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Chest Acne: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Jen Mallari · Updated Apr 18, 2023

    Chest Acne: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

    Chest acne is not just a health issue, but it is also a skin condition that causes insecurity among many people. Chest acne is quite common, but luckily there are treatments that can address the spread of acne in this specific part of the body. It is important to be familiar with the causes of chest acne to prevent it from happening. Also, knowing what chest acne treatment to use can effectively address the problem. 

    What Causes Chest Acne?

    Acne is caused by clogged pores. Certain types of bacteria called propionibacterium acne infiltrate the pores and cause this blockage. Other causes of acne also include hormonal fluctuations during a woman’s menstrual cycle and pregnancy, androgen hormones that are active during adolescence or adulthood, an excess in sebum production, and surface bacteria on the skin. 

    Acne can affect any part of the body so long as it has oil glands. This means the chest is one of those body parts that can have acne. Aside from the various causes of acne mentioned above, there are other factors that may heighten the chances of acne forming on the chest such as: 

    • Friction from clothing
    • Sweating a lot
    • Skin products that make the skin dry or prevent water loss
    • Stress – When the body is stressed out it produces hormones (androgens). And these hormones have various effects on the body, specifically, in the hair follicles and oil glands. Once these become active or inflamed, it leads to the production of more acne. 
    • Diet – Studies have shown that high-glycemic foods (foods that can cause a spike in blood sugar) can cause a fluctuation in hormones. Once this happens, it stimulates the production of sebum in the skin. The presence of excess sebum leads to the development of acne on the skin. 
    • Medications (lithium, testosterone, or corticosteroids)

    While diet is traditionally not considered by dermatologists as a cause of acne, it is becoming increasingly clear that there may be a correlation between acne and diet. 

    One study has shown that women who drank two or more glasses of skim milk a day had a 44% likelihood of having acne compared to the women who did not drink skim milk at all. 

    Another study’s results show that teenagers and young men (15-25 years of age) who underwent a low-glycemic diet had a decrease in inflammatory acne lesions. 

    How Is Chest Acne Treated?

    If you have chest acne, it is best to consult a dermatologist for a treatment. Chest acne treatment may include the following:

    • Using gentle scrubs is a common chest acne treatment, and it is also one of the easiest to incorporate into your lifestyle. Simply choose gentle exfoliating loofahs and avoid purchasing hard and abrasive shower accessories. Gentle scrubs prevent your chest and other body parts from becoming irritated from rough scrubbing. 
    • Use non-comedogenic creams to prevent clogging pores. Remember, clogged pores lead to acne. 
    • Another chest acne treatment would be using OTC body washes that have salicylic acid as an active ingredient. You may also opt for body washes with benzoyl peroxide. This is also an effective ingredient in treating mild inflammatory acne.

    How Can Chest Acne Be Prevented?

    Chest acne treatments are used for acne that is already present. But what can be done to prevent chest acne from developing in the first place? 

    • Avoid wearing clothing that is too tight on the skin. Tight clothing causes friction, and this can irritate the skin and cause acne. It would be best to opt for loose clothing or clothes made from cotton. 
    • Avoid using harsh body scrubs. Such body scrubs often have large, abrasive grains that cause skin irritation. 
    • Body washes that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are also effective preventive measures. 
    • Change your diet. As much as possible, try to reduce food that can spike blood sugar levels as these are likely to cause acne. 

    Key Takeaways

    Chest acne is not a difficult skin condition to treat, provided you use simple and effective chest acne treatments. Lifestyle changes, such as diet, the clothes you wear and your body wash can also help to prevent chest acne from occurring. Consult a dermatologist for the best chest acne treatment for you.

    Learn more about Acne here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Martha Juco, MD


    Written by Jen Mallari · Updated Apr 18, 2023

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