Acne anywhere is a nuisance, to say the least, but chest acne can be particularly bothersome—especially during these hot summer months when humidity, sweat, and thick sunscreens clog pores and exacerbate the problem but you're more likely to want to have more skin on display. So how do you get rid of chest acne and avoid potential scarring in this especially delicate area? We reached out to Kristina Goldenberg, MD, of Goldenberg Dermatology in New York City to give us the lowdown on how to prevent these pesky pimples. Keep reading to discover simple lifestyle changes you can make to beat chest acne.
Shower After You Sweat
"There are many ways to minimize chest acne," assures Goldenberg. "For those who exercise or play sports, I recommend showering soon after the workout is complete." So while it might be tempting to continue on with your day—running errands or meeting friends for brunch after a good sweat sesh—going unwashed, especially in already humid summer months, will wreak havoc on your skin. "When sweat sits on the skin for a long period of time, it clogs pores and causes acne to develop," Goldenberg explains. "Therefore, rinsing after a workout will lead to significant improvement.
Avoid a High-Glycemic Diet
You are what you eat, and certain foods have a way of triggering hormonal imbalances and breakouts. Goldenberg says to remember to avoid a high-glycemic diet. High-glycemic foods include sugar, flour, rice, bread, many breakfast bowls of cereal, and even certain fruits (bananas, grapes, and watermelon among them). Sugar is something you should reduce in your diet anyway for good health, so cutting it from your foods as a way to combat chest acne is an added bonus.
Use an Anti-Bacterial Soap
For mild cases of chest acne, Goldenberg advises using "antibacterial soap such as benzoyl peroxide 5% wash or PanOxyl wash in the shower followed by Clindamycin lotion right after." She notes that a thin layer of an oil-free moisturizer should be used on a daily basis. For moderate to severe cases, speak to your doctor about oral antibiotics or even isotretinoin.
Bathe With Bleach
This method may sound intense, but Goldenberg recommends it as an at-home remedy. "Fill a bathtub with water and pour a cap of Clorox bleach," she instructs. "Sit in the water for about 20 minutes two times a week." This soak "will help kill off bacteria that may be contributing to the development of chest acne." Keep your soak from five to 10 minutes to avoid over-drying your skin, and follow with a light moisturizer. Always check with your dermatologist before attempting this on your own. (You can read more about how to take a bleach bath here.)
Start Treatment Early and Be Consistent
Finally, early and consistent treatment is the key to success (and avoidance of scars) when working to get rid of chest acne. The chest area can be prone to scarring, and "starting treatment early is key in preventing scarring," notes Goldenberg. "It is important to remember that without consistency in a skincare routine, acne will linger and the chances of scarring will rise." If you do end up with scars as a result of chest acne, Goldenberg assures that "treatment modalities for scarring are available and include lasers, micro-needling, and chemical peels."
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