As your body is covered in skin and acne is a skin disease, it can occur almost anywhere on your body although most people associate acne with the face. Acne vulgaris is usually found on the face and trunk (chest and back), which are areas where the skin has a relatively high number of hair follicles that are linked to sebaceous (oil-secreting) glands. Acne inversa is a chronic kind of acne that that occur in other areas of the body such as the genital area and buttocks and on the nape and scalp. Shaving of body hair might cause acne inversa to appear on the neck, chest and genital areas but this hasn’t yet been proven.
Acne is commonly characterised by an area of seborrhoea (overproduction of oils by the sebaceous glands in the skin) and lesions or pimples. Sebum, along with dead skin cells and bacteria, can build up in the hair follicles and clog them. A clogged follicle eventually breaks down and forms an acne lesion or pimple. There are different types of pimples: comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), papules (bumps) and pustules (pimples) and usually acne is a mix of these different kinds of pimples.
Acne mechanica is a local outbreak of acne due to pressure, friction, rubbing, squeezing or heat on the skin e.g. tight clothing or skin irritation caused by rubbing against damp clothing or backpacks or from laundry detergents in clothes. Athletes are at risk for this condition.
Body acne is usually treated in the same way as facial acne but it depends on what part of the body is being treated. For example, the skin on the upper back is relatively thick compared to other locations in the body so it can be treated with stronger medications sooner than other areas.
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