Causes of Chest Acne & Bacne (Back Acne) and How to Treat These Breakouts

Skin Health, How To, Skin Science

Causes of Chest Acne & Bacne (Back Acne) and How to Treat These Breakouts

by Liz Thompson
August 23, 2023

While you may have a regular skincare routine that keeps your complexion looking clear and healthy, let's face it — pimples happen. And summer is prime time for breakouts to flare up, including chest acne and bacne (back acne, or acne on the upper back and shoulders).

Find out what causes acne on the chest and back, and how to keep your skin glowing all the way through bathing suit season.

What Causes Bacne and Chest Acne?

There are several reasons you might see breakouts on your chest and back. The onset of summer can throw your skin into imbalance, and these areas are no exception.

Overproduction of Natural Skin Oils

The areas of your skin that produce more oil (like the T-zone of your face) are also more likely to produce pimples. This is what makes the skin on your back ripe for breakouts. When heat and humidity hit in summer months, the skin can overproduce oils, leading to an increase in chest and back acne.

Sensitivity to Cosmetic or Skincare Ingredients

The chest is usually a less oily zone, so you might be wondering — why am I getting chest acne? Causes of acne on your chest can include skin irritation after wearing sunscreen, or a sensitivity to ingredients in products such as moisturizer or body wash.

Dietary Choices

Who wants to forgo burgers on the grill, fried chicken or ice cream when it's summer? While researchers previously thought there was no connection between greasy foods and acne, a recent study published in JAMA Dermatology found that foods high in fat, dairy and sugar were associated with participants' increased risk of breakouts.

Maybe It's Eczema

Eczema is sometimes mistaken for acne because both can appear red and swollen. Eczema often includes bumps that look like blemishes. Since eczema can occur in both dry and oily skin, it's worth investigating further if you feel your bumps may be due to this skin condition.

How to Get Rid of Chest and Back Acne

If you're figuring out how to get rid of bacne and acne on the chest, there are products formulated specifically for the body — and not the face — that make this task easier.

Start by cleansing your skin with a cleanser meant to help with the appearance of body acne. Neutrogena Stubborn Body Acne Cleanser & Exfoliator cleanses pores of dirt and excess sebum and exfoliates dry, dead skin cells to keep skin looking clear.

Using a spray is also much easier than applying a lotion when it comes to bacne treatment. Try spritzing your back and shoulders with Stubborn Body Acne Treatment Spray designed to visibly clear the skin.

Remedies and Treatments for Your Body Acne

Wearing sunscreen daily is an absolute must. If you are prone to back and chest acne, use an oil-free sunscreen like the Neutrogena® Sport Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70+. It won't clog your pores or exacerbate breakouts. The Neutrogena® Clear Body Break-Out Free Liquid Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic and perfect for acne-prone skin. Wearing lightweight, breathable fabrics and using a fragrance-free laundry detergent are other ways to help diminish signs of body acne.

Healing Chest and Back Acne Scarring

When pimples fade, you might see dark spots on your skin. The best way to visibly diminish bacne and chest scars is to always wear sunscreen or cover skin while outdoors, and use skincare made with salicylic acid. A super effective ingredient when it comes to diminishing the appearance of acne scarring is Retinol SA, a stabilized form of vitamin A. Use the Neutrogena® Stubborn Acne AM Treatment in the morning and Neutrogena® Stubborn Marks PM Treatment with Retinol SA in the evening to visibly reduce acne marks and see a more even skin tone in just one week. It can take several months for acne spots to disappear completely. If you are still concerned, see your dermatologist for procedures that address acne scarring.

Tips for Preventing Back Acne and Chest Acne

The best way to deal with body acne is to prevent it in the first place. When determining how to prevent chest acne and bacne, be sure to shower with the Neutrogena® Body Clear Oil-Free Body Acne Wash with Salicylic Acid after sweating or wearing sunscreen and stick to a daily body care regimen with products formulated to treat body acne.

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I’m a freelance copywriter for beauty and wellness brands and creative entrepreneur with an expertise in green beauty.

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