Inside Your Skin: What Causes Body Acne

Note: Much of this information comes from the work of Dr. James E. Fulton Jr., M.D., Ph.D. Doctor Fulton wrote Acne RX, a comprehensive book about acne and related skin conditions. To delve further into the causes of your skin condition and how to treat it, I highly recommend reading Acne RX.


If you have persistent acne, then you’re in good company. According to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 50% of people suffer from acne breakouts that occur past the age of 25. What makes this half of the population prone to breakouts past the teenage years? The answer is a combination of genetics and lifestyle choices.

Acne is Inherited

The root cause of acne problem is genetic. If your mom or dad suffered from the condition, then you’re much more likely to have acne as well. People who are genetically inclined toward acne produce new skin cells too quickly. These cells die and are sloughed off into the pores. A plug is formed when excess dead skin mixes with sebum, the body’s natural oil. Sometimes the plug does not get infected and it becomes a whitehead or blackhead. If bacteria invade the pore, then an angry red bump can form, and this can result in painful nodules or cysts. No matter what type of acne you have, the bottom line is the same: your genes are largely to blame. 

Your lifestyle Impacts Your Body Acne

While genes are the main driver of acne, there are also many lifestyle choices that contribute to body acne flare-ups.

  • CLOTHING CHOICES: Consistently wearing tight, non-breathable clothing will exacerbate existing body acne. When you can, opt for loose-fitting pants and shirts. Instead of slipping on yoga pants at home after spending a day in skinny jeans, find some sweats that give your skin some room to breathe. Your butt acne will thank you for this. For chest and back acne, try not to wear tight-fitting shirts all the time, and opt for breathable cotton over synthetic fibers when possible.
  • It's very important to change your clothes as soon as possible after exercising! Staying in sweaty clothes for long periods of time is a great way to breed the kind of bacteria that aggravate clogged pores. Do yourself a favor and don’t linger in your gym clothes for too long. Your skin will thank you for it.
  • YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT (AND DRINK): Your skin is the largest organ in your body. If your body is not healthy because of poor nutritional choices, then you can’t expect your skin to be healthy! Eat healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods whenever possible. Drink tons of water, and cut out soda and sugary drinks. You’ll feel better, and your skin will reflect your newfound health.
  • CLEAN YOUR BED SHEETS REGULARLY, AND SLEEP IN THE NUDE: If you’re like me, then you’re super busy, and the last thing on your mind is changing your sheets, but you can imagine what sleeping in grimy sheets does to your acne-prone skin. It’s a disaster! Imagine grinding dirt and bacteria into your skin for multiple hours each day. That’s what’s happening when you lay down on dirty sheets, so don’t do it! Launder your sheets once a week, and use fragrance-free detergent. Then, once they’re nice and clean, sleep naked. This will give your skin lots of room to breath.
  • ACNE MECHANICA: Acne Mechanica is a fancy way of saying “acne caused by repeated rubbing,” and it’s one of the major causes of body acne. Back acne can be triggered by the repeated rubbing of backpack or purse straps. Chest acne can be triggered by your bra rubbing against your skin, especially in the underwire area. Butt acne can be triggered by the edge of your underwear pressing against your skin, or by your butt sitting on a chair all day. Luckily, acne mechanica is relatively easy to tackle- just eliminate the cause of the rubbing. For back acne, wear a different purse or backpack. For chest acne, get a different bra that doesn’t rub the same area, and make sure to wash it frequently. For butt acne, find underwear with seams that don’t dig into your butt, and stand as much as possible instead of sitting.
  • EXCESSIVE SCRUBBING OF SKIN OR PICKING AT PIMPLES: Many people believe that the best thing that they can do for their body acne is to scrub with soap in the shower as hard as possible. This is not true! Scrubbing too hard can irritate your existing blemishes and can spread bacteria from pore to pore. Instead, scrub gently with a clean washcloth. Also, I know that you’ve heard this a million times, but don’t pick at or try to pop your pimples. Your hands are dirty! The oil, dirt, and bacteria on your fingers will transfer to your blemish and exacerbate it. If you try to pop a pimple, you’ll spread bacteria into the tissue surrounding a pore, and this will turn it into a red, inflamed, angry bump. Instead of scrubbing, picking, and popping, handle your skin gently. The ingredients in Almond Clear will help to soften the plugs in your pores, and over time the plugs will slide out on their own.
  • RECOGNIZE THE ACNE-STRESS CONNECTION: Have you ever noticed that you break out right before or after a big job interview or test, or when you’re faced with a challenging life event? There is a big connection between the hormones that come with stress and with acne creation. It’s not always possible to reduce the things in your life that cause stress, but you can learn to cope better. Try meditation, yoga, or guided breathing exercises. They can help to calm stress, and thus calm-down your acne.


  • Help counteract your genes by zapping dead skin cells. As was explained above, if you have body acne past the teenage years, then you likely produce skin cells very quickly, and these dead skin cells end up blocking your pores. This is the number one driver of body acne. You need a product that will dissolve the dead skin and oil that cause these plugs. That’s what Almond Clear is here for! Its powerful ingredients penetrate the thicker pores on the body and zap dead skin and oil while also killing bacteria and fungus. Say hello to the freedom of clearer skin!

  • Make better lifestyle choices. In addition to finding a product to counteract the inherited tendency toward acne, you’ll need to make some lifestyle changes. Look at the above list of seven lifestyle choices that can flare-up acne. Pick two or three that you want to focus on, and create a plan for how to implement these changes. It made a huge difference for my body acne when I started wearing breathable clothing, changed out of my sweaty gym clothes as soon as possible, and stopped scrubbing at my skin like a maniac in the shower. What will make the difference for you? Write down your plan somewhere where you’ll see it, or add reminders to your online calendar. Making these lifestyle changes will play a big part in clearing your skin.

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