work or at home can trigger blemishes at any moment, along with a variety of other acne causes. If you struggle with blemishes, keep reading for some helpful tips on how you can keep your body acne-free.
What is Acne Body Wash?
Acne body washes are hygienic cleaning products for the shower with ingredients that are known to fight acne. Unlike standard body wash or bar soap, acne body wash does more than just remove dirt and grime from your skin. Acne body wash contains active ingredients like salicylic acid, which can kill P. acnes bacteria—the main culprit behind inflamed breakouts. Fortunately, according to studies posted by the National Institute of Health, there have been new advances in understanding the P. acnes bacteria and how best to treat it.
There are a wide variety of brands that offer acne-fighting body washes but the best products are the ones that use naturally-derived ingredients. Body washes that contain naturally-derived ingredients are far less likely to irritate your skin or make your problems worse.
What Causes Body Acne?
There are a variety of factors that cause acne, which is partly why it can be so difficult to combat. The first step to properly taking care of body acne is to understand where it comes from. Sebaceous glands exist within the hair follicles in your skin. These glands are responsible for the production of sebum (the oil that your skin secretes to protect itself by staying moist and pliable). P. acnes bacteria is a major cause of acne, along with pores clogged by dead skin cells and dirt (known as comedones).
Fortunately, researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA may have discovered a link to why some people are affected by body acne, while others are not. Here are some of the primary causes of body acne:
When you’re going through puberty, your hormones are unstable. While this isn’t a direct cause of increased breakouts, it is a contributing factor. Hormones can sometimes cause excess oil leading to sticky skin cells. Since dirt and grime tend to stick to skin cells, hormones pose a unique challenge.
Genetics play a significant role when it comes to acne. Unfortunately, you can’t change the DNA you were born with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your situation.
The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology notes, acne is not a disease caused by dirt. When dirt gets inside a pore, it can create a plug, causing oil to build up and bacteria to become trapped inside. Dirt and acne-causing bacteria often work hand in hand together to cause blemishes.
Stress is a big factor when it comes to blemishes and breakouts. Physical stress on your body from exercise can increase your hormone production. Mental stress can also weaken your body’s immune system and its ability to fight acne.
When preventing acne breakouts, it’s important to isolate and identify the unique variables that are causing your symptoms. The more you know about your own body and its disposition, the easier it is to treat your acne.
How Does Acne Body Wash Prevent Breakouts?
Acne body wash cleanses the skin of dirt, grime, and bacteria which contribute to acne. If you’re struggling with body acne and you aren’t using acne body wash, it might be time to start. No two acne body washes are the same; different brands and companies will offer different ingredients and solutions to combat acne. However, the standard acne body washes will usually contain salicylic acid, sodium sulfacetamide, and benzoyl peroxide. Each of these chemicals and solutions offer a different way of killing acne-causing bacteria and cleaning out your pores.
Salicylic acid: a topical agent and beta-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid is good for penetrating and breaking down fats and lipids, allowing the acne-fighting medicine to reach deeply into pores.
Sodium sulfacetamide: Sodium sulfacetamide works by stopping the growth of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. It belongs to a class of drugs known as sulfa antibiotics. The sulfur helps by removing the top layer of skin so that newer, healthier skin can take its place.
Benzoyl peroxide: Notorious for sometimes bleaching your pillow at night while you sleep, benzoyl peroxide is one of the most powerful ingredients in acne treatments. It fights acne by directly killing the bacteria that causes it, and can be paired with other acne-fighting medicines as well.
Some body washes contain small grains which exfoliate the skin so that the other active ingredients can penetrate the pores deeper. The problem with these body washes is that sometimes excessive exfoliation can irritate the skin, over-stimulate sebaceous glands, and make breakouts worse.
The Benefits of Salicylic Acid Body Wash
Salicylic acid is one of the best ingredients in acne body washes for oily skin—but be sure to use the proper concentration at the right pH level. Salicylic acid is an exfoliate ingredient similar to aspirin. Like aspirin, salicylic acid can remove redness and inflammation as it opens clogged pores and sloughs off dead skin. Best of all, it’s a natural ingredient that comes from the bark of a willow tree.
As an active ingredient in acne body wash, salicylic acid is incredibly beneficial for your skin. When absorbed into the skin, the salicylic acid can increase blood circulation and help assist the immune system handle bacterial infections (like acne). Once applied to the skin, salicylic acid breaks down the fatty compounds produced by the sebaceous gland. It’s so efficient that a 3% percent concentration in a body wash or cream is all that’s needed to effectively clean out pores. However, if the concentration is too strong it can cause some minor damage to the sebaceous gland—10-30% concentrations are strong enough to burn off warts, so be careful when selecting your product. BioClarity offers acne treatment with the perfect concentration of salicylic acid you need to prevent acne without causing irritation.
Salicylic acid is the most effective acne treatment for oily skin because it exfoliates, breaks down oils, and reduces redness. Unlike other active ingredients in acne treatments, salicylic acid will both improve the health of your skin and its overall appearance.
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How to Use Acne Fighting Body Wash
The process of applying acne fighting body wash isn’t very different than applying regular body wash. However, there are some techniques that can be implemented to your body wash routine which will assist in the process of cleaning your skin, such as exfoliation. It removes dead skin to reveal a new, healthier layer below while also allowing acne medicine to penetrate more deeply. Although exfoliation is important, you should still do it in moderation and avoid buying acne body washes that claim to exfoliate without explicitly stating how. Some clearly label that they contain ingredients like Epsom salt, which is an environmentally safe and useful tool for fighting acne. However, other products which use plastic micro beads, for example, are bad for your skin and the environment, and may result in excess plastic waste.
The best thing to do is purchase a loofah or a handled scrubbing brush. When paired with acne fighting body wash, an exfoliating scrubber can drastically increase the effectiveness of a body wash’s active ingredients.
While in the shower, dispense a couple tablespoons of natural acne fighting body wash into your hand, loofah, or scrubbing brush. Thoroughly lather and apply the wash to any and all problem areas for best results. Make sure you aren’t over scrubbing—doing so may cause irritation and lead to bigger problems. The exfoliation process should feel coarse but never painful. Last but not least, make sure you give your loofah or brush a good rinse after every use. If not properly sanitized, these items can become cesspools of germs and bacteria that will ultimately worsen your acne problems after each use.
One way to prevent this from happening is to soak your brush or loofah once a week in Epsom salt or mild rubbing alcohol—just make sure you do a good job of removing all of the alcohol before using your scrubbing tool again.
When used correctly and in the right amounts, acne body wash is a great way to prevent mild to severe non-cystic acne breakouts. Always use products as recommended and stop if you experience any discomfort or pain.
For many struggling with body acne, there are particular areas that tend to have the most breakouts and blemishes, including the shoulders, chest, back, and legs.
Many athletes know acne on their back and arms can be a major challenge. Sweat and grime often clings to athletic wear, building up and attracting bacteria. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stop exercising or playing your favorite sport. It just means that you need to be mindful about how you work out and which athletic gear you wear.
Whether you use a public or private home gym, you should always wipe down and clean the equipment before each use. Acne-causing bacteria clings to gym equipment and gets absorbed into clothing. If you use a public gym, not only will bacteria be a concern, but sweat contamination will be as well. If your gym doesn’t already supply them, bring some disinfectant wipes every time you go. It will make you feel better and about using the equipment and your skin will thank you.
One important element of preventing that troublesome back acne is wearing the proper clothing. That long sleeve Under Armour might be stylish but it may not be doing your skin any favors. Yes, it is a breathable material, but it might be too thin to properly protect your skin from bacteria that might be lurking on your gym equipment. Tight-fitting athletic uniforms and gym wear can also trap sweat and existing dirt on your skin, clogging your pores and causing acne. A breathable, loose-fitting cotton t-shirt may not always be the most stylish thing to wear to the gym or on your morning run but it can help your skin stay acne free.
Another trick to tackling back acne is to lay a towel down on the bench or chair you plan on using at the gym. The more layers you put between yourself and the equipment, the better protected you are from acne-causing bacteria.
Using these helpful workout tips in combination with acne body wash and scrubbing tools will help you get rid of shoulder acne, back acne, and breakouts on any other problem areas.
Diet and Body Acne
Sometimes clean clothes, cleansers, and loofahs aren’t enough to completely rid your skin of acne. Your diet plays a crucial role in preventing breakouts. There are a number of foods that you should be eating to improve your skin’s overall health and some food that you should definitely avoid. If acne continues to resurface even after using acne body washes, you might want to introduce these foods into your diet:
- Flaxseed: Acne is a form of inflammation; foods like flaxseed that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatories that can reduce overall redness and swelling. Flaxseed oil is easy to obtain and blend into a smoothie—it also makes a great alternative source of omega-3s for anyone who doesn’t like fish or nuts.
- Green tea: Green tea is famous for being loaded with antioxidants that can help protect against environmental stresses on the immune system. Drinking this throughout out your day will give you and your immune system a boost.
- Fruits and vegetables: Rather than take a multi-vitamin, get your essential vitamins the old fashioned way with fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin D are all important for a strong and healthy immune system. Citrusy fruits like oranges and strawberries are loaded with vitamin C, which offers many benefits for skin’s complexion.
Just adding the right foods to your diet sadly won’t be enough; you’ll need to remove ones that may be causing the problem in the first place. Here are some foods you should remove from your diet if you’re struggling with body acne:
- Milk and dairy: Milk and dairy products tend to be loaded with hormones that can throw your body out of balance and create major acne problems. One way to avoid this is switching to organic milk, but avoiding dairy altogether may be the best thing to do for your body.
- Sugar: When it comes to sugar consumption, it’s best to keep it in moderation. If you can’t resist, space out the sweets you eat so you don’t spike your blood sugar and cause a breakout.
- Glycine: White rice and white bread have a high glycemic index. Because these foods break down quickly into sugars, they can spike your blood sugar and insulin levels—leading to breakouts on your face and body.
- Greasy fast food: Not only is fast food and grease bad for your body, it’s extremely bad for your skin as well. Greasy fast foods can increase your body’s inflammatory response, making breakouts more severe than they would have been.
Part of getting rid of pimples on your body includes keeping your body and immune system in the best possible shape so it can fight off blemishes. Adding and removing these foods to and from your diet will improve your ability to fight breakouts when combined with the right acne body wash.
Despite the issues that come from sweat, hormones, and gym bacteria, exercise is actually one of the best things for your skin. Your body rids itself of toxins and other harmful substances through the liver; exercise, especially heavy cardio, will improve your body’s circulatory system allowing for your liver and immune system to rid itself of dead bacteria in pores faster.
Intense weight lift lifting, running and even yoga can improve your circulation. Weight lifting and cardio are important for strengthening your heart and overall cardiovascular system, but may also offer acne-fighting benefits as well. Although yoga doesn’t tend to be as intensive as the first two types of exercises, it still builds up your circulatory system. The deep breathing exercises strengthen your lungs while the stretches increase blood flow and circulation to all of the muscles in your body, spreading much-needed oxygen to your breakout zones.
Don’t let the fear of sweat and grime clogging your pores keep you from exercising. As long as you use the proper body wash techniques previously mentioned, exercise can actually help you prevent breakouts on your body—despite how counterintuitive it may seem.
Why You Should Stop Using Traditional Bar Soap
In the past, bar soaps were the only way you could wash your body, but now there are liquid soaps, body washes, and gels, too. These options have become much more popular alternatives to traditional bar soap because they are less harsh on the skin and less likely to cause dryness. It’s time to ditch that outdated soap bar and pick up an acne body wash that will keep your skin healthy, moisturized, and vibrantly clear.
When combined with helpful acne-fighting ingredients, body washes make for much better alternatives to bar soaps. Traditional bar soaps can leave a thin layer of residue on top of the skin that can clog pores. Because body wash is a more viscous substance, it washes away much easier in the shower so you can avoid that itchy layer of soapy film on your skin.
There are a few brands of acne-fighting bar soaps, however, most bar soaps don’t contain any of the key ingredients for fighting and preventing breakouts. Bar soaps are usually cheaper than body washes and acne body washes, but it’s because they can only provide a superficial cleaning of the skin. Don’t be fooled by brands of bar soap that claim to have acne fighting ingredients—even if they contain salicylic acid, the benefits could be canceled out by clogged pores.
If you’re serious about getting rid of acne on your body, ditch your bar soap and upgrade to powerful acne-fighting body wash.
Abby Vinas has long been an active member of the holistic health community, advocating in favor of its benefits to both our physical and emotional well-being. Her commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle has made her an authority on self-care practices. Abby is passionate about fitness, nutrition, and proper skincare, and is also an avid lover of avocado toast and dog-petting.