We all know that there is bacteria living all over our bodies – it’s kind of gross to think about, but your skin, even if it’s healthy, is crawling with hundreds of types of these little organisms. Now, there is nothing wrong with these” vibrant communities” of bacteria (as scientists call them), so long as they don’t cause any problems. The body has 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells, but the diversity of these little buggers is what causes a range of skin problems.
Bacteria certainly is a part of us, but it is also to blame for some of our most hated skin woes – particularly body odor and body acne. Here’s how to find out if bacteria is the culprit of your skin troubles – and how you can beat it.
The real culprit: Sweat
We may blame bacteria for our worst skin concerns, but sweat is really the mastermind behind it all. Sweat is odorless, but the bacteria that breeds when your skin becomes moist is not.
Sweat is often to blame for B.O. and acne because it creates an ideal breeding ground (warm and moist) for those little microorganisms. The combination is not stinky for everyone, but certainly is for most people. It also makes for clogged pores, the kicker for acne production. While sweat in and of itself may not cause acne, it creates bacteria that then hang out in the pores, causing that lovely infection that we know as a pimple.
Busting your B.O.
Just because sweat is the culprit doesn’t mean you should stop sweating – sweating is your body’s way of regulating your body temperature, and of course is a natural result of working out.
One way to prevent the stench is to keep areas prone to odor nice and dry. Antiperspirants are one way to keep yourself dry (your deodorant probably has this in it), but you can also try a homemade solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Add one teaspoon of peroxide per one cup of water, and wipe it on areas that tend to stink – underarms, feet – with a washcloth.
Odor-causing bacteria can also live in sweaty gym clothes and are more likely to breed in hairy areas – so washing your gym clothes often and shaving your underarms may prevent you from smelling like the pits!
Prevent bacteria from causing acne
Think of the places on your body where you are most likely to break out – your back, maybe between the girls and under your tush, too. Well, once again we can thank the glorious process of sweat for these lovely after-workout surprises. Those are the places where most people naturally sweat the most, and the places where sweat is trapped and bacteria is able to thrive.
You can start by stripping off sweaty clothes as soon as you can and washing them after every wear. It’s also important to shower when you’re sweaty. Keeping problem areas clean and dry will make it difficult for nasty bacteria to breed on your skin and clog your pores, preventing a zit.
If your body breakouts are severe, consider using a body wash with salicylic acid to really zap the zits. Of course, if you’re following these tips and not seeing results, you might want to see a dermatologist who can give you a zit zapper with prescription strength.