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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-19-2004 12:13 PM
asparagus proactiv works for acne on back and chest too. i too tried everything, radically altering my diet, clothing soaps, but proactiv works.
03-12-2004 12:21 PM
Bobsy I've had this problem too; my chest, back and shoulders being particularly bad. My doctor prescribed antibiotics which cleared the worst of it up, but it came back within a couple of months. Since then I've been on BC pills that have worked wonders. My skin is totally clear, though you said that isn't an option for you. I can't be much help otherwise because no creams or lotions or scrubbing ever helped me at all.

It's been a few years now and I'm so nervous that the acne will come back as and when I come off the pill.
03-09-2004 10:53 PM
iceflower Why don't you talk to your docter about it and try antibiotics?

I went on a few different brands (at different periods) and my skin completely cleared up. I'm on BC pills at the moment because the ones on my face came back (but are all gone now) but the antibiotics worked great for my back.
03-09-2004 11:36 AM
toadstool I'd like to note that my skin has started to clear up since I've been using Burt's Bees tomato soap. But it could also be because my body is starting to adjust to the hormone changes.
03-09-2004 09:58 AM



Salicylic acid is a mild acid that works as a keratolytic agent it encourages the sloughing of dead skin cells. Its a safe, effective treatment for mild acne, oily skin, textural changes and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in patients of most skin types.


Mild acid solutions, such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid, can be effective on acne. These encourage the peeling of the top layer of skin and the opening of plugged follicles, which helps reestablish the normal skin-cell replacement cycle. For milder acne, salicylic acid helps unclog pores to resolve and prevent lesions. It does not have any effect on the production of sebum or the presence of P. acnes bacteria. Like many other topical acne treatments, salicylic acid must be used continuously, even after acne lesions have healed. Its effects stop when you stop using it, so your skin will return to its uneven shedding; pores become clogged, and acne returns.


The approved range of salicylic acid concentrations for acne treatment is 0.5%2%. This medicine can be very drying to the skin, even in low concentrations. If you experience dryness or irritation, take a look at the other skin products you're using. Some products can enhance the keratolytic properties of salicylic acid, leaving your skin dry. A few things to avoid when you are using salicylic acid products:

Abrasive soaps or cleansers

Alcohol-containing preparations

Any other topical acne preparation or preparation containing a peeling agent

(benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, sulfur, or tretinoin [vitamin A acid])

Cosmetics or soaps that dry the skin

Medicated cosmetics

Other topical skin medicine

NOTE: This medicine may be absorbed through the skin. If you are using salicylic acid over a large area of your body and wish to become pregnant, consult with your doctor.


Salicylic acid is present in many over-the-counter acne products, including lotions, creams, alcohol-based solutions and medicated pads. As with any product, read the label carefully and follow the instructions for proper use.


Dryness: The most common side effect, dryness, is usually mild. If the skin is visibly scaly, apply a light oil-free moisturizer.

Irritation: Children are more likely to get skin irritation from salicylic acid. If you experience mild irritation, try decreasing the frequency of use. If irritation is severe or persists even with infrequent application, discontinue use.

03-09-2004 09:52 AM
blueserendipity its been winter here

so i havn't been working out or sweating much lately

christy it sounds like your talking another language what is salycilic acid it sounds quite drastic?

lothar i don't think i've been consuming much Saturated fatty acids i am a vegan afterall

the pill isn't a option

and i don't think its very hormonal either
03-09-2004 07:04 AM
Christy That website I linked said to wait until your skin is dry to put on clothes, but I think it will bleach your clothes if you sweat, or just from wear.

I found another link. They solicited questions from WebMD visitors, and members of the American Academy of Dermatology answered them. (I actually submitted one.)
03-08-2004 10:39 PM
fennel Use the cream acne medication with benzoyl peroxide that comes in a tube. Buy the generic to save money, and use a lot of it. Use it like you would a lotion and put it on the entire area that is prone to breakouts. When the acne clears up, continue to use to keep it from coming back. This worked great for my sister.

But Christy is right about it bleaching your clothes so you might want to do this at bedtime and wear a shirt that you don't mind if it gets discolored.
03-08-2004 01:56 PM
The Hanged Man A honey & oatmeal (chuck in some dead sea salt as well) scrub will gently exfoliate your back - removing all dead skin cells and debris that can blocl pores and cause spots in the first place. Remember to scrub gently and to use a moisturiser afterwards.

Wear clothing that allows your skin to breathe and go easy on any heavy exercise.

Is it hormonal? Are you feeling particularly stressed at the moment?
03-08-2004 12:38 PM
toadstool Now that I've gone off BC pills, I've got the worst acne of my life--including on my back.

I'm just hoping and praying to goes away soon.

FYI--don't scrub it too hard!
03-08-2004 12:34 PM
Lothar M Kirsch Sometimes the composition of fatty acid matters or changes. Saturated fatty acids are often the culprid. May this have something to do with your problem?
03-08-2004 12:00 PM
monkeyandbunny I feel your pain! From age 14-my mid 20s I had terrible back acne. It wasn't until I went on birth control pills that my acne cleared up for good. If BC pills aren't an option for you, I was able to control the flair ups by using a body wash that contained tea tree oil.
03-08-2004 11:32 AM
Christy I feel your pain, since I have the same problems (in addition to my chest area). If you workout, shower immediately. I tried to get out of that by using salycilic acid pads afterwards, but it didn't work. Be sure to rinse your hair completely and avoid leave-in products. Put your hair up so that it doesn't hang down onto your sweaty back while working out.

I've had the best results with a salycilic acid body wash and "oil control pads", and a benzoil peroxide lotion. You can try a SA lotion instead, since BP will bleach clothes. It's just a lot of work. I have to constantly be on top of everything to keep if from flaring up. It also seems to be affected by my cycle, as does my facial acne (which is not as bad, since I use Proactiv).

This link talks about preventing body acne caused by workouts:

from this link:

Sun exposure helps acne.

Wrong! The Bronze Age is over! Minimal amounts of sun exposure may initially improve the appearance of acne as the skin darkens, blemishes may be less noticeable. But prolonged exposure promotes more rapid exfoliation of dead skin cells, so youre more likely to get clogged pores. In addition, acnes unsightly souvenirs, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and macules, will actually get darker if you spend time in the sun. Over time, sun damages the skin and increases the likelihood that your acne will leave scars. And of course, sun exposure dramatically increases your chances of getting some form of skin cancer. So play it safe and use sun protection products that are oil-free and have a sun protection factor (or SPF) of at least 15 for both UVA and UVB rays.

I'll continue to look, but the site linked above seems pretty helpful. Look at the treatments section, too.
03-08-2004 11:15 AM
blueserendipity while i do have a odd pimple here or there on my face the majority of my problem lies on my back. So far i've tried changing shampoo and conditioner, using body wash and even drying it out with the sun.

The sun seems to be the only thing that helps but i don't want to resort to get skin cancer just to remove acne.

I would appreciate any suggestions you have.

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