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Published: October 8, 2021


Acne is a common skin condition in which pores produce excess sebum that traps dirt and grime. Acne is often used as a catch-all phrase for any flare up, breakout, or blemish but in fact, acne is a specific skin disorder that describes the underlying process in which hair follicles plug with dirt, sebum, sediment, and dead skin cells. The result of acne is often pimples, pustules, blackheads, cysts, and the like.

Acne can affect anyone and can occur anywhere on the body that has hair follicles. The only places that really aren’t susceptible are the palms of the feet and hands. The most common areas to experience acne are the face, neck, chest, torso, and back. Facial acne and cystic acne is commonly discussed in dermatology circles. Watch any “coming-of-age” flick and it would seem as if acne breakouts are a rite of passage.

However, acne, and subsequent acne scars, can be emotionally and physically distressing. Depending on the severity, treatments can vary from a routine foaming facial cleanser to an extended regimen of prescription drugs.

Chest acne is just one instance of body acne and can be tricky to deal with. We often go to great lengths to take care of our faces and respond to any skin issues that arise with curated skin care products. Breakouts on the chest may take us by surprise and seriously downgrade our confidence levels.

woman with a towel on her head looking at her skin


Chest acne has numerous causes but there are some main risk factors to consider when trying to understand the root cause. They are as follows:


Also known as closed comedones, whiteheads are closed at the skin surface, causing pus to build up underneath the surface, where trapped bacteria lives. 


Tweens and teens experiencing chest acne may have wild hormone fluctuations to blame. As the body transitions from childhood into adulthood, testosterone and estrogen levels rise, which can stimulate oil glands.

Hormone fluctuations

Individuals that experience any hormone fluctuations, like during the menstruation cycle, from birth control, or from other medications, can be prone to bouts of chest acne. 


While exercise is inherently good for all the body’s internal systems, including the skin, it does have a tendency to generate additional sweat. This can clog pores with dead skin cells, generating chest acne.

Diet and lifestyle factors

Sugary foods or dairy products have a tendency for some to cause acne in various regions on the body. Lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking, and poor hygiene may spur breakouts on the chest and neck.

Personal care products

Ones made with synthetic ingredients, known allergens, or pore-clogging ingredients like mineral oil can exacerbate acne conditions.


As the largest organ, our skin needs water to thrive. Dehydration can cause skin to become dry, itchy, irritable, and thus increase its own sebum production in an attempt to remedy the situation. 

Steroid or Corticosteroid

These can increase oil production in various places throughout the body.

Allergies to laundry detergent

What looks like chest acne may in fact be an allergic reaction to ingredients found in common laundry detergents.

woman looking in the mirror at her body acne
woman looking in the mirror at her body acne


Chest acne exhibits the same symptoms as acne anywhere else. There are two types of chest acne - inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Depending on your skin type and the severity of the skin disease, acne may produce the following types of symptoms:


Also known as closed comedones, whiteheads are closed at the skin surface, causing pus to build up underneath the surface, where trapped bacteria lives. 


Open comedones are clogged pores that remain uncovered at the skin’s surface. These pores collect dirt and grime, giving the appearance of a dark spot, but don’t close over.


These large, solid bumps that form underneath the skin can be either red or skin-toned. They form slowly and don’t go away quickly.


A type of nodule, cysts don’t feel completely solid and are filled with pus.


These appear as red or pink raised bumps. When topped with pus, they are called pustules, when no pus forms, they are called papules.


First, attempt to identify the underlying cause of your chest acne. Work with a dermatologist or use online dermatology-focused resources to further investigate some potential causes. Here are some straightforward ways to begin treating your chest acne.  

Cleanliness is key:

Acne isn’t always caused by unhygienic practices, however, keeping a clean routine can certainly help minimize the possibility of dirt-inspired breakouts.

Shower immediately after your workout:

Trapped dead skin is the catalyst for pimples, pustules, and the like. Using a soft exfoliator like a washcloth or exfoliating scrub removes the top layer of skin, mitigating dead cells from building up.

Wash with gentle soap:

Harsh exfoliants, acne-scrubs, or chemical-based peels can exacerbate the sensitive decolletage and cause an adverse reaction. Sensitive products with minimal ingredients are key to keeping this area clear of debris and acne-free. Additionally, non-comedogenic cleansers with salicylic acid cleansers can be ultra-effective for severe breakouts.

Exfoliate weekly: 

Trapped dead skin is the catalyst for pimples, pustules, and the like. Using a soft exfoliator like a washcloth or exfoliating scrub removes the top layer of skin, mitigating dead cells from building up.

Avoid clothing that traps sweat:

Wear breathable fabric and avoid tight clothing, especially when hanging outside or working out. Make sure clothes are loose-fitting so that sweat may evaporate more easily. 

Apply topical treatments to blemishes: 

Active Pureness Corrector made with glycolic and mandelic acid, this spot corrector targets localized blemishes, clearing them up in no time. Using the corrector on troublesome bacne spots can help you slip back into that halter top in time for a weekend concert. 


Get rid of chest acne once and for all with consistency in high-quality skincare products and shower routines. Using the right products also gives your skin a boost by allowing it to act as nature intended. Pairing a gentle shower gel with a weekly exfoliating cleanser is a great place to start when combating chest acne. Then, build upon your acne treatment skin care regimen from there.

[ comfort zone ] products were created to help our customers with all variations of skin issues, including chest acne. We want the people that use our products to be able to put their best skin forward, each and every day. Decades of research go into each product we create because we know that beauty is more than skin deep. Beauty relates to how we feel on the inside, and we are bound to feel, and look, our best, when we use the best ingredients that nature has to offer.

Using nature-made, sustainable ingredients is just one way that [ comfort zone ] looks out for you and the place you call home. As a certified B Corp, our practices are rooted in sustainability, ensuring that we not only do our part to create lasting, effective skin care products but to improve the entire skin care industry so we may all serve the greater good.

woman drinking a glass of water looking at her skin


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