As if it weren't enough to get acne on the face, it can also crop up on your chest and back. According to Acne.org, studies have shown that most people with face acne also suffer from some form of body acne. The back and chest's thicker skin and larger pores can also result in more severe cases of acne than that of the face.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the exact cause remains a mystery but acne regardless of location is the result of a combination of excess oil, clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation. When the pores are clogged, typically with dead skin cells, the skin's natural oil is trapped within the pore and builds up creating a breeding ground for bacteria to flourish resulting in inflammation. If the skin is blocked at the skin's surface, it will result in mild acne such as blackheads and whiteheads. The deeper the infection, the more severe the acne can be.
When you sweat from exercising or overexertion, the sweat beads on your skin, then mixes with the oil and toxins at the skin's surface. Left there, pores can become irritated or clogged resulting in acne. It is recommended to shower immediately following excessive sweating to rinse the sweat and toxins from your skin.
Tight fitting clothing, especially clothing made of material that does not allow your skin to breathe, can be an irritant that results in acne. Though the back can be hard to reach, it is important to wash your skin with a mild soap no more than twice daily to help prevent and treat acne. Pat skin dry with a clean, fresh towel following showering. Rubbing skin can irritate acne further. Wear clean loose fitting, breathable materials such as cotton to help prevent back and chest acne.
Acne mechanica is form of acne caused by irritations, most commonly found on the back. Acne mechanica is the result of something rubbing against the skin repeatedly such as backpacks or weightlifting machines. Over the shoulder straps can also irritate the skin on the chest. Acne mechanica is also aggravated by moisture, so if you combine a backpack with a shirt that doesn't enable your skin to breathe, acne can result.
Sheets and other materials constantly in contact with your skin can absorb the oils and dirt from your skin building up over time. This also provides a breeding ground for bacteria. If sheets and blankets aren't washed regularly, at least once per week, then the buildup can cause body acne on the back and chest.