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The oily substance called sebum is meant to lubricate hair and skin, keeping it smooth, soft and healthy. But excess sebum becomes a problem when it clogs pores and mixes with bacteria and dead skin cells to create pimples.
The face, neck, chest, back and shoulders are the most common sites of acne, but pimples can pop up anywhere on the body -- including the legs. The prescription for getting rid of pimples on the legs is the same as getting rid of them anywhere else on the body -- keep them clean, treat them and don't irritate them 2.**
Practice Good Hygiene
To prevent the bacteria that causes pimples from collecting on the skin's surface, it's important to bathe regularly. Shower or take a bath daily, especially after you exercise and sweat. Use a mild fragrance-free soap and a soft washcloth. Be sure to rinse your legs off well, and pat your legs dry when you get out of the shower so as not to irritate the skin.
- To prevent the bacteria that causes pimples from collecting on the skin's surface, it's important to bathe regularly.
- Be sure to rinse your legs off well, and pat your legs dry when you get out of the shower so as not to irritate the skin.
Acne on Forearms
Irritating your skin by rubbing, scratching or picking at it can make pimples much worse. Don't pop pimples no matter how strong the urge. You can spread bacteria and risk infection if bacteria gets into an open sore.
In the shower, don't scrub or use a coarse sponge such as a loofah. That can break open the pimples and lead to further infection, and it can cause sensitive, acne-prone skin to breakout. Avoid touching your legs; if the skin is itchy you may try an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.
Wear loose-fitting clothing that breathes and wicks sweat away from the body while exercising to prevent irritation from rubbing and moisture.Wear light, breathable fabrics on your legs if you must wear pants, and wear shorts or skirts around the house to allow your legs to get some fresh air. Avoid wearing scratchy materials such as wool, which can irritate the skin.
Read more: Dermatologist Recommended Acne Treatment
- Irritating your skin by rubbing, scratching or picking at it can make pimples much worse.
Treat the Pimples
For mild to moderate pimples on your legs you can try an over-the-counter topical medication for treating acne that contains benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide helps to kill bacteria and prohibit oil production.
The percentage of benzoyl peroxide is unimportant, although you may want to start off with the lowest percentage you can find to see how your body will react to it. Follow the manufacturers’ directions carefully as to how much and how often to apply.
Salicylic acid is another potentially effective treatment. Salicylic acid increases cell turnover which can help clear pores and prevent acne. You can find body washes with salicylic acid; however, a topical gel or cream that stays on the skin is likely more effective.
- For mild to moderate pimples on your legs you can try an over-the-counter topical medication for treating acne that contains benzoyl peroxide.
- The percentage of benzoyl peroxide is unimportant, although you may want to start off with the lowest percentage you can find to see how your body will react to it.
How to Get Rid of Acne All Over the Body
Choose soaps and lotions that are fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, meaning they don't contain ingredients known to clog pores.
Apply a non-comedogenic sunscreen if you plan on wearing shorts or a skirt outside, and limit your exposure to the sun as much as possible. Sunburns and tans can dry out the skin making acne worse, and some medications including benzoyl peroxide can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep your system flushed. Maintain a healthy diet, eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits and staying away from fatty and sugary foods, refined grains and other potential acne triggers such as caffeine and dairy products.
If you see no signs of improvement after attempting to eliminate the acne on your own, speak to your doctor or a dermatologist about solutions that may work for you.
Read more: How to Reduce Acne & Pimples
- Choose soaps and lotions that are fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, meaning they don't contain ingredients known to clog pores.
Acne on Forearms
How to Get Rid of Acne All Over the Body
Acne on Legs & Butt
How to Get Rid of Leg Acne
What Causes Pimples on Legs?
How to Treat Adult Female Acne
Home Remedy for an Infected Pimple
Tiny White Bumps on My Legs
How to Get Rid of Dead Skin and Little Scars on Your Legs
How to Treat Sweat Acne on the Chest
- NIAMS: Acne
- Center for Young Women's Health: I have bad pimples on my legs. Is this normal and how do I get rid of them?
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Healthychildren.org. What Causes Acne? Updated November 21, 2015.
- Nemours. KidsHealth. Why Do I Get Acne? Reviewed June 2014.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. healthychildren.org. Teens and Acne Treatment. Updated November 27, 2013.
- Acne. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Melynda Sorrels spent 10 years in the military working in different capacities of the medical field, including dental assisting, health services administration, decontamination and urgent medical care. Awarded the National Guardsman’s Medal for Lifesaving efforts in 2002, Sorrels was also a nominee for a Red Cross Award and a certified EMT-B for four years.