Consultant Dermatologist Dr Catherine Borysiewicz was featured in the Evening Standard, in an article about body acne. Below, she shares her insight in dealing with the condition.
It is very common to see body acne (folliculitis) which can affect the chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms, back, torso and even the bottom. Body acne occurs when sweat remains on the skin, causing bacterial overgrowth and blocked inflamed pores. For those who have just started to develop acne, I advise individuals to look carefully at their skincare regimen and ensuring to shower and change out of their workout kit quickly. Products should be gentle and those which irritate already sore and inflamed skin should be avoided.
There’s a great selection of products on the market that help treat mild acne. These products contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide, all of which have slightly different modes of action from increasing turnover of the top dead layers of the skin to unclog pores, to blitzing bacteria. Everyone’s skin will respond in a slightly different way to each of these approaches and getting the right product for you can make a big difference.
Our skin naturally ‘turns over’ monthly, shedding the dull top layer of dead cells, to reveal newer healthy cells below. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are water-soluble molecules that work on the surface of the skin to loosen and release dead skin cells on the top layers of the skin. This increased rate of exfoliation of the skin surface and promotes cell turnover and improving the texture and clarity of skin-boosting skin thickness and stimulating collagen production. These products are useful for rough or scaling skin and improving fine lines and pigmentation. These agents can be irritating and make your skin more photosensitive so it is vital that you add in a daily high factor SPF to protect your skin. People with darker skin tones should take extra care as excess peeling can cause hyperpigmentation.
Examples of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA): Glycolic acid- smallest of the AHA molecules, Lactic acid and Mandelic acid.
BHAs are also effective chemical exfoliants which can loosen the upper layers of the skin to smooth texture. They are also oil soluble and able to penetrate into pores, taking this exfoliant activity to a deeper level. They are also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. These features make them fantastic for people with acne-prone skin.