Welcome to Dear Derm, our video series in which dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, shares serious skin-care realness. In each episode, she’ll answer your most burning beauty questions and give you all the tools you need to take your glow game to the next level. See All

When warm weather hits, the increased sweat and humidity can spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e for those with acne-prone complexions—and the resulting breakouts aren’t just limited to your face. The body acne struggle is real, and in the latest episode of Dear Derm, board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, is breaking down exactly how to deal with it.

“Backne can be particularly common in the summer months, because sweat gets trapped under clothing… and creates clogged pores and acne,” says Dr. Gohara, adding that the same issue can pop up on your chest and shoulders, too. When it comes to treating these frustrating—and often painful—pimples, there’s one ingredient that she says may be missing from your routine: “Our good friends, the tried and true retinoids.”

Retinol is known as the gold-standard for fighting facial acne, and migrating the ingredient south of your neck can be beneficial. “As far as I’m concerned, retinol is like the panacea for acne, backne, and other skin issues,” says Dr. Gohara. “It will prevent lesions from coming out and prevent the existing ones from going away, and because it stimulates cell turnover, it will also help to reduce the amount of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or discoloration that comes as a result of those annoying pimples on your back.”

While you can certainly invest in a retinol body lotion to help diminish backne, you can also save a few bucks by simply repurposing your facial serum. “Put your energy into getting a great over-the-counter retinoid product, use a pea-sized amount, put a dab on each shoulder blade, rub it in and leave it on until morning,” says Dr. Gohara.

This simple routine addition will do so much to help breakouts on your back and elsewhere on your body. Though retinol can make a major difference in treating body acne, it can’t do it all on its own. To find out what else you need to keep your head-to-toe complexion clear, check out the video above.

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