3 Myths about Body Acne

If you have body acne, don’t subject yourself to self-criticism and judgment. Everything is okay, and body acne is very normal! In fact, about 95% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne to some extent. And among this population, more than half experience things like back acne. 

But, as we’re constantly exposed to unfair and unauthentic beauty standards, it’s very difficult not to stigmatize our body acne. And it’s even easier to believe myths about ourselves just because we have body acne. So, let’s address some of these myths and debunk these standards with knowledge.


Myth #1: Body acne is always related to hygiene.

We’re always told that body acne has something to do with cleanliness. But, this is simply not the case. Body acne is not always caused by a lack of hygiene. In reality, body acne can be caused by fabrics, chemicals on clothes, and even certain body products.

For example, tributyl phosphate, dimethyl fumarate, and disperse dyes are some of the chemicals scientists have found in garments, and these have the potential to cause reactions such as skin irritation in some people. So, running your new clothes through the washer can actually be essential to skincare.  

Staying away from synthetic fabrics such as acrylic, polyester, rayon, nylon, and acetate can also help. For sensitive skin, the safer options are cotton and linen. 

With synthetics, it’s more difficult for air to circulate against the skin. A hot and air-deficient environment can make breakouts more common. Tight clothing that is not breathable and can make the natural process of skin sloughing off (pushing dead skin cells off) more difficult. 

Plus, acne bacteria is anaerobic, meaning it can’t survive in the presence of oxygen. Oxygen helps to reduce the number of acne-producing bacteria on the skin's surface. So, you'll want breathable clothing.


There is also a form of acne called acne mechanica, which describes breakouts caused by mechanical means like straps, helmets, or other accessories pressing or rubbing against the skin over a period of time. The lack of airflow, pressure, heat, and friction can create rash-type breakouts. 

Myth #2: If you have body acne, you need to scrub harder. 

Since dead skin cells can contribute to acne, yes, consistently exfoliating the skin is good. But, scrubbing the skin can damage and irritate the skin barrier, especially if you do it too much or too fervently.

Because inflamed skin is more reactive, over-exfoliating can make the skin more vulnerable to a breakout. So, if you have sensitive skin or body acne, don’t overdo it. You don't need something rough to scrub the skin with when you shower, and you don't need to avoid moisturizing after a shower. Staying moisturized will actually help build your skin barrier. It's essential to support and replenish the skin after bathing.

However, using a moisturizer whilst having body acne can be concerning. As mentioned before, certain products, namely moisturizers, can cause pore clogging, oiliness, or irritation. So, here are a few body moisturizers without oil, and we also have a few suggestions for exfoliating moisturizers plus ones for dry skin and acne.  

Body moisturizers without oil + Body moisturizers for oily skin

Pyunkang Yul - ATO Moisturizing Soothing Gel Lotion


The INKEY List PHA Exfoliating and Hydrating Body Water Cream - $14


Mixsoon - Glacier Water Ice Soothing Gel


Exfoliating body moisturizer 

SOME BY MI - AHA, BHA, PHA Miracle Calming Body Lotion


Body Moisturizer for dry skin and acne

BYOMA Brightening Body Lotion 13.52 fl oz - $13.99


Myth #3: Body acne is caused by weight.

It’s true that excess weight can affect hormones, and likewise, it may be linked to changes in the skin. Excess weight is also associated with chronic inflammation, which can also affect the skin.


A correlation is not the same thing as a cause. To say that weight causes body acne is a sweeping generalization. Weight loss is not a proven treatment for acne. And thus, weight gain is not a definite cause.

Plus, hormonal imbalances and inflammation can definitely be present without excess weight. So, while acne can be exacerbated by excess weight, weight cannot be classified as a general cause of acne. 

So, if you have body acne, these are some debunked myths and tips to consider. Most of all though, it’s important to take care of yourself and to accept your body in this moment. Know that skincare and also self-care are a journey. You don’t have to be perfect. Know that you are worthy and more powerful than any stigma. You are doing your best, and no beauty standard can deny that!