Say “Bye-Bye” to Bacne

By Maggie Staszcuk

Estheticians can get caught up in the exciting world of ingredients, devices, and trends to make our clients’ skin (primarily, their faces) look amazing. But it’s easy to overlook the body, which sometimes struggles with the same skin care woes as the face.  

We’re talking about body acne, and estheticians are primed to help their clients with this stressful skin condition. Acne affects nearly 80 percent of people at some point in their lives,1 and it’s estimated that 50 percent of people with acne on their face also have acne on their back.2  

Body acne is exactly what it sounds like and is accompanied by blackheads, pustules, or inflamed lesions. It usually shows up in areas that have a higher concentration of oil glands and can impact areas including the back, chest, and shoulders.  

There are six different types of acne lesions: 

  • Blackheads—Open comedone 
  • Whiteheads—Closed comedone 
  • Papules—Inflamed lesion, no pus 
  • Pustules—Inflamed lesion, with pus 
  • Nodules—Large papule, remains under the skin 
  • Cysts—Soft boils that fill with pus 

The cause of acne on the body is the same cause as acne on the face—oil and dead cells clog the pores, creating a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. Genetics and hormones are also contributing factors.3 

In addition to these internal causes, there are a few external causes that can contribute to or worsen body acne. Residue from hair products like shampoo and conditioner could clog pores, sweat and tight-fitting clothing that causes friction on the body can trap bacteria and lead to acne breakouts, and shower accessories are breeding grounds for bacteria, which can further contribute to inflammation.4 

The same treatments performed on the face can also be performed on the back, chest, or anywhere acne is cropping up. Back facials provide targeted treatment to this hard-to-reach area and include professional strength exfoliation and extractions. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are popular treatments that can also be performed on the body and are a great way to increase cell turnover and keep pores clear. Skin care therapists should also incorporate ingredients like retinoids, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. These products can be retailed in body acne kits for home use.  

Esty TalkLooking for more great content on acne and acne subtypes?

ASCP's Esty Talk episode 157, There's a Fungus Among us: Is It Acne Or Something Else?, breaks down the acne basics and addresses one of the leading acne healing trends on TikTok. 

Check out ASCP Esty Talk or subscribe to the podcast in the Apple Podcast Store, Google Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you access your favorite podcasts.

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