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Here’s Why Back and Chest Acne is So Common & How to Treat It

Back acne

As if dealing with facial acne isn’t bad enough, other areas of your body can also be prone to acne breakouts. Body acne is when the skin on the upper-half of your body develops pimples.

What is acne on the back and chest?

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions that nearly everyone deals with at some point in their life. For most people, pimples and acne breakouts develop on the face, chest, and back, where your glands can easily become blocked.

Acne breakouts are the result of your skin pores becoming clogged by dead skin cells and oil. When your pores become clogged, bacteria begins to form and inflamed pimples will show on your skin. Chest and back acne commonly appears as blackheads, whiteheads, and papules.

What causes back and chest acne and who does it affect?

We’re going to dive into some of the causes and solutions. But, before you change up your routine too much, we always recommend consulting with a professional. Your best bet to getting clearer skin is scheduling an appointment with our dermatologist, Dr. Jaclyn Wetli.

In the meantime, you might be wondering why you have pimples on your chest, shoulders, and back. If you notice sudden or random breakouts, this could be a result of a recent change made in your diet or skincare products or perhaps related to taking to a new medication. If you continuously have acne in these areas, this could be a result of an ongoing issue like hormonal fluctuations or dehydration.

Although acne on your chest and back can form as a result of many things, here are some of the most common sources:

  • Hormones: Hormonal fluctuations often happen in our teenage years, but adult women also experience changes in their hormones during and around the time of their period. These hormonal fluctuations can cause inflammation and acne breakouts on your chest.

  • Diet: Studies have shown that dietary factors may contribute to the development of acne. Patients who drink skim milk and/or have whey protein supplements may find this to be an exacerbating factor for acne. Additionally, high glycemic-load foods (high fat or high sugar foods) can cause acne flares. If you think your diet is causing problems with acne, try cutting back on skim milk, protein shakes, soft drinks, juices, and desserts.

  • Supplements/ medications: An excessive amount of vitamin B12, B2, and B6 can also cause acne flares. Certain medications may also contribute to acne flares especially on the chest and back. It is best to discuss with Dr. Wetli if you think that this may be contributing to your acne.

  • Exercise: Although exercise is a great way to stay healthy, excessive sweating in tight or restrictive clothing can cause acne breakouts on your chest or back. When working out, wear loose-fitting tops that won’t cause friction from rubbing on your skin. Showering shortly after a workout will also help wash off any sweat and prevent it from building up and clogging your pores.

  • Laundry detergent, makeup and perfumes: Some laundry detergents and perfumes have dyes and other harsh chemicals that can be harmful and irritate your skin. Makeup can also cause irritations to skin and clog pores. Avoid applying makeup and perfume to your chest area, avoid using dryer sheets, fabric softener, and try using dye and perfume-free detergents.

  • Oily moisturizers: Certain skin care products can trap moisture and cause your skin to break out in pimples. People with dry skin often use oil-based lotion, but these types of moisturizers block pores and trap dirt and bacteria. If you experience dry skin, you should talk to a dermatologist to get recommendations on moisturizers that are safe to use.

What is the best way to treat back and chest acne?

Identifying and understanding the causes of your chest and back acne is the first step toward treating it and preventing future breakouts. Meet with our dermatologist, Dr. Wetli. She will evaluate your skin and come up with a personalized treatment plan for your unique needs. Some steps you can take prior to meeting with Dr. Wetli include:

Bathe regularly using gentle cleansers to keep the area clean and prevent breakouts. Apply antibacterial body soap to the area around the breakout to clean it after sweating or getting dirty.
Change your thick, oil-based moisturizer for non-comedogenic lotions to keep your skin hydrated without clogging your pores. Avoid touching, picking, or popping the pimples on your chest and back. Your hands often have oil and dirt that can spread and lead to bacteria on other parts of your skin. Picking and popping your pimples will irritate the skin and make your breakout worse – and since the skin on your chest is extremely thin, it can scar easily.

If your chest acne won’t go away after trying on your own, remember that treatment plans are not a one-size fits all. This is why over the counter products don’t always work, and why it’s best to seek the professional opinion of a dermatologist.

Schedule an appointment for acne treatment

Our dermatologist, Dr. Wetli, is a specialist in acne, acne treatments, and acne scar treatments. When you’re ready to learn more about your treatment options or create an acne skincare routine, use our simple online scheduling form to set up an appointment! We look forward to helping you improve the health of your skin so you can look and feel your best.