Back And Chest Acne

Let’s talk about your not so dirty little secret… Back and chest acne. Aka “chacne” and “backne”. I can feel you cringing and reaching for another layer of clothing just at the thought. Don’t. Back and chest acne is more common than you think! Acne does not discriminate against race, age, how you identify or as we all probably already know, location on your body either. But similar to the acne you get on your face, there are a handful of causes and ways to prevent back and chest acne! 

What’s unique about back and chest acne?

We’ve written a lot about how our hormones and our inherited qualities play a huge role in whether we suffer from acne or not, and how badly we suffer from acne. Likewise, health issues and medications we may temporarily take can contribute to how our skin behaves. These are all true for back and chest acne too.

Often many people may be prescribed corticosteroids (such as prednisone) to treat common illnesses. Others take steroids for  performance improvement in sports. In either case, the chemistry of these medicines can look and act similar to androgen hormones (the ones implicated in oil production). Often, acne resulting from steroid use appears on the lower jaw, chest, and back. It typically resolves when we stop taking the steroid medication, but many of us need this medication to treat a broader illness!

In other ways backne and chacne behave just like facial acne. There are “lifestyle” habits that can help or hinder an acne-prone person’s efforts to battle it. Let’s discuss.

#1 Clean Up ASAP After Your Workouts

We love our athletes and our exercise enthusiasts. But these folks in particular are busy people. They go from work or class directly to the fields or the gyms, and it can be hours after the workout before they can shower. Some of us spend entire weekends competing in tournaments, during which time the same sweaty jerseys, caps, and sports masks are clinging to our skin for 8-12 hours. It’s no wonder our pores revolt!

The point is: do your best to shower as soon as possible after a workout or match. If it’s going to be several hours before you can shower, try to change into a clean shirt for the time in between. Better yet, bring a towel and wipe down your back and chest. Keep cotton rounds soaked in your favorite toner in your gym bag so that you can clean up in between matches. 

Pro Tip: If you wear protective goggles or sports masks, make sure to wipe them down often with alcohol wipes or soap-and-water. 

#2 Healthy Habits

Did you know it only takes 21 days to establish a healthy habit? Furthermore, the good habits you establish are likely to help you in your battle against back and chest acne? Acne everywhere for that matter! One of the leading causes of back and chest acne are your household cleaning habits (your bed sheets). Sweat is a breeding ground for bacteria! Wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly. Other pore-cloggers are those products you put on your body (sunscreen, body wash, and even perfumes or lotions). If these are heavy in the oil content (coconut oil and coconut butter are “no, no’s”) they can lead to clogged pores. Additionally, if you are spraying on alcohol-based SPF while you are out and about in the sun, the alcohol can dehydrate your pores, which can turn a bad skin situation worse. Make sure the products you are using are light-weight and mineral- based. Achieving clear skin is a balancing act which includes maintaining healthy oil production! 

#3 Wear Your Intentions on Your Sleeve

Your shirts are in contact with your  chest and back all day every single day! There are a handful of different ways your clothing could be leading to a breakout. One is your laundry detergent. It is possible that the dyes or fragrances in your detergent could be a trigger for your acne. Try one that is fragrance-free, or one of the many non-sulfur-based detergents! A second way is that you could be using too much detergent, which isn’t being rinsed thoroughly from your clothing. Try using much less than you think you need. You can also add a tablespoon or so of vinegar along with it.  Finally, thing you might opt for loose-fitting or breathable material in regard to your clothing choice. Breathable materials are especially important when you are working out! Make sure you are washing all of those pieces afterwards. Underwear and swimwear included (especially in those summer months).

#4 Product Predicament 

Another speed bump in back and chest acne is when you are not using the right products for YOU. This is a huge one for all types of acne. With back and chest acne in particular, though, it could be as simple as the body wash you are using isn’t doing the trick, or your shampoo that is running off onto your back and chest. In addition,  as with our faces, the skin on our back and chest can suffer from over-treatment too. Over-treating with harsh products, excessive use of spot treatments, and over-exfoliating can make your body acne worse! Instead of spending hours surfing the web looking for answers, schedule an appointment with your local acne specialist. Trained estheticians are there to assist you in understanding your acne journey. Take a look at our page for more information! 

#5 Treat it Professionally

Back and chest acne can be treated just as facial acne. Chemical peels and extractions can help. In some cases, we can be more aggressive with peels on the back and chest area. 

In any case, don’t let the fear of back or chest acne popping up, keep you from your day to day life. Hustle hard in the gym, just take a shower immediately after. Wear SPF and take in the beach, but make sure it is mineral-based. You do not have to stop living or even significantly change your habits, just alter them to a healthier version. More questions or concerns regarding acne? Schedule a complimentary consultation with Clinically Clear Atlanta here.

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