7 Common Causes of Chest Acne and How to Treat It

June 13, 2022
Jessica Khorsandi
By: Jessica Khorsandi | skincare.com by L'Oréal
7 Common Causes of Chest Acne and How to Treat It

Pimples can pop up pretty much anywhere on the skin, from your scalp to your butt, and even on your chest. When it comes to breakouts on the chest, excess oil, sweat and clothing are just a few of the potential culprits.

Keep scrolling to learn more about seven potential causes of chest acne and how to treat it.

Excessive Sweating

One of the most common reasons for chest acne is sweat that’s been lingering on the skin for prolonged periods of time, whether it be due to exercise or heat. When sweat mixes with existing dirt, toxins and oil on the skin’s surface, it can clog the pores, resulting in chest acne. It’s recommended to shower, or at the very least, rinse off within ten minutes of exercise or excessive sweating.

A Reaction to Synthetic Materials or Fabrics

Ill-fitting clothing or clothing made of irritating materials can lead to acne, especially if the skin is particularly sensitive. Acne mechanica is the result of materials or objects touching your skin and causing a breakout. The skin condition can also be aggravated by moisture, so if you’re sweating while wearing clothing that doesn’t breathe, you’ll be more prone to breakouts. Similarly, your chest acne could be the result of an allergic reaction to a new detergent or cleaning product used on your clothing or sheets. When in doubt, consult a dermatologist.

Hormonal Changes

Any major hormonal changes (think: puberty, periods and pregnancy) or fluctuations in the body can send our oil-producing sebaceous glands into overdrive. This can clog pores and potentially lead to chest pimples. If you’re noticing changes in your hormones, talk to a doctor.

Touching Your Chest

We’ve heard it over and over again: Don’t touch your skin! Our fingertips are covered in oil and bacteria that can transfer onto the chest. If you apply any skincare products to your chest with your hands, make sure you wash them first.

Hypersecretion of Oil

When your skin is dry, whether because of wind, cool temperatures or prolonged sun exposure, it can start to produce excess oil in order to compensate for the loss of moisture. When excess oil mixes with dead skin cells, bacteria, dirt and debris, it can cause acne. That’s why it’s important to apply hydrating products on your neck and chest during your morning and nighttime skincare routines.


There are certain irregularities in types of genes that can cause an increased chance in getting acne. If your parents have a history of struggling with acne, whether on the chest or elsewhere, you may be more likely to experience the same skincare issue.

Your Skincare and Makeup Products

The same way your skin can react to certain fabrics or detergents, beauty products can also cause breakouts. Depending on their ingredients, some products have a higher likelihood of clogging pores and causing breakouts than others.

When shopping for new body lotions, moisturizers or concealers, look for ones with any of these keywords on the label: non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, oil-free and “won’t clog pores.”  We recommend the Dermablend Quick-Fix Body, a non-comedogenic and full-coverage foundation stick that can even out your skin for up to 16 hours.

How Reduce the Appearance of Chest Acne

Eager to eliminate your chest acne? Dr. Lisa Ginn, a board-certified dermatologist based in Maryland, recommends topical products formulated with sulfur, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to fight body acne. We like the CeraVe Salicylic Acid Body Wash for Rough and Bumpy Skin, which contains salicylic acid to target breakouts, ceramides to moisturize and niacinamide to calm.

cerave salicylic acid body wash
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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