Last Updated on August 7th, 2020
Acne breakouts on your shoulders are usually not the easy-to-treat mild to moderate form of common acne known as acne vulgaris.
Here’s how to combat shoulder and back acne:
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Sometimes shoulder acne is just a reaction to tight-fitting clothes or shoulder pads, but often shoulder acne is a sign of a much more serious form of this common skin condition. Shoulder acne can be especially severe because the pores on the shoulders are large and pimples can grow especially large.
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The easy-to-treat form of shoulder acne is a condition known as acne mechanica. In this form of shoulder acne, the initial cause of irritation to the skin is the accumulation of sweat underneath shoulder pads, brassiere straps, or tight-fighting clothing. The skin responds to irritation by creating more sebum. The oily sebum builds up in pores that become clogged, resulting in whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples.
It is important to distinguish this form of shoulder acne from folliculitis, which occurs in hair follicles, especially after shaving the shoulders.
It can also occur after use of a hot tub or by wearing a wetsuit. Folliculitis is more likely to be painful than acne and is caused by a different microorganism. Folliculitis causes raised swellings with a yellow center, and acne does not. Consulting a doctor is usually necessary for treatment of folliculitis.
The treatment for acne mechanica on the shoulders is uncomplicated. All that is necessary is to stop the accumulation of sweat on the skin. This can mean placing cloth over shoulder pads or buying a better-fitting brassiere.
The best acne product for treating breakouts on the shoulders is benzoyl peroxide. Since the skin on the shoulders is tough and thick, benzoyl peroxide is less likely to cause inflammation or irritation, and more likely to kill the acne bacteria in pores. Just don’t begin benzoyl peroxide treatment before changing the wardrobe malfunction that is keeping the skin of the shoulders irritated.
Steroid acne is inflammation of the skin that occurs after injection of steroids. Both prescription and illegal steroid drugs can cause steroid acne. The greatest number of pimples and papules occur on the shoulders, but there are also breakouts on the torso, buttocks, hands, and feet, with less involvement of the face. Steroid acne usually clears up when steroid use is discontinued.
Certain antibiotics may cause the breakout of pimples and pustules primarily on the shoulders, but also elsewhere on the trunk and, to a lesser extent, on the face. 💊 Penicillin antibiotics are most likely to have this effect, but pustular eruptions on the shoulders can also be caused by the antibiotics doxycycline and co-trimoxazole, which are antibiotics that are sometimes used to treat acne on the face, as well as the drugs chloramphenicol, itraconazole, hydroxychloroquine, mercury, lithium, isoniazid, and olanzapine. This form of acne also usually clears up when the medication causing it is discontinued.
Swallowing water when swimming in a chlorinated pool can cause a form of chloracne, which can pop out months of years after the event. Taking iodine supplements or eating sushi sometimes triggers the outbreak. Pimples will be worst on the shoulders but can occur anywhere on the body.
A form of yeast known as Malassezia furfur, which was previously named Pityrosporum ovale, can grow on the shoulders and cause an acne-like skin break out. It usually accumulates under shoulder pads or shoulder straps. The surface of the skin may be covered with pimples at first, but they appear to grow together into a single, itchy plaque.
Anti-fungal treatment gets rid of such yeast infections.
Acne conglobata is an especially severe form of acne in which large, red lesions burrow and connect to each other. Usually occurring in men aged 18 to 30, acne conglobata affects shoulders, back, torso, and face. It is usually a genetic condition, but it can also be triggered by the use of injected bodybuilding steroids. 💪🏽🏋️ Acne conglobata can also affect the joints and kidneys.
Getting acne conglobata under control usually requires a combination of steroid drugs and antibiotics. Repairing skin damage caused by acne conglobata is not something that can be done with moisturizers, exfoliants, and peels. Laser resurfacing may help. Emotional support of men who have this severe form of acne is essential to their recovery.
The most important thing to do for shoulder acne is to stop anything that is causing it. If the problem is acne mechanica, then it is necessary to stop wearing tight clothes. If the problem is steroid acne, then steroid injections have to be discontinued.
Most of the treatments that work for acne on the face, such as antibiotics, tea tree oil, Retin-A, topical tretinoin, Accutane, Tazorac, Differin, cleansers, moisturizers, exfoliants, and skin peels, usually have very little effect on shoulder acne.
Of all the various forms of shoulder acne, only acne mechanica can be treated without seeing a doctor.
Fortunately, acne mechanica is the most common form of shoulder acne. Here’s what you can do:
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Hi, I have acne on my face, but not so much, and on my back, chest, and shoulders. I would like you to help me get rid of it. I am embarrassed to wear tank tops and to go swimming, please help me! Thanks
I keep breaking out on.my shoulder and back, I also use african black soap. But still little white bumps pop up on my arms, shoulders and back. Can you help my so I wear summer clothing.
I have shoulder and back acne that is dry and itchy I've tried mild soaps and lotions nothing seems to work. Some time I scratch so hard it bleeds what can I do?
Take shower twice a day with luke warm water after any type of workout or any work.....it surely works....because I too tried it and got best results.
i had really acne on my forehead, chest, shoulders, and back and it was because i was eating so much junk and im an althele and i work out a lot and i take showers right after but i guess not soon enough and i currently gotten rid of teh acne on my forehead, and chest i am struggling with the acne on my back and shoulders. Can anyone help?
Try African black soap and coconut oil this is what I use and it's getting rid of the ance but slowly. But it will go, also try zineryt which helps in 2 week you have to get it from your doctor. Hope it helps.
I have acne on my chest back and shoulders, and face but not so much on my face. And I'm only 14 I really need help its getting close to summer and I don't wanna be made fun of for it. Please if you could help me.
I know how you feel. Iwhen I was a teen I suffered from bad acne and I still suffer from mild acne. Don't pick is the number one thing to remember. It can be hard, especially when there's a big tempting zit that is staring at you like please pop meee! If you must, do it after a shower. The steam will help open your pores making it easier to pop and therefore less trauma to the skin. Make sure you use a good toner afterwards or witch hazel, I sometimes follow up with a pimple spot treatment using some plant based product. Exfoliating will help :) don't over exfoliate though! There is such a thing hehe too much exfoliation can arrgrevate the pimples more. Once to twice a week is usually recommended for face, and body I'd vary from 1-3 times a week depending on my skins condition and my activities. Make sure you have a good shower and scrub if you get particularly sweaty at all. Sea salt scrubs are great for treating pimples (I use LUSH) and fine gentle exfoliant for the face. Using more plant based products can sometimes help. I used all the big brand names and department store ones, supermarket ones.. but of all, making my own facial stuff and using plant based products, I've had better skin outcomes as they aren't usually too harsh and irritating tothe skin. If you can, also sit in the sun in your backyard or somewhere you feel Comfortable wearing a singlet and showing your back and shoulders, the sun and heat from the sun helps kill bacteria on the skin that can cause pimples. I notice mypimples are worse around the time of my period so I know mine are mainly hormone related but also having my hair down around my face or on my shoulders, I get pimples in those spots from oils from my hair in contact with my skin. Hope this helps!
Am having in shoulder any one help me
I have small little pimples on my shoulders and it never goes away
Im afraid to wear tank tops too
I have acne on my face and shoulders. Nothing I do seems to help. Anyone have advice for me?
I left a comment above for someone else that might have some advice you can use :) but if you're not a teen, and it's particularly bad, I'd see a doctor and maybe get referral to dermatologist. Or you can go the other way and try more natural plant based i products which have less chemicals and irritants that my aggregate the skin. I use a combo of making my own products, LUSH, or what other plant based ones I can find in chemist. Sea salt scrubs can be really good for killing the bacteria that's helped cause the acne and exfoliate at the same time, but will sting a bit of you use it on open pimples. Also don't be afraid to use toner on your body :) I use witch hazel on a cotton pad and wipe over my chest and breasts, swapping for new one when I switch to face or shoulders. Doing this twice a day when you get dressed or before bed/after an evening shower can have some good results after a week or so. A gentle/fine shower mitt with a good plantbased shower gel should help if used in conjunction. Good luck!