While acne is typically considered a face-centric frustration, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t experienced a pimple or two — or dozens — somewhere south of the neck. Fortunately, the best body acne treatments are only a few clicks or taps away. Clothing may make body breakouts easier to conceal, but they’re no less frustrating than a chin or cheek zit, especially since anywhere we have pores and hair follicles on our bodies can be susceptible to sebum-clogged bumps, which means we can experience breakouts on our butts, chests, backs, and arms.
For example, “back acne [comes from] the inconvenient and unfortunate cycle of clogged pores, inflammation, and poor skin turnover,” says Texas-based, board-certified dermatologist Heidi Prather, who explains that back acne can appear as small blackheads, inflammatory pustules, or sometimes deep, tender cystic lesions.
As annoying as body acne is, it’s luckily both preventable and treatable. Prather encourages her patients to try to identify anything that might be triggering outbreaks. “Hair products such as conditioners or leave-in products that contain silicones and oils can leave a residue on your skin, resulting in clogged pores and acne,” Prather tells Allure. “Screen your products for ingredients that are known to be comedogenic, and when getting a massage, opt for lighter lotions in place of heavy creams and massage oils that can exacerbate acne.”
If the steps you’ve taken thus far to prevent body breakouts haven’t left you with clear skin, there are plenty of over-the-counter products that dermatologists love to help heal outbreaks, and you’ll find their favorites below. Some are the same products that do wonders to the face, but not every product made for the face is the right pick for the body.
“Keep in mind that, although our back skin seems tough, it [usually] cannot handle the same acne treatment routines we use on our face. It is important to avoid being overly aggressive with acne treatments on the back to prevent irritation,” Prather says. But ultimately, if one of the products below isn’t making the difference you’re hoping to achieve, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist, who can evaluate your skin and create a personalized treatment plan.
Ahead, find 13 expert-approved products to treat your most stubborn, below-the-neck blemishes.