Face acne gets a lot of press, but chest acne isn’t spoken about quite as often. While this may be the case, it’s surprisingly common – around 15% of those who suffer from face or body acne also have to deal with chest pimples.
For some, a sporadic breakout every once in a while isn’t a huge deal, but, for others, regular and severe breakouts can quickly start to affect self-esteem and mental health. If you can relate to this, worry no more – here’s what you need to do to get rid of chest acne for good, while also preventing new breakouts from developing.
What Causes Acne on the Chest?
When it comes down to it, chest acne is pretty much the same as face acne, apart from the fact that the pimples form on the body instead of the face. Some of the most common causes are:
- Hormonal changes
- Excessive sweating
- Clogged pores
- A poor diet
- Tight clothing
- Using the wrong skincare formulas
What to Do About Chest Acne
Ready to learn how to treat chest acne breakouts? The following dermatologist-approved tips will set you on the path to clearer skin:
Use a Body Wash Designed to Treat Acne
You may think that plastering the word “acne” over a body wash is nothing but a marketing technique, but body washes designed for acne really are worth using. An acne body wash will contain specific ingredients, such as salicylic acid, that clear clogged pores and dissolve away dead skin cells, which will then help to eliminate those pimples.
Salicylic acid is usually the go-to ingredient in an acne body wash, but if your spots are particularly severe, then consider a body wash containing benzoyl peroxide instead. This ingredient works in a similar way to salicylic acid, but it will also kill off any acne-causing bacteria on your skin.
Try Over-the-Counter Acne Treatments
As mentioned, both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are star acne fighters. They’re great in a body wash, but for maximum benefits, you should also be using a product that allows the ingredients to remain on your skin for a longer period of time.
This is where an over-the-counter treatment comes in. This will usually be in the form of a topical cream or body lotion. In addition to containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, a good topical treatment will also usually be formulated with other acne-fighting ingredients, along with those that reduce natural oil production, such as alpha-hydroxy acids or retinol.
Regularly Exfoliate Your Chest
Not only is regular exfoliation a good way to treat chest acne for good, but it also helps to prevent the scarring that often follows a severe breakout. Many tend to turn to a body scrub when it comes to exfoliation, but a scrub can sometimes actually exacerbate acne. While a scrub is great for physically clearing away dead skin, it can also end up spreading acne-causing bacteria around the skin even more.
If you’re only dealing with a mild bout of spots, this may not be such an issue. However, for everyone else, a chemical exfoliant, such as in the form of a peel, is the way to go. These will dissolve the glue-like substance on the skin that holds onto dead skin cells, allowing the skin to easily shed them away.
Consider Topical or Oral Medication
Body washes and topical treatments are fantastic for minor chest breakouts. However, with the chest being a relatively large area of skin, it can sometimes be difficult and time-consuming to properly treat this part of the body.
If you’ve been struggling, turn to your MD for help. Medicated products, whether they may be oral or topical, are usually strong and extremely effective. A visit to your doctor will allow your breakouts to be professionally assessed, in line with your other health information, after which you’ll receive a prescription for the most suitable medicated treatment for your situation.
Book Yourself in for a Professional Extraction
Extractions are a common treatment for stubborn pimples on the face, and they work just as well on the chest too. They involve your dermatologist using special tools to pull any blockages and unwanted substances out of your pores, which helps to prevent new spots from developing.
While you may see a few at-home extraction tools available, this is a procedure that’s always best carried out by a professional. Performing an extraction incorrectly can result in inflammation being pushed deeper into the skin, which would then make those pimples even worse. Plus, extractions aren’t suitable for everyone – it all depends on the type of acne you have, which is why professional guidance in this area is crucial.
Soak in a Bleach Bath
This may sound a little frightening, but dermatologists often recommend this home remedy to those dealing with stubborn spots. Adding a small amount of bleach to your bath, and then soaking in it for 5-10 minutes, will help to kill off the acne-causing compounds on the surface of your skin.
However, doing this incorrectly can lead to your severely skin drying out, making it important to speak to your dermatologist about exactly how much bleach to add to your bath. Different bleach products will have varying strengths, so you really need to get this right.
How to Prevent Future Chest Breakouts
Finding a treatment for your chest acne is important, but prevention matters just as much. After all, there’s no point spending time and money treating existing breakouts if your lifestyle habits are encouraging new spots to take their place. So, here’s what you need to do to get rid of chest acne and prevent them from causing a problem again in the future:
Shower When Sweaty
Whether it has been a particularly hot day or you’ve just finished a workout, leaving sweat to settle on your body will quickly trigger new breakouts. This is all down to the way in which the sweat will settle into your pores, mixing in with dead skin cells and bacteria to form blockages. As you know, clogged pores lead to spots, so preventing this from happening will go a long way in keeping those pimples at bay.
If you’re not able to immediately wash away excess sweat, keep some cleansing wipes with you. Give your chest a wipe down post-workout, until you’re able to properly shower that sweat away.
Keep the Skin on Your Chest Hydrated
Many people who deal with excess oil production and regular acne occurrences often avoid moisturizing their skin. After all, there’s already plenty of oil around, so surely that’s enough?
Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Oil is completely different from water, and water is what your skin cells need in order to function properly. A lack of water will lead to your skin trying to overcompensate for its dehydration by producing excess oil, leaving your skin oilier and spottier than ever.
Lightweight body lotions are the best way to keep your chest moisturized. Apply this daily, alongside any acne treatment product that you may also be using.
Avoid Sugar & High-Glycemic Foods
The foods that you eat have a direct impact on the state of your skin. There’s actually quite a strong link between diet and acne, with certain foods being known for triggering spots.
Kristina Goldenberg, a top dermatologist from New York City, advises acne-sufferers to stay away from high-glycemic foods, such as:
- White rice
- White flour
- White bread
- Anything that’s full of sugar
All of those high-glycemic foods increase your blood sugar levels. This then stimulates the skin into producing more sebum, resulting in clogged pores and acne.
Make Sure That All of Your Chest Skincare Products are Non-Comedogenic
Certain cosmetic ingredients are known for clogging pores, while others don’t have this effect. Those that are safe to use by people dealing with acne are known as non-comedogenic products, so you need to ensure that all of the skincare products you’re using fall into this category.
However, in addition to checking out the ingredient lists on all of your cosmetics, turn your attention to your laundry detergents too. Many of these leave behind a residue that can trigger chest acne. Constant product development means that there are now more and more acne-friendly detergents out there, so make sure that yours is one of these!
Wear Loose Clothing
If you often wear tight clothing across your chest, it’s time to change this habit. Tight clothes trap sweat, dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells onto the skin, pushing all of these deep into your pores where they will then lead to inflammation and acne. Dermatologists recommend opting for looser and more breathable alternatives instead.
How long does chest acne last?
After starting a new acne treatment, it will usually take a few weeks before you start noticing a difference, and then a few months before your pimples fully clear.
Does chest acne go away?
Yes, chest acne will usually go away, so long as you’re treating it correctly while also following prevention techniques.
How do I get rid of breast acne?
Breast acne can be treated in the same way as body or face acne. However, with the breast area being more sensitive, speak to your dermatologist to make sure that any acne products you’re using are safe to be applied here.
How To Get Rid of Chest Acne – Conclusion
Chest acne can be extremely frustrating to deal with. While it’s always best to turn to your dermatologist or doctor for advice if you’re experiencing frequent and severe breakouts, these treatment and prevention techniques will also go a long way in keeping your chest skin smooth, clear, and pimple-free.