Choosing the Best Body Acne Wash: Which One is Right for You?

Acne sucks.

If you can’t help but feel jealous whenever you see somebody your age with a perfect, smooth and clean skin, I’m with you on that. There is a flip side though. In fact, around 85% of the world population have some type of acne, with body acne representing the largest amount of cases.

The truth is that developing acne on the face, back, neck, shoulders and other body parts is different for each individual. It depends on a ton of factors like genes, hormones, skin type, outside environment, dust, weather, humidity, etc. Don’t get discouraged though. Ending up with body acne isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially when it can be treated effectively. Below we will discuss in detail how body acne develops, how to avoid it and which body acne wash you should use to treat it.

How does body acne develop?

Just like face acne, body acne develops via the same mechanisms and can be found everywhere except your palms and feet soles. These two are the only parts of the human body that don’t contain sebaceous follicles – tiny secretory cavities that produce sebum (skin oil) – which play an important role in acne development. When the skin produces too much excess oil, skin pores get clogged, creating an ideal environment for dust, environmental debris and bacteria to gather inside and induce inflammation.

It is not uncommon for people to believe that the primary cause of body acne is sweat. While it’s true that people who sweat more are more prone to developing body acne, the prime reason is irritation. Anything that has a prolonged contact with the skin can cause irritation, with the most common examples being clothing and bed sheets. The sweat itself doesn’t cause acne, but when you combine it with damp, tight shirts, jeans, etc., it substantially increases the chance of acne development.

I wrote a detailed guide about best adult acne treatments!

How to avoid body acne development

While our social environment won’t tolerate nudity, there are still a few easy tricks that you can use regularly to avoid body acne development, or at least minimize it.


Shower Smart

Shower to prevent acne

Shower smart for acne prevention


Keeping your skin clean from excess oil, dust and environmental debris is your top priority. Make sure to shower every day and don’t hesitate to take one after visiting the gym. Ideally, you want to take a shower twice a day – in the morning and before going to bed. During the night, your body is constantly in contact with bed sheets, which are one of the favorite spots for bacteria, and needs to get cleansed after all that irritation. Similarly, taking a shower before bedtime will help minimize the chances of developing acne by reducing the amount of bacteria on your skin.

Also, change your washcloth as frequently as possible (ideally, every day), since bacteria can linger on those for long times, and put them under the sun to dry – sun rays destroy bacteria like there is no tomorrow! Finally, don’t skip hard-to-reach body parts – use a bristle brush to clean your entire back.


Keep your bed sheets clean

Apart from bacteria, dead skin cells, oil and debris gather inside your sheets as you sleep. Stick to a routine of changing your sheets frequently (once or twice a week is good enough) to minimize the chances of developing body acne. Avoid synthetic materials and stick to cotton if you can. Cotton doesn’t trap moisture (and oil) as much as the other materials and is very lightweight, making it a great choice for bed linens.


Use cotton clothing

Say no to synthetic materials when shopping for clothes. Yes, they might look better, yes, the tight materials showcase your body muscles and curves, but they also trap more oil and moisture, causing you to sweat a lot more, essentially enhancing acne development. Loose clothing that allows your skin to breathe vs. developing body acne – hell, the choice is obvious for me.


Get rid of germs

Public places (bathrooms, gym, etc.) are also loved by bacteria. Surely, you can’t avoid visiting those, but you can at least get rid of the germs. Wipe the gym equipment with antibacterial products and keep your hands clean – people subconsciously touch their body all the time, which transfers germs and bacteria. Always keep antibacterial wipes handy and clean your palms often. Lastly, don’t let sweat and oil rest too long on your body when in the gym – the faster you remove it, the less chances of increasing irritation.


Eat healthy

eat healthy to prevent body acne

eat healthy 


Research has proven that fast food, soda, sugar, potato chips, cakes, white bread and similar products are bad for skin and can induce acne development. Maintain a healthy diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meat. It’s ok to eat fast food or drink a can of soda occasionally – just don’t let it become a habit.

Include fish, flaxseed, oysters, all types and colors of veggies and fruits and probiotics into your diet. These will help reduce inflammation that is already present, and diminish the chance of developing acne in the future. It’s important to know that some people have latent allergies towards dairy products, particularly cow’s milk. Dairy products increase the production of sebum in your skin, while cow’s milk contains IGF-1 – growth hormone that increases acne size. If you are unsure about this, it’s best to exclude dairy products altogether

Check out how to use coconut oil for acne

How to choose the best body acne wash for your skin type

Body washes are essentially designed to keep your skin clean from all kinds of impurities, but acne prone skin requires a little extra attention. Here is what you should be considering when shopping for a body acne wash:


Active acne combating ingredients

When battling acne, simply cleansing the skin might not be enough. You need something that will not only remove oil, dust and debris, but also exterminate the bacteria that’s causing the painful lesions, and reduce inflammation – the primary cause of acne breakouts.


Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a keratolytic – an agent that helps improve acne symptoms by preventing skin pore clogging and enhancing skin regeneration – belonging to the same class of drugs as aspirin. When applied to the skin, it increases moisture and dissolves skin cells, allowing new ones to develop more quickly and rids the skin of excess oil and debris. Salicylic acid also helps curb inflammation and fight bacteria, and has been proven to successfully reduce acne by a number of studies

Salicylic acid containing body acne wash is a good choice if you have dark and/or dry skin. It is also a very aggressive ingredient, which can cause irritation if you have sensitive skin. Finally, make sure to take a test on aspirin drug class related allergies before usage.


Benzoyl peroxide

This active ingredient is used to treat mild to moderate acne. Benzoyl peroxide works by reducing inflammation, combating bacteriaand causing the skin to dry and peel, to later be replaced with new skin cells.

Benzoyl peroxide containing body acne wash is a good choice if you have oily skin. Keep in mind that acne might look worse at first, since the ingredient causes the skin to get warmer, drier and redder. You need to use benzoyl peroxide for around 4-6 weeks to see positive effects.


Tea tree oil

Although tea tree oil has slightly weaker properties compared to the other two, it is a natural ingredient that is proven to effectively combat acne-causing bacteria by studies and research. Tea tree oil containing body acne wash is a good choice if you have dry skin, or are allergic to aspirin class drugs (salicylic acid). Due to it being a natural ingredient, it also doesn’t cause irritation and is recommended if you have sensitive skin

Read about traditional chinese acupuncture to fight acne and acne scars


5 best body acne washes

1. Murad body acne wash

Murad body acne wash

Murad body acne wash combines the powerful effects of salicylic and glycolic acids to penetrate deep into the skin, allowing for a perfect exfoliation of oil, dead skin cells and debris, and reduces inflammation. The other two ingredients – green tea and licorice root extracts – help soothe the skin and reduce irritation.

Murad is designed to combat body acne,particularly back and chest acne. It is a good choice for people who have dry skin and frequent acne breakouts, as it helps reduce those in the future when used regularly. Customers repeatedly report successful body acne elimination and reassure about the somewhat high price saying that the wash is “worth every penny”. Have a look at more reviews here.


2. Panoxyl 10% Acne Foaming Wash

Panoxyl body acne wash

Panoxyl 10% acne foaming wash offers the highest strength of benzoyl peroxide available without a prescription. Thanks to such amounts of benzoyl peroxide, this wash kills bacteria instantly and helps prevent future breakouts. It also exfoliates dead skin cells, excess oil and debris, giving your skin a slightly red, fresh look.

Keep in mind that Panoxyl can be irritating if you have sensitive and/or dry skin. It is recommended for and shouldn’t be used with other acne treatment medications.


3. Tea Tree Skin Clearing Body Wash

Tea tree body shop

The natural soothing and moisturizing effects of the tea tree oil are combined with acne-combating bacterial effects in this body wash produced by The Body Shop. It helps reduce inflammation, cleanse the skin from dead cells, oil and dirt, and is designed to eliminate even the most stubborn back and chest acne.

Tea tree skin clearing body wash is an excellent choice for people with dry and sensitive skin, or those allergic to chemical ingredients. Finally, the product is frequently on sale, which makes it one of the most affordable body washes available on the market.


4. Proactiv Deep Cleansing Wash

Proactiv + acne

Proactiv combines the powerful effects of glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide to combat acne breakouts on the body and face. The healing process involves three steps.

It starts with glycolic acid penetrating and cleansing the skin of impurities, followed by benzoyl peroxide filling the pores to clear blemishes and prevent future breakouts. Lastly, other ingredients make the skin smooth, gentle and rehydrated, and reduce pore size.

This body wash has been around for over 20 years and repeatedly made into the top acne combating body wash lists by various health journals and magazines. Proactiv is a good choice if you have dry and sensitive skin. Have a look at customer reviews here


5. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash

Neutrogena body wash

Neutrogena is a dermatologist recommended body wash that utilizes salicylic acid as the active ingredient to cleanse the skin of imperfections and eliminate bacteria, in combination with other, gentler ingredients that help reduce irritation and inflammation.

This body wash is designed to fight acne on the chest and back and is perfect for people who have dry and sensitive skin. It’s important to note that customers have reported that while it’s perfect for fighting mild and medium breakouts, it can be ineffective against more severe cases.

While all the above recommendations are an excellent choice depending on the acne breakouts, body part and your skin type, it may be so that a certain body wash doesn’t help much, even if you match all the criteria.

Remember that each person is unique. If something doesn’t work, don’t get discouraged! Keep trying other types and brands of body washes to find the one that works best for you, using our guidelines for choosing active ingredients.

What body washes have you tried and which ones worked for you? Is there a body wash you would love to add to our list? Share your experience with us in the comments!