“I sweat a lot in the summer and get acne on my back and arms. Should I shower more frequently, and are there other ways to help prevent body acne in the summer months?”

Perspiration on the skin can trap bacteria and contribute to body acne. If you are finding that you are sweating a lot, you could consider showering more often, or  simply try “sponge bathing” to remove perspiration from the skin more frequently. It is important to remember, however, that frequent showering can irritate acne lesions for some people, for a few different reasons.

Over drying of the skin is one concern, so be sure to use cooler water if possible, keep your time in the shower short, avoid vigorous scrubbing and use a mild cleanser or soap-free product to wash the skin.

Dry off gently with your towel, as since rubbing can irritate acne lesions. Increased sweating at night may also contribute to body acne, so you should consider washing your sheets on a weekly basis.

Tight-fitting clothing can also be a problem, by trapping heat and moisture and irritating acne. Wearing loose-fitting clothing may be helpful. Quick dry fabrics that help wick moisture away from the skin may also be beneficial, particularly if exercising in the heat.

Shower immediately following exercise when possible, but if you are unable to do so, consider changing to a clean, dry shirt right way. If you find that you still are getting body acne using these strategies, an over the counter product for the management of body acne may help.

There are a number of different products available that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur. Since you may be treating a larger area (compared to the face), an acne wash or medicated cleansing bar would likely be easier to use than a lotion or gel.