What to Do About It: It pays to be a little gentler on your neck, since skin there is only a little thicker than facial skin. Hormonal pimples beneath the skin will likely resolve on their own, but if they’re really bugging you, see your derm for a cortisone injection, which will flatten those suckers within 48 hours. But treat the back of your neck like it’s body acne, says Dr. Bowe – meaning, shower with a body wash laced with salicylic acid like Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Body Wash ($9, ulta.com). Sorry, dry-shampoo devotees: If you regularly notice zits on the back of your neck, that’s a sign you need to wash your hair on a more frequent basis.
Where: All Over Your Chest
Why: The skin on your chest is actually very similar to that on your face – and super delicate. “Whenever I see someone with acne on their face, I ask if it’s on their chest,” says Dr. Fusco. “Usually, it appears as tiny little red bumps and sometimes whiteheads, but not blackheads.” Those little red bumps could be folliculitis, a first-cousin of acne caused by an overgrowth of yeast (gross, but true). It’s often the result of sweat and friction – if, for example, you wear a cross-body bag and the strap rubs your chest.
What to Do About It: Pretend like your chest is your face – and treat it that way. “Use the same kind of wash you’d use on your face, like an unscented face cleanser,” advises Dr. Bowe. Try Dove Beauty Bar for Sensitive Skin ($5 for two, drugstore.com). The skin is so thin on the chest that if you dry it out with harsh scrubs or ingredients, it’ll only make matters worse. For severe cases, Bowe is a fan of the topical prescription cream Aczone.
Why: The back is the most common place for a body breakout, and it’s tougher to treat since the skin there tends to be thicker – and acne-fighting ingredients don’t penetrate as easily as they would your face. “This can be caused by a hormonal imbalance, overproduction of oil, and clothing that is too tight, like workout clothes,” says Dr. Bowe.
What to Do About It: First, make sure you’re rinsing off and changing out of your sports bra after spin class. Swap out your bubbly, lemon-scented cleanser for one that has acne-zappers like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and glycolic acid (try Murad’s Acne Body Wash, $40, murad.com, which pairs glycolic acid with salicylic to clear out problem pores). Then, because skin here is more resilient, start using a retinoid cream. “Put it on your back every night – ask a roommate or sibling to help rub it in – and you should see results in two weeks,” suggests Dr. Fusco. There are a ton of prescription options out there (Fusco likes Tazorac and Differin) but you could also try a less-potent OTC version, like SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream ($70, dermstore.com).
Why: Getting the odd bump on your butt might just be the most awkward thing ever (seriously, is there anything worse?). Sorry, skinny jeans. “It can be caused by wearing clothes that are too tight and not washing after sweating,” says Dr. Bowe. Dr. Fusco also points out that wet swimsuit bottoms are a prime breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria, and has noticed that bumps on the butt tend to happen more in patients who wear thongs instead of full-coverage underwear. That’s probably due to the friction of tight clothing on bare skin.
What to Do About It: Exfoliate! Dr. Bowe recommends Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasian Skin Exfoliant ($79, macys.com). For extra power, use it after you wash with an anti-acne body wash. And, of course, bring on the skirts, dresses, and looser pants (cough, cough, sweatpants).
Related: This Is Exactly How Celebs Get Perfect Skin for the Met Gala