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Treatment for Acne & Blackheads on the Chest & Back


Acne and blackheads on the chest and back can occur when the skin's oil glands produce too much sebum, which is a fatty lubricant. This excess oil clogs the pores, accumulating dirt and bacteria, leading to skin lesions, or pimples. Acne usually starts around puberty and can occur anywhere on the body. There are various treatments for chest and back acne, depending on the severity.

Contributing Factors

Acne and blackheads tend to be genetic. If one of your parents had acne, there is a good chance that you'll have it as well. They can be triggered by using greasy skin care products, including body lotions. Some medications, such as steroids, testosterone, estrogen and phenytoin, can trigger acne flare-ups. Higher levels of humidity and perspiration on the body can also contribute to acne. Acne may worsen in women before menstruation due to hormonal changes.

Skin Treatment

If you experience acne and blackheads on your chest and back, cleanse your skin twice daily with warm water and gentle cleanser. Always wash gently, as rubbing vigorously can irritate your acne and make the condition worse. Keep your hands away from your acne, as this can spread bacteria. Shower after exercise to avoid excess perspiration buildup. If a shower is not possible, change your shirt to keep the sweat off your chest and back.

Medications for Mild Chest and Back Acne

Use a gentle cleanser on your chest and back to remove oil, and gently pat dry with a towel. Avoid harsh soaps as they can irritate your acne. A 10 percent alpha hydroxy acid can be used to exfoliate the skin and generate new skin cells. Over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide lotions work well, however, as they have a tendency to discolor your skin and clothing, which can be a concern when treating chest and back acne.

Medications for Moderate to Severe Chest and Back Acne

For moderate to severe cases of chest and back acne, there are antibiotic lotions and gels available. Retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A, is effective in the prevention of blackheads and whiteheads. Oral antibiotics, such as erythromycin, can be prescribed by your doctor. Oral antibiotics are often used in combination with topical medications. Birth control pills are sometimes prescribed to women as a treatment for acne.

What You Can Do

There is no quick and easy cure for acne and blackheads on your chest and back, but there are some things you can do to help prevent them. Wear breathable cotton shirts and blouses, and avoid any clothing that is too tight. Shower after exercise or if you get sweaty, or change your clothes if a shower is not possible. Avoid the sun. If avoidance is not possible, use a sunscreen. Avoid anything that irritates acne on your chest and back, such as a backpack.

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