The Best Body Lotions For An Acne-Prone Back

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

Originally Published: 
Elite Daily/Amazon

Breakouts on your back and shoulders (two very common areas people experience body acne) can typically be treated the same way you’d treat acne on your face. That means using topical, over-the-counter treatments, like body lotions, which can be easily applied (and are much more affordable than using fancy face treatments on such an expansive area). The best body lotions for acne-prone backs contain ingredients like salicylic acid (a beta-hydroxy acid), benzoyl peroxide, retinol, and alpha-hydroxy acids such as lactic and glycolic acids. Stick with lightweight, noncomedogenic lotions, and steer clear of very heavy, oil-based creams, such as ones that contain coconut oil or shea butter, as those can clog pores.

The American Academy of Dermatology also suggests wearing an oil-free sunscreen when outdoors since the sun can make acne worse, as well as avoiding harsh scrubs and exfoliating brushes (like loofahs) that might exacerbate acne or cause irritation. When possible, try to shower and change your clothing after sweating heavily, since a damp environment on the skin can also cause breakouts.

You can also treat back acne with a medicated body wash (for more stubborn acne, try a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide and let it sit on your skin for a few minutes before rinsing it off), then use one of the body lotions from the list below.

Shop The Best Body Lotions For Acne-Prone Backs

In a hurry? These are the top picks for the best body lotions for acne-prone backs:

  1. The Overall Best Body Lotion For Acne-Prone Backs: CeraVe SA Lotion For Rough & Bumpy Skin
  2. Best AHA Body Lotion: AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion
  3. A Higher Strength AHA Lotion: Glytone Exfoliating Body Lotion
  4. Best Lightweight Lotion: Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA
  5. Best Spot Treatment: Dr Song 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Gel Treatment Lotion
  6. Bonus: Best Non-Medicated Body Lotion: Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion

These are the best body lotions for acne-prone backs — Amazon reviewers love them!

1. The Overall Best Body Lotion For Acne-Prone Backs

CeraVe’s popular SA Lotion For Rough & Bumpy Skin harnesses the powers of salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that’s typically the first line of treatment for acne on both the face and body. (It works by getting deep into your pores to clear them out of breakout-causing dead skin and sebum.) Because even people with oily and acne-prone skin need hydrating ingredients to support a healthy skin barrier and prevent irritation, this noncomedogenic, fragrance-free lotion contains calming niacinamide, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and strengthening ceramides to nourish your skin as it simultaneously exfoliates.

One reviewer wrote: “Works rather well at clearing up entire body acne in minimal amounts of time. Starts working immediately. You start to notice effects in 2-3 days. Full effects for me happened about after 2-3 weeks. Awesome stuff!”

Formulated with: Salicylic acid | Sizes: 8 ounces or 19 ounces

Also available on: Ulta Beauty, $19 (8-ounce bottle)

2. Best AHA Body Lotion

Not only is lactic acid, the key ingredient in AmLactin body lotion, a powerful exfoliator, but it also tends to be a bit gentler than another commonly used AHA, glycolic acid. Therefore, this affordable, fragrance-free body lotion is a great pick for keeping your skin clear without causing redness or irritation. The lactic acid helps with rough, dry skin, too, so your skin will feel softer and smoother after using this consistently.

One reviewer wrote: “This stuff is amazing. I’ve had trouble with limited body acne for over 20 years; tried several dermatologists, many OTC products, and spent a lot of time and money with no results. I found this lotion and it zapped it away almost overnight. It also helped with the eczema I had on my elbow. It doesn’t have a smell, it isn’t greasy, and it lasts for a very long time. Definitely worth trying!”

Formulated with: Lactic acid | Size: 7.9 ounces

Also available on: Walmart, $13

3. A Higher Strength AHA Lotion

If you don’t find AHAs too strong, the fragrance-free Glytone Exfoliating Body Lotion contains glycolic acid to give your skin a glowing, bump-free appearance. You can use this to treat keratosis pilaris, as well as your back breakouts, anywhere on your skin that could use some extra exfoliating. Just like the AmLactin lotion, this product is only intended for use on the body, because the percentage of acids would be too high for the more delicate skin on your face.

When you’re using AHAs, your skin can become more photosensitive, so be sure to use your favorite sunscreen during the day, no matter the weather, if it’s exposed to the sun.

One reviewer wrote: “I had these acne-looking break outs all over my buttocks, back and thighs. My OB recommended any lotion with some glycolic acid. I did some research on Amazon and came across this product. This lotion is very thick although not greasy. [...] I have used it for about 2 months now and my skin is baby soft and smooth, like I exfoliate it everyday.”

Formulated with: Glycolic acid | Size: 8.4 ounces

4. Best Lightweight Lotion

Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA is — just like its name suggests — a feather-light body lotion that’s ideal for people who don’t like the feeling of heavy products on their skin. Made with 2% salicylic acid, vitamin E for antioxidant protection, and soothing chamomile and green tea, this lightweight lotion feels fluid and refreshing, and soaks into skin instantly without leaving behind a residue (so you can get dressed immediately after applying it).

One reviewer wrote: “I wish I could give this 10 stars. I LOVE THIS LOTION. It completely cleared my body acne and also made my skin SO soft. I’ll never be without it.”

Formulated with: Salicylic acid | Sizes: 2 ounces or 7 ounces

Also available on: Paula’s Choice Skincare, $28, Sephora, $28, and Nordstrom, $28

5. Best Spot Treatment

Benzoyl peroxide treatments, like this one from Dr. Song, aren’t intended as neck-to-toe moisturizers the way the other lotions on this list are. Instead, dab this benzoyl peroxide spot treatment only where you need it to treat current breakouts and prevent future pimples from popping up. If you’re already using a benzoyl peroxide body wash, though, you probably don’t need to double up your use of the ingredient, as that might make your skin overly dry — so if that’s the case, use a different lotion from this list instead.

Benzoyl peroxide is amazing for quickly reducing acne and whiteheads, but it can stain towels, bedding, and clothing, so let it dry completely before getting dressed or sliding into bed. (And you can also pick up some benzoyl peroxide-resistant towels, if you want.)

One reviewer wrote: “I haven’t tried a lot of 2.5% BPO, but decided on this one because of the value and volume. First started using it on periodic acne behind the neck. After 5 days that acne was gone (worth noting that skin behind the neck is thicker than facial acne). It’s been a month since I’ve had this product and I count on it to help eliminate the occasional acne that appears on my face/neck/back. Great product!”

Formulated with: Benzoyl peroxide | Size: 8 ounces

6. Bonus: Best Non-Medicated Body Lotion

Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion is fragrance-free, noncomedogenic, and made with glycerin, dimethicone, and gentle oat to soothe and smooth dry, irritated skin. This affordable option is nice if you’re already using a medicated body wash to treat your back breakouts and you’re looking to keep your lotions simple and free of any active ingredients. Instead, use this Aveeno body lotion to protect and nourish your skin while it’s being treated with other acne products. That’s particularly important if you’re experiencing any dryness or irritation, because skin that’s not getting enough moisture is also at risk of breaking out.

One reviewer wrote: “Moisturizing without being oily, used for my acne prone skin and have been pleased with this product for years.”

Formulated with: Oatmeal, glycerin, and dimethicone | Size: 18 ounces

Also available on: Walmart, $9, and Rite Aid, $10

You May Also Like: This Convenient Lotion Applicator

Reaching your back to apply lotion evenly can be difficult, so instead, reach for this Aquasentials lotion applicator first. As the name clearly states, this 16-inch brush makes it easy to get lotion on your hard-to-reach back area. (You can use this to apply sunless tanner or sunscreen, too.) To keep it clean, wash the soft sponge applicator with a mild soap, then hang to dry using the attached cord. Problem solved!

One reviewer wrote: “Ive been struggling with acne on my back for years and never thought to use one of these to apply products, this thing has changed my whole routine when I get out of the shower! Very easy to wipe clean in between applications as well.”

Also available on: Walmart, $13

This article was originally published on