Sweat pimples suck and I bet everyone agrees on this. It is always that something that holds me back from buying tops or dresses with low cut. My chest or back acne is not always there, but they often appear suddenly on days when I need to wear more revealing tops or dresses – who can relate? A lot of times, your back acne or chest acne can be sweat pimples. Basically, it is a deadly combination of sweat, heat and friction with other surfaces that causes these pimples to appear. We have previously touched facial acne like pimples on temples on this blog. Now we will talk about sweat pimples, which normally appear on the body.
Does sweat cause pimples?
Sweat itself does not cause pimples. But a combination of sweat, bacteria on the skin, heat, friction with other surfaces like clothing can cause pimples to appear. Pimples are basically infection, and sweat alone will not cause infection.
How to get rid of these sweat pimples?
Whenever I have these pimples, there are some tricks that I have tried and worked well so far. You can test it yourself. There is no guarantee they will work, but it’s worth trying. I have little sweat pimples on my back now, as you can see in this photo here.
Cold(er) water for shower
The first time I had bacne breakout was during winter in Hong Kong. During that time, I really enjoyed taking a long hot shower after work. Little did I know, it caused a very bad breakout on my back. Huge angry pimples appearing on my back and I needed to treat them with my pimple cream. Eventually what calmed the pimples down was by applying moisturizer on my back. From this experience, I learnt that what caused the breakout was the skin on my back being overly dry and it was due to the hot shower.
From there, I tried to lower the temperature of the water I use for shower and when I wanted to indulge myself in hot shower I would still do it but for a shorter period of time. I would suggest using colder water for shower, or even cold water if you can take it. Apart from benefitting our skin, cold shower is good for our hair and also gives several other medical benefits.
Change the order within your shower routine
What is your shower routine? The best routine to get rid of sweat pimples is one that ensure residue from your conditioner does not remain on your back. This can aggravate the clogged pores that caused these pimples in the first place.
My routine is shampoo-rinse-conditioner-rinse-bodywash-rinse. Also, after rinsing the conditioner I’ll put my hair up so that it does not touch my back, and then i go ahead with my bodywash. Doing the bodywash at the last part of the shower routine will make sure that all the remains from the conditioner will be washed away.
Use gentle cleanser for your back
Skin on our back can be sensitive to harsh chemicals too. Similar to the way we treat our facial skin, use gentle cleanser without harsh surfactants for our back. I personally used Dettol (original) bar soap when I suffered from sweat pimples and back acne and it helped greatly in reducing the pimple occurrence. You can also use any body cleanser containing Salicylic Acid, which can help to exfoliate the skin chemically, not just physically.
Gently scrub the back and chest when showering
Your back is like your face, it needs some exfoliation once in a while. Use loofah or shower puff to scrub your back gently. Depending on the severity of the sweat pimples or back acne, be mindful when scrubbing your back. This is to avoid aggravating the sweat pimples by scrubbing it to hard.
Wear breathable fabric and looser fit for clothing
I am very picky about clothing material – it needs to be breathable and comfortable on my skin. I do not think this is the trigger of the pimples on my back, but I believe some clothing materials can increase the likelihood of sweat pimples. Avoid wearing tight and pressing clothing when you are having these pimples or back acne. Also, use materials that are breathable and sweat-absorbing like cotton. Sweat, humidity, and dirt trapped together is recipe for sweat pimples and back acne.
Avoid carrying backpack
This is based on my personal experience when I was studying for university in HK. Summer days are unforgivingly hot and humid. I always carried a backpack with my books and laptop inside. My back acne flared up during that time, which I believe is caused by the sweaty back and the backpack that I carried blocking the sweat from evaporating. Moreover, when your back is wet and then it comes into contact with your backpack that you wash only once in a while, the bacteria from your backpack can come in touch with your skin eventually. It goes without saying that this is a recipe for sweat pimples.. Let your back breathe by carrying tote bag temporarily!
How to prevent these sweat pimples? Or, is it possible to prevent it?
If you are active in playing sports and are often sweaty, it will be hard to prevent these pimples at all. Also, if you live in a humid hot weather, you can’t run away from sweat pimples either. You can lower the chance of getting these pimples though if you follow the recommendations above.
Nonetheless, sweat pimples or back acne issues are more than skin deep. There might be other factors that increase your tendency to develop sweat pimples or back acne. You can try to solve your body acne issues using a multi-pronged approach. For example, exercise more, do the Japanese water therapy, eat more fresh vegetables and eliminate junk food, take supplements that support skin health like zinc, among many others. The cause of these pimples/acne can vary greatly among individuals and there is no one size fits all solution so trial and error might be needed to find the best solution for yourself.
Learn more about acne and skin health with me!