Why You Should Swap Body Scrubs For Toner To Fight Body Breakouts
It's an unfortunate truth: Anywhere you have a pore, you can have acne. What's more, as warm weather comes around, you'll often accrue more oil in sweatier places like the back, hairline, butt, etc. This can result in clogged pores, which, you guessed it, can then lead to acne.
Treating body acne is actually not too different from treating breakouts on the face: You want to keep up with exfoliation, use acne-fighting ingredients, and, as always, tend to the moisture barrier. The skin on your body can generally tolerate a higher percentage of active ingredients than your face, mainly because the skin is thicker and generally less sensitive. Still, some products can be way too aggressive—namely, harsh scrubs. Here, a worthy swap.
Why you should avoid harsh scrubs to treat body acne.
Board-certified celebrity dermatologist Kim Nichols, M.D., FAAD, warns her clients against using harsh products on the body to treat acne. "While you may think using harsh shower scrubs is good for preventing body acne, they can lead to irritation and over-exfoliation, just like they do on the face," she says.
What does over-exfoliation look like? Typical physical signs include redness, small bumps, and dryness or flakes. Your skin may feel more sensitive to the touch and react strongly to products as well. You can easily over-exfoliate by using coarse body scrubs, especially if you're rubbing too hard or for too long. Of course, not all body scrubs are bad (in fact, here's a list of our favorite gentle buffers), but it's important to know what your skin can and cannot handle.
Other products to treat body acne.
Nichols suggests swapping out that scrub for another underrated body product: toner. "Toners are a great addition to body care routines because they refresh the skin without stripping away natural moisture," she explains. Those with acne-prone skin should look for an acne-fighting toner in particular.
Seek out the following ingredients to ensure you're using the right product: Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, tea tree, benzoyl peroxide, witch hazel, and lactic acid.
One worthy pick is the Soft Services Clearing Mist. This spray-on tonic has salicylic acid, zinc, and niacinamide. Together, this works wonders to combat existing acne, prevent future breakouts, fade hyperpigmentation, and regulate sebum production. Not to mention, the practical spray bottle makes treating hard-to-reach areas like the back that much easier.
You can also look for these toning ingredients in a body wash. Just remember to only use these washes on the affected area and stick to something gentle and hydrating for the rest of your body.
It's common to think you can scrub away body acne, but that's going to result in more harm than good. Using harsh scrubs on these affected areas can actually cause over-exfoliation, which will lead to even more problems. Instead, reach for a toner that's made specifically for treating body acne. Be sure to follow up with body lotion to ensure your moisture barrier stays intact. If you're looking for more expert advice on clearing body breakouts, check out these three need-to-know tips.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.