How to Get Rid of Chest Acne for Good, According to a Dermatologist
There’s no good place to have acne, but chest acne can really interfere with a lot of your wardrobe. Here’s what skin experts recommend for clearing it up.
What is it?
Chest breakouts are caused by the same condition that affects the face, acne vulgaris. “Regardless of location, the root causes of acne are excess oil and dead skin cells, which clog the pore leading to P. acnes bacteria overgrowth and inflammation,” said New York City dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Sejal Shah, MD. Check out these surprising home remedies for acne.
There’s a chance it’s not acne: Visit a dermatologist to confirm that the pimples you’re seeing are actually caused by acne. Here’s a list of seven skin conditions that look like acne but aren’t. According to Dr. Mazloom, other skin conditions that sometimes appear on the chest, can look like acne. Pityrosporum folliculitis—caused by yeast taking up residence in the hair follicle—can look like acne but isn’t. Dr. Mazloom added, “Isolated chest acne is uncommon. However, certain conditions such as acne fulminans and acne conglobata, which are subtypes of acne can commonly present with acne eruption on the chest. Also medications such as high-dose intravenous or oral corticosteroids, and certain chemotherapy drugs can cause acneiform eruptions commonly on the chest and back.”
Does location matter?
Doctors say acne isn’t actually that different on the chest, but on your body the spots may be triggered by factors that don’t affect the face, like excessive sweat, friction from clothing, and occlusive (barrier-forming) skin care. Also, the skin on the chest is more prone to scarring. Here’s what your acne can reveal about your health.
Can diet cause acne?
Foods with a high glycemic index, meaning they cause a spike in blood sugar, may cause acne in some people, says Sean Mazloom, MD, of Sadick Dermatology in New York City. Avoiding foods like sweets, white bread, and white rice may improve acne generally, including clearing up chest acne. Skim milk has also been shown to increase acne said Dr. Mazloom. These are eight surefire ways to get rid of adult acne.
Do workouts have any impact on body acne?
Friction between clothing and skin during workouts, combined with sweating can inflame pores, said Sheila Nazarian, MD, a plastic surgeon based in Beverly Hills. She suggests wearing loose-fitting shirts and showering immediately after working out. If you can’t shower right away, wipe your chest with a medicated wipe like Proactiv Clear Zone Body Pads and swap in a clean top.
Edit your body-care routine
Neil Sadick, MD, of Sadick Dermatology in New York recommends taking a break from other body products until acne is under control. “This will allow treatments to work and avoid over-clogging the area,” he said. Shelve your perfume-y body butter for now. You may want to try drugstore acne remedies that dermatologists recommend.
How to get rid of chest acne: Key acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide period work on the chest, too. Dr. Nazarian recommends daily use of a Clarisonic combined with a gentle exfoliating cleanser like the Revision Papaya Enzyme Cleanser. “Twice a week, exfoliate with salicylic acid in the shower,” she said. Treatment options are similar to the face and what you use depends on severity. Try an over-the-counter product like La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, a fast-absorbing treatment cream with salicylic acid and anti-inflammatory niacinamide. And unlike benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid will not bleach fabrics. At night, a retinoid gel like Differin, will exfoliate skin and unclog pores. These are the best drugstore acne products that really work.