Summer Might Be Over, But I'm Still Freaking Out About Body Acne
I was one of those kids who got hit hard by puberty.
My hair became frizzy, my weight fluctuated and I was awkward AF. Worse yet, I had pimples virtually everywhere: my face, neck, chest, shoulders, down my upper arms and on my back. I even had breakouts on the back of my legs. Needless to say, I was a walking, talking volcano -- and I wondered why boys didn't like me.
Around the time I started college, my skin mellowed out to only the occasional pimple on my face and other parts of my body. Even my legs were fine!
Unfortunately, all that scarring I accumulated through years of pimple-popping stayed and I was left covered in dark brown splotches on my back, neck and shoulders. I've tried everything: dark spot removal creams, gels, peels but nothing worked.
What's worse is that come summertime, I'd get super jealous of girls' backs and arms. They were perfectly tanned and spot-free. I know I shouldn't have cared and wore my sleeveless tops anyway, but after dating a boy who said I looked like a "before Proactiv" ad (I know, I had great taste in men) my confidence was shattered.
Even though summer is nearly over, I'm still going a little crazy about my body acne. And apparently, I'm not alone. Eighty percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 get acne, some even in their 40s and 50s. Those cases also include solely facial acne, but still, 80 percent of people is a giant number.
Seeing as my scarred ass (just kidding) is not alone, I decided to call in the top-notch doctor for help: Dr. Howard Sobel, dermatologist and founder of DDF Skincare.
Body acne is a perfectly good excuse to ditch the gym.
Just kidding, kind of.
"Body acne can stem from a variety of sources," Dr. Sobel explained. "Excessive sweating, not showering after exercise, friction from athletic gear, clothes that are too tight and not breathable, irritation because of hair or body care products or even a reaction to detergents or fabric cleaners" can all cause bumps.
Keep things clear by hopping in your gym's shower after a workout or at least changing out of your sweaty yoga leggings post-downward dog. Or, you know, just don't work out at all.
Not all acne is actually acne.
Those little bumps on your upper arms and thighs? No, they're not chicken skin.
"People oftentimes believe that the rough textured skin on their arms and thighs is a type of body acne, but it is actually a condition named Keratosis Pilaris," Dr. Sobel said. "The condition can range from pink to red bumps on the cheeks to small red bumps that are not obviously irritated, to pustule-like bumps that are inflamed and red."
Get scrubby with it.
Invest in the hard stuff. Dr. Sobel insists the best way to combat persistent body acne is through exfoliation because it unclogs pores. He also raves about the strength of glycolic acid, which can be found in the DDF Toning Complex.
Additionally, Dr. Sobel recommends using a combination of alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids to help exfoliate skin cells.
"This potent combination can be found in my Glycolic 10% Exfoliating Oil Control Gel, a facial treatment that can be used on the body as well," Dr. Sobel added.
Your scars remind you that your acne past is real.
Sorry about that terrible high school throwback, but it's true: Acne scarring is just as persistent as acne itself.
"To treat the scarring left behind by body acne, a wide array of treatments are available depending on the severity of the scars," Dr. Sobel said. "In-office procedures such as Fraxel laser, injectables and fillers work well, but it is vital to consult with a dermatologist who can customize a treatment plan for your specific type of body acne."
When all else fails, ask the experts.
If you're not getting results from playing Walter White on your bacne, just call the real pros to whip out all the treatments.
"Laser treatments are another great option," Dr. Sobel said. "Various types of lasers are available, including photopneumatic therapy and intense pulsed light."
So you get to be a mad scientist on your shoulder zits? Score.
Now it's time to say arrivederci to your zits -- until next bikini season, anyway.