chest acne
Credit: TheKingStrident

Acne, sometimes referred to as “common acne”, is a common outbreak of pimples that nearly everyone suffers from at some point in his or her life. It begins when oily secretions from the sebaceous glands of the skin plug the tiny pores for hair follicles.

Pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts pustules, and even lesions on the chest due to oily secretions from the oil-producing glands characterize chest acne. In cases where there are large openings, these clogs assume the form of blackheads (tiny, flat spots that have dark centers). On the other hand, if the openings remain small, these clogs assume the form of whiteheads (tiny, fresh-colored bumps). However, both forms of plugged pores are capable of developing into swollen, tender pimples, inflammations, nodules, or deeper lumps.

This form of acne can be embarrassing. Sometimes, you may want to wear a swimsuit or a low-cut top or dress, but they are showing all over your chest, making you feel shy or lose confidence in yourself, and preventing you from wearing what you feel like. To make it worse, you may have seen a dress that you love so much but you know you cannot buy it because you will not be able to wear it without acne embarrassing you. The worst feeling is having something dictate the clothing that you can wear or the comfort you feel around your social setting or environment.


Causes of Chest Acne

Just like the regular acne, hormones and stress also cause chest acne. Unlike the regular acne, this type of acne can occur as a result of the clothes that you wear and our daily life activities. The back, for example, has numerous sebaceous glands, which secrete excess oil, leading to clogged pores. Tight fitting clothing and perspiration can be solely responsible for such a skin condition and this explains why many physically active men and women out there are prone to this form of acne. Moreover, synthetic materials like polyester and lycra trap perspiration, which then come to mix with surface oils. Consequently, a film is produced and it clogs pores resulting in either whiteheads or deep cystic blemishes.

Unlike a popular belief that acne is caused by a poor hygiene, harmful diet, or an uncontrolled sex drive, it is mostly hereditary as hormones are the primal cause of a majority of acne types. Like it or not, avoiding chocolate, or margarine, or scrubbing your face every hour on every single day will have less effect on your predisposition to this unfortunate, sometimes painful, unsightly, and embarrassing skin condition.

Even though stress can accelerate acne, clearly, it does not cause it. Hormones are the major cause of acne. In teenagers, for instance, common acne starts when the hormonal production increases. During maturity and development of the sexual reproduction system especially at puberty, both girls and boys secrete high levels of androgen – the male hormones (including testosterone). Testosterone alerts the body to produce more sebum – the oil secreted in the oil glands of the skin, causing acne.

Alternatively, bacteria are largely responsible for acne. Excess sebum clogs hair follicle openings, especially those on the chest, back, neck, and face. Bacteria continue to grow in the clogged follicles and as a result, blackheads or whiteheads (comedones), form on the surface of the skin. In some circumstances, the clogging results in breaking of the follicle wall under the buildup pressure. Effectively, this causes leaking of sebum into nearby tissues to form a papule or pustule – also called inflammatory acne. When pustules grow larger and tender, they develop into nodules. On the other hand, oral contraceptives can trigger acne in most women while suppressing it in others depending on the type of pill used. Moreover, some contraceptives that are injected and intrauterine devices for birth control (IUD) are likely to cause acne. Also in the world of sports, bodybuilders and other athletes who take steroids can also experience severe acne.

Murad Acne Clarifying Body Spray, Step 2 Treat/Repair, 4.3 fl oz (130 ml )
Amazon Price: $37.00 $23.90 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 10, 2015)

Preventive Measures

Healthy skin care habits should be incorporated on a regular basis to reduce the chances or effects of acne. For instance, maintain a daily skincare routine. Since both the chest and back are prone to perspiration and undergo constant contact with the clothes that you wear, apply products specifically made to be effective in those particular areas. As a precaution, avoid using a rough body scrub especially on breakouts because it may irritate the troubled skin and in effect continue to spread bacteria. In addition, be cautious of the clothing that you were while working out at the gym. Choose natural fibers such as cotton instead as it will let the skin breathe. Minimize new breakouts by ensuring you shower immediately after a sporting or workout session.

Treatment Alternatives

Since showering is important, use appropriate soap that fights acne. Effective soaps to use with a scrubbing sponge are those containing azulene or salicylic acid or cucumber. This is because they contain ingredients that act as drying agents and will help curb acne. However, be careful and scrub gently because being rough on your skin will deplete the skin’s natural oils and irritate acne. The most important thing is showering on a daily basis to prevent sebum and bacteria from collecting on the surface of your skin, causing acne.

After having a shower and scrubbing your body gently, apply a topical zit zapper – a cream with a concentration of salicylic acid of between 0.5 and 2percent. Dry out or heal the spot faster by smearing it directly over the acne area. You can also use benzoyl peroxide to fight bacteria causing acne while also helping dry out and peel dead skin layers on the epidermis. In addition, ensure you exfoliate by removing dead skin layers on the epidermis to reduce incidences of acne. This will prevent sebum from building up and clogging of hair follicles.

The tendency to wear tightly fitting tops and bras in women contributes to chest acne. On the other hand, men mostly have their chests covered with hair, making exfoliation critical in both cases. Eating fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water can prevent future occurrence of acne. In addition, avoid sweet, sugary drinks such as juices and sodas.

Image Credit: TheKingStrident , Elvert Barnes

Murad Acne Body Wash (8.5 oz)
Amazon Price: $39.50 $22.89 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 10, 2015)