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Back and Chest Acne

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Acne can develop on any part of the body except the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. This is because these are the only two areas that do not have sebaceous follicles where acne is formed.


Body acne found on back and chest is just like facial acne. Studies reveal that most people with facial acne also exhibit some amount of body acne as well. And body acne develops in the same manner as facial acne.


Back and chest acne most of the time affects one's self esteem. For instance, acne in the chest doesn't allow you to bare on the beach in a skimpy vest or bikini. Those with chest acne also feel delicate to exercise in a gym as their condition might be revealed in during the shower or other occasions.


Back acne and chest acne can be tougher to treat than facial acne and it can also be more expensive as it is a larger area to cover.


Types of body acne

The most common form of acne found in chest and back region is called vulgaris. This type manifests itself in adolescents and sometimes in adults. Victims of this type of acne develop several types of skin lesions like closed comedo or whitehead and blackheads.


Papules appear as small, and inflamed pink bumps or as pus filled bumps. Bigger acne lesions can be painful and they are pus filled cysts, often leaving scars behind.


Cause of acne in back and chest


Most of the times, chest and back acne are caused with other associated problems. Acne results due to increased androgen hormones in the body which affects the size of the sebaceous gland and produces them due to excess sebum.


There is also a hereditary element concerning acne. Some people are genetically predisposed to develop chest and back acne. A serious underlying condition such as ovarian tumors, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, adrenal hyperplasia and other such ailments can cause acne.


Irritation in the skin worsens acne. In order to avoid irritation, wear breathable cotton clothing whenever possible. Change clothes whenever sweat accumulates. Workouts need to be timed so that shower and skin treatments can be taken afterward.


Acne treatments

Body acne is not easy to treat as it is hard to reach back area and it is often more difficult to treat than facial acne because body acne is thicker. But with the right regimen, it can be successfully treated.


The treatment for body acne depends on the category of the acne; be it light to moderate or moderate to severe.


  • For light to moderate cases of body acne, gently cleanse the skin allowing it to dry completely. Apply 10% alpha hydroxyl acid to clear acne.

  • For moderate to severe cases of body acne, a regimen consisting of gently cleansing the skin, applying 2.5% of benzyl peroxide and 10% of alpha hydroxy acid provides great results. For very severe, widespread and scarring cases of body acne, Accutane may be required.

  • Gentle exfoliating scrubs, by using a loofah can help get rid of dead skin cells. Lukewarm daily showers help.

  • Those with acne can do well to use a pH balanced body wash instead of soap. As acne patients show a higher than normal skin's pH, soap can aggravate this situation.

  • It is wise to wash acne prone areas after heavy perspiration.

  • Never trigger acne by wearing tight clothing or heavy back packs.

  • It is recommended to wear breathable fabrics like cotton in order to induce evaporation of sweat.

  • It is better to use a body cleanser specifically for fighting acne. This helps to wash out the debris in the pores to keep them clean.

  • Botanical mask and acne wash also help. The mask can be applied for ten to fifteen minutes before a shower and in the shower the mask is washed off with the acne wash and water.

  • Hot baths once a week greatly add to the body hygiene routine. Add Epsom salts or Dead Sea salts to the hot tub. A cup of dried chamomile can also be added. Stay for at least 20 minutes and relax. This simple bath is detoxifying.

  • Avoid using heavy creams on the affected areas.

  • People with back and chest acne should ensure to keep their bed linens clean, especially pillow cases.

  • Exercise is highly recommended and as the body breaks out after exercise; wash the body right after exercise. Exercise helps eliminate tensions, increases micro circulation of the skin and allows the body endocrine system to regulate itself.

  • If the body is exposed to sunrays, it is better to wear sunscreen and then wash the body when back home.

  • Those with body acne should not use oil-based moisturizers as they contain pore clogging fats which should be avoided. A moisturizer which contains omega-3 contained in natural sebum like oils and linoleic acid should help. Borage oil, jojoba, rosehip, walnut oil and hemp oil work as good moisturizers.

  • Certain creams that contain nourishing natural oils can regulate sebum secretion and help with treatment of chest, shoulders and back acne.

  • As body acne in chest and back can be caused due to various potential and underlying causes, it is better to get examined by a dermatologist.

Those with acne often tend to avoid sugary foods and chocolates in an attempt to cure acne. But this is a misconception. Acne is caused due to overworked pilosebaceous units and there is no conclusive evidence that diet affects the development of chest and back acne. Acne is not contagious

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