Is It Acne Or Could It Be Something Else
There are various other conditions that can cause red bumps on your chest and back, but one common one that is often confused by many is a skin condition called folliculitis. Although it may look and feel the same as acne, folliculitis is not the same.
Folliculitis usually has inflammation around hair follicles, but it can have a more infectious cause with a pus-filled pimple instead of the blocked sebum of acne, Dr. Thompson said. Folliculitis can occur around any site with hair follicles, and acne is more common on the face, back and chest.
If youre unsure whether your red bumps are body acne or folliculitis, it can be helpful to see a dermatologist to make sure. They can give you tips to help clear it.
What Is Cystic Acne
Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne vulgaris. This painful skin condition, often just referred to as severe acne, is characterized by large, inflamed acne lesions that form deep within the skin and result in painful, large bumps visible from the surface.
While cheek, chin, and forehead acne are usually the most noticeable, it can also be present on your shoulders, chest, arms, and other areas of your body. These acne blemishes are embedded deep within the epidermis, and unlike pimples and pustules, they dont come to a head on the surface of the skin. Along with painful, inflamed acne lesions, those with cystic acne may also exhibit numerous comedones, which can be both open or closed, and are referred to as blackheads and whiteheads, respectively.
Due to the depth and severity of cystic acne, it often results in permanent scars. In some cases, individuals may suffer from breakouts that linger for years. Many people develop cystic acne during puberty and into their early 20s, however, the condition can flare earlier and later in life.
What Are Acne Scars
An example of acne scarring
Acne scarring is the direct result of deep trauma to the skin related to acne. External factors, such as picking, can traumatize even small acne lesions and result in scarring. Acne scars manifest as areas of pitted or raised skin and can occur on the face or body. Not to be confused with post acne erythema or hyperpigmentation which are flat, temporary changes related to inflammation that tend to resolve over time, acne scarring changes the overall texture of the skin and does not always improve with time.
Acne scars result from the bodys natural attempt to heal itself. Skin pores that become clogged with dead skin cells slowly fill with excess oil and can allow bacteria to grow. These pores can become engorged resulting in acne lesions . When these lesions rupture, the material spilling out into the skin is irritating and cause inflammation which presents as redness, tenderness and sometimes thick white fluid that can be expressed from the acne lesion. To repair this issue, the skin will naturally form new collagen fibers. Raised acne scars occur when the skin overproduces collagen, while pitted acne scars result when not enough collagen is produced.
Read Also: How To Treat Severe Acne On Face
Schedule A Back Facial
Acne facials arent just for your face. In fact, many spas and salons now offer back facials to specifically target the hard-to-reach spots you cant tackle at home. Not only do these professional treatments clean your skin at a deeper level, they also include professional-strength exfoliation and extractions to encourage skin cell turnover and clear clogged pores. Visit our Spa Locator to book a back facial at an Eminence Organics Spa Partner near you.
Watch this video to find out more from Natalie about how to reduce the look of body acne:
Do you struggle with body acne? Share your stories with us in the comments below, and join the conversation on social media.
This article was originally written by Alisha Whitley in November 2018.
Mild To Moderate Common Acne On The Back Of The Neck
Mild to moderate common acne, a condition also known as acne vulgaris, usually occurs on the face, but about 15% of people who have common acne get blemishes on the neck. Whiteheads and blackheads on the neck are caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells, acne bacteria, and excess oil in pores on the skin of the neck, and reducing any three of these components of a clogged pore can reduce the number of blemishes on the neck.
Moms advice to wash your neck and to wash behind your ears is sometimes all you really need to do. Since the skin on the back of your neck is a little tougher than the skin on your face, it also responds well to benzoyl peroxidebut dont use benzoyl peroxide on the back of your neck if you spend lots of time in the sun, or if you have Asian or light brown skin. Benzoyl peroxide is great for neck and back acne, but it can leave permanent spots on the skin of the neck after acne has healed if you have Asian or light brown skin. Use sunscreen if you use any kind of antibacterial gel on your neck.
Don’t Miss: How To Stop Puberty Acne
Is Chest Acne Normal
Acne is a common skin condition that can largely be attributed to ones genetics. Some patients are simply more prone to blemishes than others due to their skins natural oil production. Additionally, pimples or zits can develop wherever a excess oil production occurs, including on the chest. Chest acne is normal and usually develops in the same way as acne on the face or elsewhere on the body.
When To See A Dermatologist
If youve been unsuccessful at your attempts to treat your chest acne, be sure to visit a dermatologist or professional who will have additional recommendations on how to remove chest acne. Leaving your chest acne untreated can result in deep scarring, so seek treatment as soon as possible. A dermatologist may prescribe a more intensive treatment to help combat painful, infected breakouts.
Don’t Miss: How To Clear Acne Fast
Home Remedies For Chest Acne
A gentle skin care routine is the best home remedy for chest acne. These habits can help you get the best results from your chest acne treatment:
- Apply a gentle cleanser with your fingertips instead of a washcloth or puff, which can irritate the skin.
- Avoid scrubbing your skin or using abrasive scrubs, which can be irritating.
- Choose alcohol-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic cleansers and skin products.
- Keep your hands off the skin on your chest.
- Let your skin heal by itself and do not pop or pick at blemishes.
- Wash your skin with lukewarm water twice a day and after sweating heavily.
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 Dr. Mazloom. Research looking at diet and acne seems to support that connection. Avoiding foods like sweets, white bread, and white rice may improve acne generally, including clearing up chest acne. Drinking milk has also been shown to increase acne, says Dr. Mazloom. Find out which foods really make your acne better .
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Redness On Acne
However Chest Acne Is Also Affected By External Irritants Like Exercise
Dr. Julia Tzu, founder and medical director of Wall Street Dermatology noted that chest acne “can also be exacerbated by heat, sweat, and occlusion,” in ways that facial acne often isn’t. For example, damp exercise clothes can chafe and inflame the skin on the chest, whereas the face is often undisturbed by friction from clothing. For this reason, you should shower immediately after a workout.
Why Do I Have Acne Scars
If you have acne scars, youre not the only one. Of the 80% of people under the age of 30 with acne, 20% of them will scar. Whether or not you fall into this category depends on several factors, many of which are unavoidable:
Genetics: Some people are more prone to scarring than others. Not only from acne, but from all types of skin damage. If you have a family history of scarring, or acne scarring, you may want to prioritize acne prevention.
Gender: Although both men and women deal with acne, scarring is more common in men. Androgen hormones, which are more prevalent in men, tend to make acne more severe and persistent, two additional factors which lead to acne scarring.
Acne Severity: The deeper and more inflamed your acne, the more likely it will result in scarring.
Acne Persistence: The more often you have breakouts, the more your risk for scarring increases.
Puberty: Teenagers are more prone to acne thanks to hormonal fluctuations. More acne and more frequent breakouts lead to a greater chance of scarring.
Sun Exposure: While sun exposure wont necessarily cause more scarring, it potentially makes scarring more visible. Scars darken at a faster rate than the surrounding skin, sometimes permanently.
Lack of Treatment: The longer you wait to treat your acne, the greater your risk of scarring. If frequent face washing or over-the-counter medications arent helping you, consider seeing a dermatologist.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Chest Acne Overnight
Am I Making My Cystic Acne Worse
Unfortunately, you could be worsening your cystic acne without knowing it. Since there are many cystic acne causes, there are a variety of factors involved in the frequency and prevalence of your breakouts. While these aspects dont necessarily cause the formation of pimples, these habits have been known to worsen pre-existing skin issues for severe acne sufferers.
Things You Can Try If You Have Acne
These self-help techniques may be useful:
- Do not wash affected areas of skin more than twice a day. Frequent washing can irritate the skin and make symptoms worse.
- Wash the affected area with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water. Very hot or cold water can make acne worse.
- Do not try to “clean out” blackheads or squeeze spots. This can make them worse and cause permanent scarring.
- Avoid using too much make-up and cosmetics. Use water-based products that are described as non-comedogenic. This means the product is less likely to block the pores in your skin.
- Completely remove make-up before going to bed.
- If dry skin is a problem, use a fragrance-free water-based emollient.
- Regular exercise cannot improve your acne, but it can boost your mood and improve your self-esteem. Shower as soon as possible once you finish exercising as sweat can irritate your acne.
- Wash your hair regularly and try to avoid letting your hair fall across your face.
Although acne cannot be cured, it can be controlled with treatment.
If you develop mild acne, it’s a good idea to speak to a pharmacist for advice.
Several creams, lotions and gels for treating spots are available to buy from pharmacies.
Products containing a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide may be recommended, but be careful as this can bleach clothing.
If your acne is severe or appears on your chest and back, it may need to be treated with antibiotics or stronger creams that are only available on prescription.
Recommended Reading: How To Hide Back Acne
Your Smoking Habit Is Damaging Your Complexion
Smoking is ruining you in more ways than one, my friend. Every time you light up a cigarette, you decrease the amount of oxygen that goes to the skin on your face, Dr. Downie explains. Smoking not only predisposes you to cancer, but it also causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin that leads to wrinkles and increased pore size. The carcinogens in the smoke also irritate your skin and dry it out, triggering it to produce more oil and, possibly, more breakouts.
The zit fix:
Dont smoke. Its as simple as that. Youll live longer and have clearer skin. Boom.
What Is Acne And What Causes It
Acne is a condition of the skin that shows up as different types of bumps. These bumps can be blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, or cysts. Teens get acne because of the hormonal changes that come with puberty. If your parents had acne as teens, it’s more likely that you will, too. The good news is that, for most people, acne goes away almost completely by the time they are out of their teens.
The type of acne that a lot of teens get is called acne vulgaris . It usually shows up on the face, neck, shoulders, upper back, and chest.
The hair follicles, or pores, in your skin contain sebaceous glands . These glands make sebum, which is an oil that lubricates your hair and skin. Most of the time, the sebaceous glands make the right amount of sebum. As the body begins to mature and develop, though, hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to make more sebum.
Pores become clogged if there is too much sebum and too many dead skin cells. Bacteria can then get trapped inside the pores and multiply. This causes swelling and redness the start of acne.
If a pore gets clogged up and closes but bulges out from the skin, you’re left with a whitehead. If a pore gets clogged up but stays open, the top surface can darken and you’re left with a blackhead. Sometimes the wall of the pore opens, allowing sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells to make their way under the skin and you’re left with a small, red bump called a pimple .
Don’t Miss: Does Vitamin C Serum Help With Acne Scars
Lifestyle Changes To Get Rid Of Chest Acne
For chest acne caused by trapped sweat and restrictive clothing, you can clear up symptoms and avoid future breakouts by implementing a few changes to your exercise and showering routine. These steps are most effective for mild to moderate acne more severe acne requires the addition of professional treatment.
Treatment For Chest Acne
As with all types of acne, using the right skin care products is a good place to start.
Cleansers with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are bountiful at drug stores and may help control oil production.
Resist the temptation to scrub your chest, as there is no evidence acne is caused by being dirty, and using harsh scrubs or too much vigor while washing can further irritate your skin.
The more large, painful nodules and pustules you have, the more severe your acne is considered to be when diagnosed by a healthcare provider or dermatologist.
Severe acne warrants bringing out the big guns of acne treatment, including oral antibiotics and prescription retinoids.
Oral antibiotics such as tetracycline drugs can take several weeks to begin working, but are effective at fighting the bacteria that causes inflammatory acne. Topical retinoids fight the nasty dead skin cells that clog your pores.
When used together, oral antibiotics and topical retinoids are more effective than when either is used alone, according to research.
Your healthcare provider or a dermatologist can help you determine the right course of treatment given your acne and medical history.
Read Also: What Causes Chest And Back Acne
When To Seek Medical Advice
If you have mild acne, speak to a pharmacist about medicines to treat it.
If these do not control your acne, or it’s making you feel very unhappy, see a GP.
You should see a GP if you have moderate or severe acne or you develop nodules or cysts, as they need to be treated properly to avoid scarring.
Try to resist the temptation to pick or squeeze the spots, as this can lead to permanent scarring.
Treatments can take up to 3 months to work, so do not expect results overnight. Once they do start to work, the results are usually good.
Does Chest Acne Go Away
If you follow all the above expert advice, your chest acne should improve over time, but Dr. Kristina Goldenberg says it really depends on the the severity. “For some patients, making lifestyle changes will improve or even resolve their chest acne,” she says. “However, more often than not, patients do require treatment from a dermatologist to clear the acne.”
If your chest acne doesn’t go away after six weeks, consult your dermatologist for a stronger solution or to figure out if you’re even dealing with acne at all. But don’t feel like a derm is your last resorta doctor should, in an ideal world, always be your first line of defense.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Acne Redness Fast
How Do Doctors Diagnose Chest Acne
A dermatologist can typically diagnose chest acne by looking at it. There is no specific test. A dermatologist has the expertise to rule out other skin conditions that can look like acne, such as rosacea or acne inversa.
Your doctor may ask you several questions related to your chest acne breakouts including:
- When did your chest acne breakouts start?
- What other areas get acne breakouts?
- Are you experiencing any other symptoms, such as itching or visible blood vessels?
- What, if anything, seems to trigger breakouts or make them worse?
- Have your breakouts left dark spots or scars?
- What treatments have you tried?
Body Washes And Cleansers
Most acne-fighting body washes contain active ingredients that help dry up excess sebum in the skin and reduce bacterial inflammation.
Because benzoyl peroxide bleaches fabric, by using it in a rinse-off cleanser you can avoid staining your clothing or bedding.
A natural alternative to these ingredients is tea tree oil. This plant extract is an anti-inflammatory, and an antimicrobial that fights inflammation. As an astringent, it works to tighten skin and reduce oil. Tea tree oil, along with other botanical extracts such as licorice and witch hazel, is found in body washes formulated to treat acne.
In addition to medicated cleansers, exfoliating cleansers can also effectively treat chest acne. Chemical exfoliants contain alpha-hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid to slough off dead skin cells and reduce the likelihood of pores becoming clogged. You can also opt for body scrubs which perform the same function of mechanically exfoliating the skin these contain mildly abrasive ingredients such as sugar or sea salt.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Acne Redness Overnight