health corner

Banishing body acne

Published On: November 3, 2017 08:53 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

Acne, though a fairly common skin problem, is an annoying condition that we would prefer to banish altogether from our lives. The most common form of acne is pimples on the facial region but, in some cases, acne can also affect our bodies, namely arms, backs, and thighs.

The Week spoke to Dr Sabina Bhattarai, dermatologist at Kathmandu Medical College, about what causes body acne and how we can prevent this pesky problem.

How and when do we get body acne?

Usually body acne targets adolescents and teenager. Rarely do people below the age of 11 or 12 and above the age of 19 get body acne. The main reason behind body acne is hormonal imbalance. When oil glands get hyper responsive and start secreting more oil it leads to acne. Propionibacterium acne is the most common form of body acne. P acnes develop around the hair follicles and grow very slowly. They mostly target areas above the waist like neck, back, chest, upper part of the arms and hair scalp. P acne is very common during humid climate.

Do external factors result in body acne? What are the general external factors that cause body acne?

Yes, there are some external factors that cause body acne but they (external factors) do not affect the formation of acne as much as it is widely believed. Use of dirty bed sheets and blankets or quilt and avoiding showers after a workout, exercise or any activity which releases a lot of sweat from the body almost always cause body acne because the bacteria sticks onto the skin. 

Similarly, not washing your body properly and regularly causes acne too. Sometimes, hair products and medications may also cause body acne. Hair products may clog skin pores and result in acne but acne due to medications is very rare. Stress and not getting enough sleep can also cause body acne. The climate and weather can also lead to acne and humidity, in particular, encourages the growth of body acne. Generally people living in hotter regions are more prone to skin related problems, acne being the most common form of it.

What are the factors that are commonly mistaken to cause acne?

Most people believe their food intake is one of the main causes of body acne. But diet is not a contributing factor for body acnes. Eating habits do not cause body acne, although alcohol and drug intake and smoking might be some probable causes. Another common misconception among people is that acne is contagious and it transfers through contact with skin. But acne is not communicable and it is not transmitted through contact with another human. Touching a friend who has acne will not make you break out in pimples. 

How can we prevent and cure body acne?

The first and most important thing that drives away body acne is good hygiene. Keep the body clean and body acne will not plague you. Regularly changing and cleaning bed sheets, blankets, quilts and pillowcases are also necessary. Make sure you shower daily and after activities that release an excessive amount of sweat. Another thing that can cause body acne are dirty or sweaty clothes. Be sure to wash your clothes after every use (wearing it twice might be okay occasionally) and again especially after exercise. On the other hand, workout clothes must be washed after every single use. 

Medicated soap and body washes that contain anti-acne drugs like benzoyl peroxide retinoid should be used in areas affected by body acne. If the condition gets severe and turns cystic, then have it checked out by a doctor who can prescribe systemic antibiotics and creams that can help get rid of the problem.

Do body acne leave acne scars? How can we treat those scars?

Body acne could leave behind scars, especially if it is not treated properly. The severe ones leave prominent scars on the skin, and it’s quite difficult of get rid of this deep scarring. Scars are also quite common if someone has a habit of prodding and poking acnes. Additionally, if the person had nodular cystic acne, which are large, inflamed painful acne filled with pus, then the scars these lead to may not fade naturally over time and need professional care. 

Can body acne be a symptom of other more threatening diseases or health problems?

In most cases, body acne is just body acne and the most lasting impact they have is scars that take a long time to fade or never fade. But in some cases they could be hinting at a more threatening and dangerous disease.

If the patient has keloidal tendency (a thick or deep scar formed as a result of excessive growth of fibrous tissue around an area of previous injury) then she or he may suffer from hypertrophy which is the gradual decaying or loss of an organ which may further result in the malfunctioning of other vital organs. If the body acne gets severe then it could be an early symptom of polycystic diseases of the ovary or other hormonal conditions.

Leave A Comment