Bye, Bye Body Acne: How to Get Rid of Pimples From Head to Toe
When we think of pimples, we think of the face. And no wonder—there they are for all the world to see. Plus all the ads for pimple treatments show a face. Have you ever seen an ad showing a back or butt with pimples? No.
But alas, pimples aren't confined to just our faces. They can occur anywhere there are pores, which means any place on the body except the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Each pore is connected to a sebaceous gland that produces sebum (oil). When that oil mixes with the dead skin cells that are continuously being shed by the skin and external debris, a plug is created. The plug traps more oil and bacteria. When the bacteria is trapped, the immune system produces white blood cells and, viola!, you've got pimples.
When your scalp, chest, back, butt or legs are afflicted, you need to adapt the measures you employ for ridding your face of pimples. But, fret not, you will be able to purge your skin of those nuisances wherever they lurk. Here's the full guide to getting rid of pimples from head to toe!
Scalp Acne & Pimples on Scalp
The good news about pimples on your scalp is that no one can see them because your hair is hiding them. The bad news is that they are the most difficult pimples to treat because your hair is hiding them. Another piece of bad news is that they can be very painful - particularly if you run over them with a brush or comb. Seriously, ouch!
What causes scalp acne?
People with naturally oily scalps or who sweat often are the most susceptible. Also, people who wear tight headgear or habitually scratch their heads are asking for trouble.
Because of its sensitivity, your scalp is more uncomfortable with pimples than your face is. It's going to be difficult to keep your fingers from picking at those pimples. But you must. Just as with your face, picking at them worsens the condition. The additional danger for your scalp is the distinct possibility of developing a staph infection.
How to get rid of scalp acne
The best cure for scalp pimples, as well as the best defense against them, is shampooing your hair regularly. Dry shampoo doesn't count - all it does is mask the oil, and it can clog the pores and make matters worse.
Also, take care not to use harsh chemical exfoliating products, even if they've been effective for face and body acne. Your scalp is more sensitive than the skin on your face. An exfoliant could result in hair loss. At the very least, you'll end up with very dull hair.
Instead, look toward natural remedies that will help you rid your scalp of pimples, safely and effectively. Here's a round up of the best scalp acne treatments that will also help, not harm, your tresses...
A scalp massage gently exfoliates the skin on your scalp, and a bonus is how good it feels. To do it, simply rotate your fingers around your scalp to slough off the dead skin cells.
Another option is to upgrade to a scalp massager. These do what your fingers do but also come with bells and whistles like vibrations to provide further stimulation.
Massages and massagers are great for stimulating cell turnover to get rid of scalp acne and promoting healthy hair growth!
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties that help in ridding your scalp of pimples. Add a tiny bit of tea tree oil to a carrier oil, e.g., olive, coconut, or almond. Apply the mixture to the pimples on your scalp.
Leave it on overnight, and shampoo your hair in the morning.
Another option is to add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil to your shampoo.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that will clear the pores of bacteria and oil, as well as balance the pH level of the skin to prevent further breakouts. After washing your hair, rinse with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and lukewarm water. Let it set for five to seven minutes, then rinse with clean water.
Note: Do not use undiluted apple cider vinegar. It's far too strong for the scalp.
Tomato juice is is an excellent source of salicylic acid, which dries up pimples, decreases the production of oil, and helps maintain a healthy pH balance.
Apply fresh tomato juice evenly on your scalp. Wait 10 minutes, then rinse out with warm water.
How to prevent scalp acne
- Wash your hair regularly and massage the scalp for a couple of minutes to loosen dirt and debris that accumulates from sweat and to encourage circulation.
- Wash your hair-grooming tools with soapy water.
- Cut back on (stop using, if you can) greasy hair products, such as wax, gel, mousse and hairspray.
- Limit your use of conditioner and/or apply only to the ends of the hair, avoiding the roots.
Chest Acne & Pimples on Chest
Unlike the pimples on your scalp, you can't keep the pimples on your chest hidden forever. You want to go swimming. You have to shower at the gym. Ladies, are you really going to let zitty titties outshine you at the upcoming gala in your strapless dress?
Point is, pimples on the chest are especially unsightly, so let's get rid of them.
What causes chest acne?
Men's chests are usually covered with hair. Women wear tight-fitting bras and tops. Both of these things contribute to chest pimples. Another factor might be allergies to a perfume, lotion, or laundry product. See if there's anything new you've been using.
Maybe you've been wearing clothes that are too tight, and they prevent proper ventilation, especially when made of synthetic materials. Oftentimes, the culprit is a lapse in personal hygiene - and we don't mean that in an accusatory way. If you work out often, you know that the tightness of a spots bra creates an environment where sweat and dirt can get trapped easily, creating the perfect recipe for a batch of chest pimples.
How to get rid of chest acne
The good news when it comes to pimples on your chest is that they're not difficult to get rid of. It's an easy-to-access zone of the body and unlike your scalp, you don't have a thick layer of hair getting in the way.
Here's how to get rid of chest acne quick and easy!
Salicylic Acid Cleanser
You can send those pimples on their way and fade any scars left behind by showering every day with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid is a BHA that has the unique advantage of being oil soluble so it can get deep into your pores to de-gunk and exfoliate.
Use an exfoliating glove and scrub gently - you want to slough off the dead skin cells without depleting the skin's natural oils or irritating the pimples.
Make sure to replace the glove every three months - it is a fertile breeding ground for bacteria.
Pore Cleansing Masks
Think masks are just for faces? Maybe on Halloween, but not when you've got a pimply chest to deal with. There are a variety of masks you can mix up yourself with natural ingredients that help de-clog your pores.
Oatmeal and honey is a gentle yet effective one if you have sensitive skin - oatmeal reduces inflammation and redness and honey boosts the mask with its natural antibacterial properties.
Another easy option is baking soda, which fights off bacteria, dries up excess oil, and removes dead skin cells. Simply add water.
Strawberries and (sour) cream are also a good option since strawberries are a natural source of salicylic acid, which is extremely effective in ridding the skin of pimples. Sour cream contains lactic acid to further boost exfoliation.
If you want to get rid of chest acne immediately, the fastest option is with chemical peels. These are concentrated formulations that use alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids to break down dead skin cells and promote gentle exfoliation and skin cell turnover.
You'll see an improvement in your chest acne pretty quickly. Just keep in mind that your chest skin is delicate and start with a very gentle peel - we recommend Hydro-Glo, which contain 30% Lactic Acid, 10% Mandelic Acid as well as fruit enzymes and botanical extracts to get rid of pimples and fade spots quicker.
Last but not least, one easy way to make sure you don't have to deal with chronic chest acne: retinols.
Retinols cause the skin cells to turn over and regenerate more quickly, and this increased level of cell turnover helps keep pores unclogged.
Extra perks? Retinols thickens the far-reaching layers of skin to help prevent wrinkles and make it easier for collagen to form, which means you're getting anti-aging benefits on top of banishing chest acne forever!
How to prevent chest acne
- Wear breathable fabrics—cotton and linen are best. They allow sweat to evaporate rather become a layer on your chest that clogs pores and is an open invitation for bacteria.
- If you're often strapped into a tight-fitting sports bra, look for one with a "plunge" line - not only are these flattering and cute, they also prevent sweat and dirt from getting trapped around your chest.
- Sprinkle on some natural, talc-free body powder between your breasts, especially if you're lucky enough to have cleavage. This will prevent the sweaty, humid, perfect-for-pimples environment between your girls.
- Look for “non-comedogenic” on a skin product's label. Comedogenic ingredients tend to clog the pores.
- Wash your hands often so that you do not transfer bacteria to your chest—or any other part of your body.
Back Acne & Pimples on Back
Not only can't you see the pimples on your back, no one else can either. Except, as with the chest, when it's time to put on a swimsuit or shower at the gym. Both males and females get back pimples, but males are more prone to them.
What causes back acne, aka bacne?
It's difficult to escape pimples on the back. They are usually found on the upper and middle back, because these regions have more oil glands per square inch than any other area of the body.
Also, those pores are larger, and excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria get trapped in them more easily.
Sometimes, the cause of back acne can be as simple as what you wear. If you're prone to sweating, carry extra shirts so you don't have to wear a sweat-stained shirt for several hours at a time. You can also try switching to a gentle, all-natural laundry detergent. And of course, heavy backpacks can cause a sweaty, humid environment on your back that further aggravates pimples.
How to get rid of back acne
It's pretty much the same deal as with the chest except the skin on the back is less delicate and less prone to irritation. The downside, of course, is that the back is pretty difficult to see and reach, which means you'll want the help of good friends and family to help you in your battle against bacne.
Here are the best ways to get rid of back acne!
Sea Salt Soak
Sea salt dries up the oil that is causing the pimples. It also contains iodine that reduces inflammation. If going to the ocean is not an option, purchase a high-quality sea salt. Add the sea salt to your bath water and soak your back for 20-30 minutes.
Note: Don't use table salt. Dead sea salts, though, are a winner.
When's the last time you properly washed and exfoliated the skin on your back? Considering the area is difficult to reach, it's probably been awhile.
But when you're dealing with back acne, you really want to make sure you're exfoliating regularly - around two or three times a week - to encourage cell turnover and to keep pores free of the dead cells and debris.
Just don't scrub too vigorously - it can scar and dry out the skin. Remember that dry skin causes the oil glands to step up production, and all that does is lead to more pimples.
Sulfur has been used to fight pimples for...ages and it's still going strong mainly because it works. It's a gentle antibacterial agent that kills acne causing bacteria while drawing oil out of blocked pores and drying up excess oil on the skin.
Sulfur is also keratoloytic, which means it increases cell turnover so your acne scars and marks heal faster.
The easiest way to use sulfur to get rid of back acne is to get a sulfur soap - our favorite is SAL3 Cleansing Bars, these contain a potent 10% sulfur combined with 3% salicylic acid.
Back Acne Spray
There's a lot of great spot acne treatments on the market but when it comes to back acne, the problem is...how do you apply it?
This is exactly what makes back sprays so very wonderful. The best one? Glytone Acne Treatment Back Spray is a super effective formula that contains salicylic acid, a BHA that's oil soluble and can get deep within your pores to de-gunk and exfoliate.
Butt Acne & Pimples on Buttocks
Ah, the butt. The badonkadonk. The caboodle. It's so important and yet so neglected...until butt acne happens. And then you're left wondering, What?! Why?!
But when you actually stop to think about it, it's really not surprising...
What causes butt acne?
The first question you need to ask yourself is: how often do you wear clothes or fabric on your butt? If you're like most people, it's probably all the time. We expose our arms, legs, chest, midriff, back...but the butt? It's always in contact with fabric.
And it's not loosely in contact. Many of us wear tight-fitting jeans, synthetic underwear, second-skin-feeling yoga pants and a host of other fabrics and styles that don't allow the skin on our butts to get much breathing room. Not to mention, make it easy to trap sweat and bacteria, making the perfect breeding grounds for butt pimples.
To top it all off, when's the last time you really paid your butt skin some TLC? Like, really exfoliated it like you would your facial skin or regularly moisturized it? If you can't remember, don't worry - you're in good company.
Many of us just don't take enough time to do skin care diligence of the skin on out buttocks. And yes, we skimp on properly moisturizing that area, too. The result? Dead skin cells. Combine that with the sweat and bacteria lurking from constant friction with tight underwear and pants and you have the crux of the butt pimple problems.
How to get rid of butt acne
If you're ready to make butt pimples a thing of the past, there are a host of things you can do to prep the stage. For starters, exfoliate that butt very gently. Don't forget to keep it moisturized. Avoid sitting for too long; give your butt a chance to breathe every now and then.
Importantly: limit the amount of time you wear tight-fitting pants like skinny jeans and yoga pants. Loose, flow-y, air-y material is the way to go when you're lounging at home.
To really give your butt some TLC, try this a few times a week before you begin your shower: sit on a hot, damp towel for 15 minutes. That will open up your pores so the debris can be scrubbed away and your pores are ready and open to receive butt acne fighting ingredients, like...
Exfoliation is crucial when it comes to butt pimples and the best way to do it? With scrubbies.
Diva Stuff's Charcoal and Bamboo Face Scrubbies are intended for the face but they're equally great for clearing stubborn butt acne.
Each "scubbie" is a cotton pad that's soaked in charcoal powder to deep detox pores as well as bamboo powder to provide gentle, manual exfoliation. Simply wet to use.
AHA/BHA Body Lotion
Speaking of exfoliation, nothing works as well or goes as deep as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) can. BHAs like salicylic acid are famous for their ability to go within pores to break down dead skin cells and sebum.
As for AHAs like glycolic acid, their small particles allow deeper penetration for these chemical exfoliators to get the job done. The result is faster cell turnover and unclogged pores so not only will you be rid of your butt acne, the marks and spots will fade more quickly as well.
Perfect for a daily lotion both to combat butt acne and to keep it away permanently!
Acne Spot Treatment
Ever had one (or five) of those huge, raging cystic pimples on your butt? Super painful - especially since you have to sit on it.
For those particularly painful, stubborn butt pimples, do yourself a favor and pick up a strong spot pimple treatment.
Our favorite is Elements of Beauty's Unblemished Acne Spot Treatment - it contains a potent mix of salicylic acid combined with retinol to zap pimples as well as niacinamide and aloe vera to soothe and hydrate.
Leg Acne & Pimples on Legs
You already know that pimples are a possibility wherever you have pores - so pretty much your entire body. But at the same time, you can't help but be surprised when you encounter pimples on your legs. I mean, what? How?
What causes pimples on legs?
Pimples on the legs can be due to several factors, most of which we've discussed. Your fabric choices in shorts, pants and socks can prevent the skin from breathing properly and retain sweat.
Using dirty gym equipment, e.g., mats and benches, will clog your pores. At the gym or in hot weather, you sweat and your legs rub together. Any or all of the oil-based products that you use on your legs can also trigger pimples: moisturizers, lotions, sunscreens, self-tanners.
How to get rid of leg pimples
Many of the remedies mentioned above, like sulfur soap and AHA/BHA body lotion will clear the pimples from your legs and return them to their natural smoothness. We're going to take this opportunity to share basic practices that will not only get rid of pimples and keep them away, but are essential for healthier skin.
But first: “Pimples” that occur after shaving your legs are not actually pimples. Those red bumps are ingrown hairs and razor rash. Use any lotion with alpha hydroxy acid to clear up the bumps and to prevent future problems. Oh, and always shave in the direction your hair grows, not against it, using a gel for sensitive skin and a clean, sharp razor.
Now, the things we can do to improve our skin and our overall health.
- Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Like other organs, it needs to stay hydrated to function on a healthy level.
- Cut out (or cut down on) sugary drinks like sodas, juices, and smoothies. Sugar causes a spike in insulin, which can stimulate the hormones that contribute to pimples.
- Dairy products also stimulate those hormones. Since they are primarily concentrated in the fatty portion of milk, drinking skim milk will reduce your exposure.
- Change your diet. Eating a handful of walnuts every day reduces skin inflammation. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat more lean protein, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids. Foods rich in omega-3 acids include fish, particularly salmon, sardines, and herring; seeds and nuts, particularly flaxseed; and leafy greens, particularly spinach and arugula.
- Remove stress from your life as much as possible. Sure, you think, easy to say, but you really can do it. No one knows exactly how or why, but the cells that produce oil become discombobulated when a person is under continuous stress, and oil is the first link in the chain that ends in pimples.
- Get a proper night's sleep to avoid stress. Also, exercise to keep the circulation healthy and help reduce anxiety. Like sleep and exercise, meditating daily reduces stress. It's a two-way street. Stress contributes to pimples, and having pimples is certainly stressful.
Now you know how to clear your body of pimples and how to prevent them. Go forth and make your body a pimple-free zone!