Chest acne is also known as body acne and can range in appearance from a few red pimples and spots to weeping pustules, blackheads, whiteheads and even cysts. In its mild form, it may not always cause major discomfort but severe forms can lead to skin infection, bleeding and scarring.
Who gets chest acne?
Chest acne can affect people ranging from 11 to 40 years old and above. It can appear equally in both men and women. It is still a mystery why chest acne can afflict some people while others don’t exhibit the same problem. Its root cause is still unknown. It does have a tendency to run in families and it usually appears in people with extra oily skin and those who sweat excessively.
How does chest acne develop?
Chest acne develops in the same way as regular acne does. Oil-producing sebaceous glands found just underneath the skin’s surface naturally excrete sebum. Usually, no problems occur as long as the rate of sebum production remains normal. Sebum and dead skin cells are usually washed away during regular cleansing and bathing, so the skin remains clear. It is only when there is hyperactivity in the glands that there is reason for concern.
When there is an over production of sebum, the pores become clogged. The trapped sebum and dead skin cells create the perfect living condition for the bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. These bacteria settle on the skin, multiply and cause skin infection. This infection leads to the formation of pimples or acne, characterized by red and inflamed bumps.
Treating chest acne
If what you have is a mild form of chest acne, also referred to as ‘zits’, you’re probably in luck. Chest acne that is still in its initial stages is usually easier to treat. You also don’t need to worry about the type and number of treatments available for chest acne because there are many options you can choose from, depending on the severity of your condition.
There is no known cure for acne and any product promising to erase your chest acne for good may be stretching the truth. This is because there is no true cure for acne since its root cause is unknown. Whatever treatment that is available in the market today is used mainly to address the symptoms. Eradicate the symptoms and you eradicate chest acne.
If you have chest acne, never try to press a pimple with your bare hands or attempt to cut through a cyst. You will risk infection if you do and you could even cause some scarring to appear. Try to handle your chest acne as gently as possible and remember to keep your hands off unless necessary.
Use an antibacterial soap that is especially formulated to treat acne and wash the affected area. You might have to repeat the process depending on the product’s or your doctor’s recommendation. Carefully dry your skin and apply an antibacterial cream. Try to wash the affected area twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed.
There are several brands of over-the-counter creams and gels that are commonly used to treat chest acne, most of which contain the ingredient benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is an effective oxidizer and keratolytic that effectively kills the P. acnes bacteria and helps reduce the redness and swelling.
If applying a topical antibacterial ointment seems inconvenient, ask your doctor if it’s possible for you to use an oral antibiotic. This is usually the method of treatment for acne that covers a wider area of the skin.
When taking antibiotics, you might have to follow a treatment course that could last for several weeks, sometimes as long as 12 weeks in more severe cases. If you don’t complete a treatment using antibiotics, chest acne will reappear and might even worsen, so make sure you follow your doctor’s recommendation.
For more severe forms of chest acne, such as those that involve pustules and cysts, see a doctor for a proper recommendation of treatment. He might prescribe stronger medications that you can take in oral form or receive as an injection. You might also be recommended for steroids or laser therapy.
Tight clothing and chest acne
If you find that tight clothing tends to aggravate your chest acne, try to avoid wearing them. Choose clothes that do not hug your skin too much and wear fabrics made of light, breathable material like cotton. Try not to use fabrics that may chafe or irritate your skin.
For days when you need to expose your décolletage, there is an emergency fix you can use. Apply a mild disinfectant on your skin and use a concealer that contains salicylic acid. Use a swab to apply the product to ensure that you keep the area germ-free. This will serve as a temporary solution until after you’ve found the perfect solution for your chest acne.