There’s no hiding from it:
Acne is an inevitable struggle that continues on well after our prepubescent middle-school days. We’re certainly not thrilled about dealing with random breakouts for the rest of our lives, but if we must, we might as well arm ourselves with the tools to treat irritated skin whenever it flares up (which is always at the worst possible time).
In the late summer months, the
body acne struggle is real, and it’s so much trickier to hide. Bacne, underarm bumps, and chest and butt acne can make putting on a backless top or bathing suit particularly stressful. But with the right products, you can clear it up quickly. Peel pads and spot treatments do wonders, but the real work starts in the shower — with body wash.
Ditch your caramel-strawberry-shimmery soap for one with tea tree oil, salicylic acid, or charcoal, and make sure to wash right after working out or hanging in a wet bikini by the pool. With these easy changes, you’ll be on your way to breakout-free skin forever.
Ahead, the best clarifying, exfoliating, and smoothing body washes for your skin type.
Mario Badescu’s A.H.A Botanical Body Soap helps exfoliate the skin and smooth irritated areas with ingredients like papaya, grapefruit, and ginseng extract. Ulta reviewers noted that it was especially potent on back acne, and some saw results just days after using it daily.
Mario Badescu A.H.A Botanical Body Soap, $8, available at Ulta Beauty
Proactiv — the first brand you ever associated with acne clearing thanks to incessant commercials on MTV — now has its own dermatologist-developed body wash to help clear pimples and blackheads.
Proactiv Proactiv Deep Cleansing Wash, $35, available at Proactiv
This non-irritating wash brings together salicylic acid (to clear clogged follicles) and other natural, acne-fighting ingredients like licorice and bergamot. There’s eucalyptus and tea tree extracts that soothe the skin in there, too.
Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash, $38, available at Ulta Beauty
Black soap is one of the oldest beauty secrets in the book — and for good reason. It sops up oil, clears acne, tightens skin, helps fade scarring, and exfoliates. But it can be a bit stripping for some, which is why this wash has aloe and vitamin E to soothe and hydrate, too. SheaMoisture African Black Soap Body Wash, $9.99, available at walgreens.com
Our editors swear by this natural soap bar in the summer season: It’s made with tea tree extract, activated charcoal, and tons of healthy oils and butters that are key for clear skin. Plus, it’s under $10 and lasts months.
Level Naturals Tea Tree + Activated Charcoal Bar Soap, $8, available at Level Naturals
Love working out? Try using a
gentle exfoliating cleanser that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide so you can remove sweat before it gets trapped in you pores. SkinCeuticals Clarifying Exfoliating Cleanser (5 fl oz.), $34, available at DermStore
We love The Body Shop’s entire Tea Tree Oil line for breakout-prone, combination skin types. Just sniffing the scent is enough to clear sinuses; after a quick scrub, you’ll feel cleaner than a newborn, but never dry and tight.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Body Wash, $15, available at The Body Shop
It’s difficult to treat acne you can’t see, especially when it’s on your back. Celebrity aesthetician
Reneé Rouleau suggests using an antibacterial cleanser. “It is crucial to gently remove the buildup of skin cells on your back by exfoliating every time you shower,” she says. Put it on a body brush or loofah with a handle and go to town on hard-to-reach areas. Noxzema Noxzema Ultimate Clear Daily Deep Pore Cleanser 6 oz, $4.92, available at Walmart
Another great alternative for back acne is this wash from Murad. Paired with the brand’s
Clarifying Body Spray, it helps soothe current breakouts and prevent future ones. Murad Acne Body Wash, $40, available at Sephora
Have dry skin
and acne? No problem: This creamy wash is made for all skin types. It’s got glycolic acid to exfoliate, vitamin E to moisturize, and vitamin C to brighten discoloration. One editor swears by it for taming bikini bumps, too. VI Derm Exfoliating Body Wash (8 fl oz.), $40, available at DermStore
With over 250 five-star reviews on Sephora, this product is an all-star. Technically, it’s for the face, but it clears up chest acne like a boss.
Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Face and Body Soap, $16.5, available at Sephora
This citrus-scented cleanser is a fan favorite at the drugstore, and for good reason. The body wash contains salicylic acid, vitamin C, and grapefruit extract — all brightening, zit-blasting heroes — but will only set you back around $6.
Neutrogena Neutrogena® Body Clear® Pink Grapefruit Acne Body Wash – 8.5 fl oz, $6.69, available at Target
If you’re looking to combat your body acne but made the executive decision to shower in the AM — being that you already laid eyes on your bed, and now there’s no going back — we’ve got the product for you. No water required, these gentle yet
effective wipes get the job done by fighting impurities with 2% salicylic acid. Asepxia Asepxia Acne Medication Wipes 25 ct, $8.99, available at Target
This unique product serves as a two-for-one: an exfoliating scrub and detox mask in the very same tube. Massage on wet skin for exfoliation, or leave on dry skin for 5-10 minutes as a mask. Bonus:
The brand ‘s signature fragrance of pistachio and salted caramel will mentally transport you to a rainforest shower in Brazil instead of your bathtub in Brooklyn. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bod Buff Smoothing Scrub ‘N’ Mask, $25, available at Sephora
If you’re looking to amp up your post-shower
acne body treatments, this scrub does the prep work for you. It unclogs pores and controls oil production to help your skin better absorb the rest of your regimen. Peter Thomas Roth Acne Face & Body Scrub, $28, available at Sephora
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