If you deal with acne, you’ve probably developed a strategy that helps you cope. You might swear by pimple patches, make the most of your concealer, or turn to a prescription treatment when breakouts get really bothersome. But when you’re contending with body acne, things get a little trickier — it’s not so easy to treat pimples that pop up in the middle of your back.
Luckily, there are plenty of products formulated to target this not-so-uncommon issue, and one that more than 9,000 Amazon shoppers swear by is CeraVe’s Salicylic Acid Body Wash (Buy It, $16, amazon.com).
The key acne-fighting ingredient in the product from this TikTok-approved brand is salicylic acid, which dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi, M.D., of La Jolla Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center, explains “is an exfoliating agent that removes dead skin cells and debris to keep pores clear and prevents them from clogging, which is the first sign of acne formation.” The ingredient is commonly found in acne-fighting face wash and exfoliators, so when it’s formulated in a body wash, it can help to target pimples that may persistently pop up on your back, shoulders, and other areas. (Psst, here’s what you need to know about salicylic acid.)
There is a caveat: If you want to see real results from this kind of product, you have to use it differently than you would any other body wash. Instead of lathering it up and letting your shower head immediately wash it away, you should let it sit on your skin for five minutes before rinsing it off, Dr. Shirazi says. And if your acne persists, she adds that you might find better results from a spray treatment, like Replenix’s Acne Solutions Gly/Sal Body Spray (Buy It, $26, amazon.com) — which has a higher concentration of salicylic acid than the CeraVe Wash — since leave-on products are more effective than those that wash off. (Related: The Best Body Acne Treatments to Fight Blemishes from Head to Toe)
Still, many Amazon reviewers find that CeraVe’s body wash does the trick when it comes to acne and keratosis pilaris, those small red bumps that are caused by a buildup of keratin in hair follicles. “This is helping to clear up my back acne,” one reviewer wrote. “The formula is thick like a gel so it stays in place in the shower and gives you time to rub it in and spread it around before the water washes it away. It’s not overly drying, so you don’t get that tight, itchy skin feeling after you dry off.”
“[It] works in days to get rid of the ingrown hair bumps I get on my butt, backs of my thighs, and backs of my arms,” another shopper raved. This is truly scent- and fragrance-free! My skin is extremely sensitive. I carefully followed the instructions and this did not irritate my skin.”