Skin expert Eavanna Breen's top tips when it comes to body acne
Getting our skin summer ready.
The summer months are here and this means we have a lot more skin on show than we're used to, and with that, for some of us, comes visible body acne.
While there are an abundance of reasons we might experience acne in places other than our faces, and while there is nothing wrong with it, we can have a lot of insecurities when it comes to body acne.
Skin expert and clinical director at Akina Beauty, Eavanna Breen, has given Her.ie her top tips when it comes to clearing up body acne, and the reasons we tend to get it in the first place.
"It is genetics, it's hormones, it can be for a number of different reasons, it could be that they don't shower quickly enough after they've been working out and bacteria builds up on the skin.
"You have that build up of bacteria in the skin, on top of the skin after exercising. A lot of guys and girls, when they are athletic, they would be protein drinks, whey protein and there is a correlation between acne and dairy products.
"If I see young guys or girls coming into me and they have problems with their back or chest [acne], I would ask them do they [drink] protein shakes and to take the whey out and go to a vegan one instead."
Dairy doesn't necessarily cause acne, Eavanna says, acne is worsened on those who are more sensitive to dairy products and it can aggravate acne. While it is not everyone, those more sensitive to it and already suffer from acne might see it flare up more when they consume these products.
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Eavanna's advice here is to either remove it from your diet completely for a few weeks and if you want dairy back, start slowly reintroducing it but reduce the amount you take in.
This is one way you can treat body acne, but if this isn't the reason it is flaring up, there are other ways to treat acne on the body.
Much like acne on your face, hydration and a skin care routine are essential. While you don't need as vigorous of a process like on your face, a routine of some kind is important, and staying consistent with it is the key.
Eavanna says: "Having a good hygiene routine, after sports making sure you're not going off for a coffee before you go home to have a shower so the bacteria doesn't have time to linger.
"That you're taking care of the skin on your body as well, that you're using a suitable cleansing product, that you are hydrating the skin.
"People with acne can often feel if they put moisturiser on, it's going to make their acne worse because they feel it's oily and it might cause more oil but that couldn't be further from the truth."
As Irish people typically have a dry form of acne, hydration is needed much more, and Eavanna notes how important it is to use it both on the skin and internally.
Certain ingredients are also needed to help balance out acne on the body, and there are a few we should keep an eye out for when buying products.
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Salicylic acid, retinol, lactic acid and SPF are four ingredients that will give major benefits for dealing with acne.
Salicylic acid breaks down oil in the pores and exfoliates, retinol stimulates collagen production, and using an SPF is so much more important than just preventing sunburn.
When we have acne, UV rays can deplete the collagen in our skin and while acne can clear up in the sun, it is not the solution.
Eavanna says: "You need collagen to heal and repair the tissue and prevent scarring. UV rays deplete vitamin C in your skin and you need vitamin C to work as an antioxidant. Sunscreen is important for more than preventing sunburn."
When our skin clears up in the sun, Eavanna says part of it is to do with less stress while a major part is because it has dried up. With dehydration and no oil on the skin, our bodies begin to produce its own as soon as we're back to Irish weather and acne can immediately flare up again.
Eavanna spoke about a condition that is extremely common called keratosis pilaris, or chicken skin. This is when the skin on your arms, legs, back or even bum can appear bumpy and red, but not irritated.
It is easy to treat, it again must be consistent and lactic acid is your best friend in this situation. While this is formed from swollen hair follicles rather than acne, a lot of people deal with it without knowing how to treat it.
She said: "That can be treated very well with lactic acid, vitamin A and retinol. Simple things like doing a body brush on a daily basis and using a moisturiser that contains a little bit of lactic acid can really help that.
"That's a condition that can be easily treated, taking an omega oil supplement will help with that as well, even a vitamin A supplement. It's an easy enough condition to work on but as with anything with skincare, it needs to be consistent."