All-Natural Ways To Get Adult Body Acne Under Control

If you're prone to get pimples on your shoulders, back or chest, these natural remedies may help.

Beauty & Fashion

If there are two things that I thought would slow down once I hit 45, it was menstrual cycles and body acne. But nope—my periods still run like clockwork and, it's fairly common for me to get a couple of zits on my back and shoulders once a month. Well, it's common if I'm not proactive in taking measures to make sure that I don't experience any breakouts.

I must admit that eating less dairy, getting more rest and washing with sulfur soap have done wonders to keep pimples at bay. But there are a few other all-natural intricate things that I've added to my skincare regimen that has definitely made it more difficult for acne—and the scars that they typically leave behind—to pop up on any part of my body.

If you've got body acne bouts that have been getting on your very last nerve, here's what you should definitely try out.

1. Make Your Own Soap


Black soap. Sulfur soap. Off top, those are two soaps that I can definitely vouch for when it comes to gently-yet-effectively treating body acne. But something else that I'm a fan of is making my own soap, because I can customize what works for me and what doesn't. An herbal soap recipe that will definitely give your breakouts a run for their money is a soap that contains neem, palm, tea tree and peppermint essential oils.

You can get the recipe here. Just make sure to moisturize your skin after using it with something like shea butter, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil or pure Aloe Vera gel to reduce any risk of inflammation. It's a great recipe but it is also a pretty potent one.

2. Apply an Apple Cider Vinegar Spritz


It really is another article for another time, all of the things that apple cider vinegar can do; one of them is kill the bacteria that causes acne. It's able to do that because of all of the acids that are in it—acetic, citric, lactic and succinic acid. The key is to use the kind of apple cider vinegar that has the mother in it (like Braggs) and dilute it with water (because it's very strong!). Do this by mixing one-part vinegar with three-parts water. I think it's best to put it in a spritz bottle; that way, you can spray it directly onto your skin.

Just make sure to close your eyes when you do (vinegar can burn) and that you do it 30 minutes for going out. That will give the stench of the vinegar time to go away.

3. Heal Scars with Frankincense Essential Oil


I think the thing that I hate the most about body acne is, no matter how well I treat it, some sort of mark is going to be left behind. Ugh. Just ugh. I will say that my skin heals pretty quickly (scars fade within three weeks or so), but that doesn't mean that a well-placed acne scar doesn't sometimes dictate what I will or will not wear.

If that is your dilemma, frankincense oil has got your back (pun intended). Personally, I like the scent of the combination of frankincense and myrrh, so I definitely have no problem applying this to my skin in order to treat acne scars. Matter of fact, I recommend applying the combo. Myrrh will help to detox your skin, and frankincense is able to soften up scar tissue so that it is less obvious. Something else that is cool about frankincense oil is it contains anti-inflammatory properties, is able to increase the growth of new skin cells and it contains a property called farnesol that will improve your skin's elasticity too.

4. Nix Foods That Have a High Glycemic Index (GI) and a High Glycemic Load (GL)


There is a whole science behind this part of the conversation, but probably the best way to put it is there are certain kinds of foods that kick our sebum production (a natural oil in our system and can sometimes clog our pores and cause acne) into overdrive. More sebum, more clogged pores. More clogged pores, more acne.

What kind of foods make the list? Sweet cereals, instant cereals, all-things-white (white pasta, white rice, white bread, white potatoes, etc.) and all-things-dairy too. Also, foods that you are sensitive to that can lead to inflammation should be avoided, along with whey protein and dried fruit because they trigger your insulin levels which can also cause acne.

5. Take Some Milk Thistle


Ever since I was in my 20s, I've had relatives who wanted me to add the supplement milk thistle to my diet. I didn't listen, but I should have because it really has done wonders for the quality of my health. Milk thistle is a flowering plant that is located in Mediterranean countries. For years, people have used it to treat jaundice, hepatitis, reduce cholesterol and insulin resistance, boost immunity and even stop the spread of certain types of cancer.

I use it because it also has a great reputation for detoxifying the liver and promoting skin health. It makes sense how the two work hand in hand because, the less toxins that are in your body, the less acne that tends to pop up. (Milk thistle also contains antioxidant and anti-aging properties as well.)

6. Drink Some Kefir


Kefir is fermented milk; it's kind of like buttermilk. So yeah, it's not necessarily the best-tasting thing in the world. And before you even say that you'll bypass its taste by eating yogurt instead, here's the thing about that—yogurt is fermented bacteria while kefir is fermented bacteria and yeast. Because it contains both, drinking kefir on a consistent basis will keep your blood sugar under control, keep your gut health on track, make you less lactose intolerant, help to heal vaginal and yeast infections and also reduce your breakouts.

On the breakout tip, it does that by healing your stomach and your skin with the probiotic lactoferrin. It works so well that one study reveals that drinking a glass of kefir, on a daily basis, can reduce acne lesions by as much as 39 percent (over a four-month period).

7. Dry Brush (or Use Exfoliating Gloves)


Clogged pores are what lead to breakouts, and one of the main causes of pore blockage are dead skin cells. Since our skin sheds a whopping 30,000 cells a day, due to the sebum and dirt that also sticks to our skin, it's important to exfoliate it too. You can do this by dry brushing (which is also an effective way to reduce the appearance of cellulite) or by putting on those cute exfoliating gloves that you should even be able to find at your local grocery store. Both of these will loosen up the dead skin on your body so that the cells will wash off instead of clogging up your pores.

8. Try Some Cinnamon


There really isn't too much that cinnamon isn't good for. It fights heart disease, reduces inflammation, decreases menstrual discomfort, fights infections and viruses, helps to prevent candida and yep, it's also really good for your skin. Due to the powerful antibiotic and antimicrobial properties found in cinnamon powder and oil (especially if you mix it with a little bit of raw honey), cinnamon can keep rashes, skin allergies and also acne at bay.

The reason why it works so well in the acne department is because it contains properties that are able to kill the acne-causing bacteria P. acnes. Just make a paste out of cinnamon and water or cinnamon water and honey. Apply it directly onto your pimples (it's best if they aren't ones that you have popped; cinnamon is strong and could irritate those), and let the paste sit for 15 minutes. If you do this three times a week, you should see a significant difference within seven days or so.

9. Take Off Your Bra When You Get Home


For the most part, I work from home. Because I wear anywhere from a GG to an H bra (depending on where I buy it), this means that I usually don't have a bra on. This also means that whenever I go out and put one on, there is a part of me that can't wait to get back home, just to take that bad boy off.

Sometimes, depending on what the weather is like outside, I will notice a pimple or two, right in the spots that my bra was covering. I know what's causing it—sweat and my skin's inability to breathe as much as it would like to. This is why it's important to wash your bras (every couple of weeks is fine) using a detergent that has as few chemicals as possible. It's also a good idea to get professionally fitted for a bra on an annual basis (because your shoulder straps should not be digging into your skin, which could also potentially lead to breakouts). And yes, so that your skin can feel free again, take your bra off as soon as you walk through your front door. (Spraying a little witch hazel onto your shoulders and back can't hurt either!)

10. Change Your Sheets Regularly


I'm hoping that you change your bedding every week, just like your mama made you do back when you were little. But if you do happen to skimp on that sometimes, here's a blaring reminder of how important it is to do. 6-8 hours of your life, every night, is spent in bed. This means that some of the dead skin cell shedding that we talked about earlier? Yeah, it happens, right in the midst of you catching some much needed zzz's. By changing your sheets, it helps to keep the cells from clinging to your pores. If you sleep naked, that's even better, because you won't sweat as much; that will reduce your chances for back and shoulder breakouts even more. Sweet dreams!

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

What Your Breakouts Could Be Telling You About Your Health

7 Natural Remedies For Hormonal Acne

6 Ways To Unclog Your Pores & Minimize Breakouts

This Is Why Your Skincare Routine Isn't Working

Feature image by Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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