How to treat chest acne, according to dermatologists

Let’s face it: acne anywhere on your body can be frustrating. Certain skin types are more prone to acne, especially when exposed to bacteria, oil, sweat, and inflammation. Then, with the warmer months approaching, sweat, humidity, and sunscreen formulas can further clog pores and make the problem worse. Body acne in particular can be difficult to treat (is someone else having trouble reaching their back?), But this is especially true with the chest area. The skin there is thinner than that of other parts of the body, which means that traditional in-office and topical treatments can be too harsh.

So, how to get rid of chest acne? And above all, how to prevent it from coming back? For answers, we asked dermatologists Kenneth marc, MD, Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, Luigi L. Polla, MD and Dendy engelman, MD. Read on for everything you need to know about treating this delicate area.

What Are the Causes of Acne on the Breast?

Bottom Line: Chest acne, also known as folliculitis, is caused when the pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and other debris. These clogged pores lead to inflammation and the formation of whiteheads, pimples and cystic acne. The reason Why you get it in this area can be the cause of many things including genetics, hormones, and your overall lifestyle.

“Chest acne can be worsened by lifestyle habits such as consuming short chain sugars found in fast food or sugary drinks, acute or chronic stress, excessive sun exposure, excessive training and using excessively strong moisturizers, ”Dr. Polla said.

Wearing tight or occlusive clothing for too long after sweating after a workout or just being outside in the heat can also create acne on your chest. When you don’t take a shower right after, the sweat can cause bacteria to build up on your skin, leading to rashes. (Think of it as you would mask-ne – the material traps moisture in the area.) “Dermatitis, the result of irritation from rubbing clothes, makes the skin more vulnerable and sensitive to external factors. like sweat and dirt, this can lead to the formation of acne, ”Dr. Engelman said.

Types of chest acne

“Chest acne can have different levels of severity, ranging from mild lesions like whiteheads or blackheads to more aggressive ones like cysts, pimples, nodules and papules,” Dr. Polla said. More severe chest acne with deep lesions like inflamed cysts and nodules can leave depressed or hypertrophic scars and dark spots. “The [toughest] type [to treat] is cystic acne because it has the largest and most uncomfortable lesions with the greatest risk of scarring, ”said Dr. Mark.

In general, there are five main types of chest acne:

  • Apules: inflammatory lesions which sit superficially on the skin.
  • Pustules: More commonly known as pimples, these inflammatory lesions are filled with pus and usually white or yellow in color (these are the ones we’re trying to ‘pop’).
  • Cysts: lesions formed when the pore ruptures under the skin, causing inflammation to spread to surrounding tissue. The cyst then forms around it to prevent the inflammation from spreading. These inflammatory lesions – usually formed from extreme stress and underlying hormonal imbalances – can persist for a long time and cause scarring.
  • Open comedones: clogged hair follicles that are open (exposed to air) and turn black, also called blackheads.
  • Closed comedones: clogged pores, which close and are white or yellowish in color, also called whiteheads.

How to treat chest acne

When chest acne isn’t severe, small lifestyle changes can help ease the rash: showering after training, wearing breathable clothing, and using a topical cream. As tempting as it may be to run errands or eat after a sweat session, it could be the root cause of your chest acne. When sweat remains on the skin for a long time, it clogs the pores and causes the development of acne. Therefore, rinsing after workouts will lead to significant improvements.

“To deeply cleanse pores and prevent clogging, use a cleanser that contains salicylic acid and make sure to wash yourself well at least once a day,” Dr. Engelman said. Salicylic acid will both treat existing rashes while working to prevent more of them as they exfoliate, cleanse and promote cell renewal. With tight clothing, the friction rubbing against your chest can irritate the skin and make it more susceptible to clogging and rashes.

While topicals can reduce inflammation and bacteria, Dr. Mark says they come with a warning. “The problem with any topical product, even prescription, is how to effectively cover the large area. Trying to treat every lesion with gel is problematic; therefore, I like washes that can be applied under the skin. shower and washed off after several minutes. ”

Next, think about the food you eat. Fill your plate with more vegetables, fruits and omega-3 fatty acids. “A low sugar diet is the key,” Dr. Polla said. “Avoid spicy foods, beer, and most liquor.”

And most importantly, whatever you do, don’t pick or try to break out your chest acne. “The skin on the chest is significantly thinner than that on the face, and failure to treat chest acne, especially cystic acne, can lead to scarring and should be evaluated by a licensed dermatologist for oral therapy,” said said Dr Frank. Scabs and scars can take months to heal.

How to prevent chest acne

Even once you’ve got your blemishes under control, the key is prevention. Knowing that all acne begins with a clogged pore, it is important to cleanse the area to remove sebum and dead skin cells. “By removing the oily layer, one can reduce the blockages in the pores,” said Dr. Polla. “This will allow effective drainage of sebum and bacteria, preventing them from entering the follicles and creating more inflammation.”

Exfoliating once or twice a week with a gentle scrub will remove dead skin cells that could create a buildup of clogging pores, resulting in rashes. Then, if you’ve just worked out and you’re not near a shower, bring a change of clothes and wipe your chest with a cleansing wipe.

Dr Polla also recommends avoiding comedogenic skin care products (ingredients that clog pores) as they can cause blackheads, as well as acne-causing ingredients (produces or increases acne), which can cause pustules. . Many body lotions and shower gels are filled with scents that can smell great, but can actually irritate or clog pores. As always, when in doubt, see a dermatologist for more in-depth treatment.

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