Chest acne is behind only facial acne in the number of sufferers worldwide. In one interesting study, academics found that people with chest acne have almost as many social and appearance-related problems as those with facial acne. It is especially distressing during the summer when you want to shed some of those clothes. Luckily, much of this is preventable and treatable.
Before you start treating it, make sure that it is acne rather than folliculitis, a condition that is also caused by a bacterial infection and inflammation of your pores (hair follicles). These are normally small red bumps or white-headed pimples that grow in clusters around your pores. They usually occur in areas where a lot of hair grow, such as around the lips, on the chest, and around the pubic area, but they can develop crusts that are more or less permanent if they aren’t treated properly. In fact, since they are also inflammatory and bacterial (though caused by different bacteria from those that cause acne), many of the following suggestions might work for them, too.
Tips for Treating and Preventing Chest Acne
Follow as many of the below suggestions:
- If you often get acne on your chest, you may want to keep your chest hair as short as possible to make the problem easier to manage. Moreover, hairy areas sweat more, and bacteria love to congregate in damp areas. Shaving might be overkill, but you can clip it when it gets out of control. Because of the bras they wear, women can also benefit from wiping off the sweat and drying themselves with a towel a few times during the day. Cotton and linen clothes will allow some of the dampness to escape.
- Use non-comedogenic or oil-free moisturizing products, instead of oils, butters, and greasy sunscreens. Cucumber, tea, hydrosols (the water derived from the process during which essential oils are extracted), and glycerin work wonders.
- Make a paste to apply to your chest. It must have ingredients to remove oil and dead skin cells from your pores, kill the bacteria that infect your pores, and combat the inflammation that attacks the area. To do this at home, crush two aspirin tablets into a fine powder, and mix this with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel. Aspirin is nothing other than salicylic acid, and aloe vera and honey are great natural antibiotics. If you are in a maintenance phase, apply this once or twice a week. Otherwise, once a day might be necessary. Wash it off after half an hour. If you don’t have honey or aloe vera, you can use coconut oil, but you will have to wash it off extremely well to prevent it from clogging your pores.
- Make green tea wipes to use throughout the day. Carry a bottle of green tea that you have made with fresh or dried leaves with you all day. Wet cotton wool or even toilet paper in it to wipe your chest whenever you go to the bathroom. It dries quickly and is not sticky and it carries the additional benefit that it forces you to clean the oil and sweat of yourself frequently. Green tea is antibacterial.
- Add an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory essential oil to your wipes. Tea tree and lemon oils are the best here, as they will not clog your pores. Ten drops of oil per one liter of water are enough, otherwise the solution will be too strong and will dry your skin. Lavender is also a dual antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, but men may not want to smell like their grannies!
- In my family, we use Exposed Skin Care’s body acne kit. It eliminates the need to mess around with home-made products and it contains the full range of ingredients that you need to clear up your acne. No acne treatment without salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, green tea, azelaic acid, and sulfur can ever be complete, and between cleansers and creams, Exposed’s products contain them all. Together, they attack the propionibacterium acnes bacteria and the inflammation. Best of all, they clean your skin and remove the oils and dead skin cells that would otherwise block your pores.
- If you don’t mind spending some money, 0.05 percent tretinoin creams are now available over the counter, and many online outlets stock them too. This is a form of vitamin A that has repeatedly proved effective against acne. You can apply it in the mornings and evenings at home. If your problem is more severe than these home remedies can repair, you will probably have to ask your doctor for a prescription for strong vitamin A creams. Vitamin A creams do make your skin sun-sensitive, so you will have to remain covered-up.
Just one note for people who want to use only substances from their bathroom and kitchen cupboards. These can work very well, and I often use them too. My life would have been a lot poorer without my essential oils, honey, and aloe vera. But when you add up all the money you spend on these products, you will often find that you could have bought a good commercial product for less. This is especially true if you buy only the best brand name honey and essential oils, which is usually crucial if you want the best results. You were going to spend money anyway. Spend it on something you know works.