If you’ve ever struggled with acne on your butt, chest, or back, chances are you know how uncomfortable it is. But even though it might not feel like it, body acne is pretty common, especially if you workout regularly. “Think about the bacne under the sports bra," says Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine and a Women’s Health advisory board member. "Acne caused by friction is called acne mechanica, and we see it on the body a lot.”
That’s where a body wash that treats acne comes in. With all of the body washes lining beauty shelves, it can be a tad difficult to determine which ones actually keep your breakouts in check and which ones don’t, so it’s essential to read the labels on each product before deciding which one might be best to add to your regular shower routine.
“When it comes to acne washes, I recommend patients look for benzoyl peroxide, which is antibacterial and also reduces sebum production,” says Karan Lal, MD, board-certified dermatologist. “I also recommend looking for salicylic acid, which breaks open comedones and helps exfoliate the skin.”
Dr. Lal also suggests looking for a body wash that contains sulfur. “Sulfur is an excellent agent in acne washes too because there is no bacterial resistance, and it is anti-inflammatory,” he says. Once you’ve secured a body wash, use it daily to target your back, chest, and butt bumps. If you have dry skin, Dr. Lal suggests using the product a few times a week to avoid any other irritation. Then, make sure to follow up with a moisturizer, since some acne products are known for being drying. He recommends non-comedogenic moisturizers, which are essentially just moisturizers that won't clog your pores.
Ahead, see the best body washes for acne that will leave your skin calm and clear.
This potent combo of 2 percent salicylic acid, willow bark extract (a natural form of salicylic acid), and ground walnut shell works both physically and chemically to clear pores of dirt and oil, stat.
This cleanser uses a blend of naturally derived alpha hydroxy acids (grapefruit peel extract and papaya extract) to unclog pores while glycerin and oat proteins keep skin from drying out.
Though this one is on the pricier side, it's because it's packed with acne-fighting ingredients. A blend of alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, citric, and malic acids) and beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid) exfoliate away dead skin cells and clear out pores while jojoba oil spheres keep skin calm and soothed.
This drugstore staple not only includes salicylic acid to keep pores clear, it also includes vitamin C and grapefruit extract to help lighten hyperpigmentation that acne can leave behind.
Salicylic and lactic acids help exfoliate away dead skin while hyaluronic acid, niacinimide, and ceramides work together to hydrate and repair your skin's barrier. This makes it ideal for sensitive skin types. This combo is also great for treating those tiny bumps that show up on the backs of your arms—more formally known as keratosis pilaris.
You may think that this is only for your face, but it’s suited for your body, too. Start off with a mid-level benzoyl peroxide wash, like this one, to reduce the risk of irritation.
This cleanser packs glycolic and salicylic acids to keep pores clear —It works best if you have blackhead-type acne on your back. Bonus: Apply an OTC retinoid like Differin on the area post-wash for a one-two exfoliating punch.
Another great salicylic acid-based wash, it’s also formulated with vitamin E, aloe, and chamomile to calm touchy skin.
Just because it says it’s for your face doesn’t mean it can’t go on your back and butt. This cleanser contains 5 percent benzoyl peroxide to lessen inflammatory lesions.
I know people tend to have mixed feelings about bar soap, but this one made specifically for acne and blemishes uses benzoyl peroxide to deeply clean the skin by removing dirt and oil from your pores.
A good body wash for acne also alleviates the inflammation that acne causes—this formula contains artemisia princeps leaf extract, which does just that.
This cleansing wash is a one-stop for cleaning pores, exfoliating, and hydrating acne-prone skin. The AHA blend of glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids works together to exfoliate and clear all traces of blemishes.