T Nation

Problems with Acne


As I mentioned in title, I got acne problems that I never had before.

I don’t know why, but for some strange reason I have none of the acne on my face. My face is acne free.
All of them are on my chest, back and shoulders, few appeared on my legs.

I shower regulary, and I’m clean all the time. Can maybe hot weather be what’s causing this?


How old are you and are you on anything that could affect your hormone profile?


22yo. And I’m not taking any drugs or steroids.


that kind of acne seems to be related to your sebaceous glands working overtime. At 22, you are not exempt from hormone changes. If you can afford it, I’d go see a dermatologist. You may need a low dose antibiotic or some dietary changes.


This is Mrs. (Dr.) Jewbacca. Although, I am not a dermatologist, I’ve been seriously considering writing an article about prevention of acne in people who perform strenuous exercise.

Very briefly:

Your body may have hormonal issues, especially if you are young or are carrying excess fat. Loose weight if this is the case, but getting tested for excess estrogen helps with the underlying problem (possibly even some kind of anti-estrogen). That said, even getting estrogen dialed in, it takes a long time to clean up the acute outbreak.

Your body is actually the best thing to clean up the acute attack. You already possess the best method for removing blockages and bacteria from your skin — sweat. You need to optimize your sweat’s ability to clean your skin ---- and you need to remove the bacteria from your skin promptly after sweating (or it just goes back in).

There are some really excellent OTC products for doing this ---- and you not only need to shower, but shower smartly.

I’d start with getting a shower gel that contains salicylic acid – it’s usually some sort of citrus smelling stuff with a mild abrasive. The SA dissolves the dead skin and oils that are in the pores. (I am not a huge fan of body washes with benzoyl peroxide. While BP is a great topic product, body washes don’t stay on the skin long enough to kill the bacteria. They mainly just dry a person out.)

Anyway, assuming you have no major endocrine issue (or are getting it taken care of), shower with warm/cool water and scrub with a SA product. Leave it on the skin for a bit while you do the rest of your shower to give it time to do its thing.

Now, work out immediately or within a couple of hours of doing this. (For example, shower in the AM and work out at lunch.)

Your sweat will then be able to get the gunk out of your pores.

NOW, immediately after working out. Shower again. If you want to use a BP wash, this is the time. But really just soap or even just clean water works fine.

There are a couple of other things that can be done in conjunction with the above protocal:

BP cream is great, but hard to apply on backne – some sort of applicator is the key here – or a very patient wife who is not easily grossed out.

There are other things to thing about to prevent re-application of bacteria and gunk — clean shirts are a must. If you wear cotton shirts, go bleach the heck out of them or at least run them on a sani-wash.

Sleep in a clean shirt and change you sheets (especially pillow cases) regularly.

If the situation doesn’t greatly improve in a couple of weeks, it’s time to move on to prescription medication.

First, keep doing the above, then add the medicine. An oral tetracycline is probably the first choice. A better (but harder to apply to the back) choice is a topical antibiotic like Cleocin T.

There are some other, much more serious, meds. Isotretinoin (formerly sold as Accutane) works very well at getting rid of severe acne. It also causes depression, suicides, inflammatory bowel disease, and a host of other issues. Because of the danger, it should be a last, last resort. It works, but at a severe cost. Pretty much need to have a face that scares people to legitimately resort to it.

In fact, before Accutane, I’d try a “home remedy” that works well — but not while on tetracycline above – go get a really bad sunburn. No dermatologist would ever tell you to do this b/c cancer and all the other risks from a bad sunburn.

But a bad sunburn will activate the healing process of the skin, and you peel off the infected parts of skin. Coupled with the basic clean-sweat-clean protocol above (and perhaps tetracycline 3-4 days AFTER the sunburn) almost everyone is good to go.

Note, I am not telling you that is a good idea, or that it would work for you, but it does work for many people.


A good product I’ve used in the past is an apricot scrub (forget who makes it), which my wife uses periodically on her face. It is mildly abrasive (has some kind of small seeds in it), and I believe it may have SA in it as Dr. Jew mentioned above. When a breakout starts, it typically only takes one or two applications of this stuff in the shower and it clears right up. Check the beauty section at your local store.


Scrubs are some of the worst things you can use if you already have pimples. They are good for exfoliation/cleaning out pores but, to use them on active/ inflamed acne can cause irritation which can lead to over production of oil or damage, which may lead to scarring. I never understood why people would use scrubs on acne. Think about it, you are told to not touch/ pop pimples but, you are going to use an abrasive product akin to rubbing your face with sand? It makes no sense.

Like Mrs. (Dr.) Jewbacca SA or BP gels and washes can work but, even then I really think they only work on black heads and whiteheads. They will not help with any type of nodule/ cystic acne as they will not penetrate deep enough.


What kind of acne? What is you diet like and has anything changed? Not necessarily types of food but, amounts and macros.

EDIT: I believe you mentioned in another thread you upped your calories and are eating higher fat i.e. lots of bacon, almonds, and peanuts. All of those are high in omega-6 fats and are highly inflammatory. I am willing to bet that is the issue.


Thanks! This is a real detailed answer :blush:


@maverick88 yes I upped my total calorie intake.
And yeah, I am intaking fair ammounts of fat. And consuming fair ammount of dairy.

Besides that, only other lifestyle changes are that now I sleep more than before and I am taking some supplements (multivitamin pill + vitamin D pill + vitamin C and Zinc pill + mineral pills which are mainly Mg with other minerals)


This is Mrs. Jewbacca, again.

Unless you are truly eating pure crap, diet is really only marginally related to acne. They’ve done a ton of studies on this, and you pretty much have to be eating so poorly (or so much) that you’ve screwed up your endocrine system. A healthy bulking diet does not do this (again, unless you are fat, in which case lose fat first, as fat creates estrogen).

Regarding various posts, yes, the cleanse (with SA) – Sweat – rinse protocol is really to set a base for healthy skin and will eventually resolve acne. It’s more preventative. Mild-to-moderate active acne will generally go away over time with this.

A mild scrub is fine on anything. Something harshly abrasive (like St. Ives) is pretty tough if you are dealing with a severe active break out, yes. The goal is to open the pores, not create gaping wounds.

If things are truly bad, follow the cleanse-sweat-rinse approach, but also get meds: topical or general antibiotic often coupled with a steroid shots/pills to reduce the inflammation. What this is, just depends on your situation and your doctor.

Again, unless you are scaring children, stay away from Accutane.


I’m skinny. You can see few of my ribs. My bodyfat percentage is really low.


I immediatley stopped eating those when I read what you wrote.

It’s only been 2-3 days ago, I don’t know if it’s too early to say but it seems that there’s some improvement.
Only 2-3 new acne appeared total, and before, 5-6 of them would appear daily. And old ones are healing pretty well.


hows your diet? sugar and dairy are pretty bad for acne.


No sugar.

I cut down on dairy, almonds and bacon and that alone made acne disappear


good. no need to worry about fatty foods tho. it’s the inflammation that’s bad. also, vit d3 is a miracle for healthy skin