Body Acne – How to get rid of back, shoulders & chest breakouts?

It is almost black magic: as soon as you feel like wearing a shoulder-free or backless outfit, then a huge acne pimple gets emblazoned on your shoulder! And because acne rarely comes alone, you’ll discover two more zits on the other shoulder. 

Don’t panic now. We’ll tell you where the acne on the body comes from and how you can get rid of the body acne very quickly. Learn more tips for acne skincare in our beauty solutions collection.

Why does acne develop on the back?

The causes of blemished skin and pimples on the back are dead skin particles that do not fall off the skin and become lodged. As a result, the sebum can no longer drain away, so it settles in the gland and clogs it. Even dirt and sweat can no longer be properly transported away and lead to inflammation. Hello, disgusting acne zit! 

Hair treatments, conditioners, and shampoos run down your back when you shower and clog your skin. If you don’t shower yourself thoroughly enough now, pimples can develop.

As is so often the case, this process is intensified by an unhealthy lifestyle. Nicotine and an unbalanced diet consisting of too much sugar should be avoided if possible. Yes, chocolate, that means you, among other things. 

In addition, nasty acne pimples also occur when the hormones go crazy due to the pill or pregnancy. 

Acne on shoulders: Why does it happen?

Regardless of the region of the body affected, acne is a skin disease that is triggered by internal processes – and primarily appears where there are many sebum glands. Therefore, pimples on the shoulders quickly develop on oily skin. 

The cause usually is a hormonal imbalance. An excess of male hormones manifests itself in the form of skin blemishes in boys and girls during puberty, but many adults also suffer from inflammatory pimples on the shoulders in later years of life. Acne on the back can also be aggravated by external influences.

The following aspects can have negative effects on shoulder acne:

  • Inflammatory nutrition: foods with a high glycemic index such as white flour, pork, and sugar cause inflammation, and dairy products are also considered unfavorable.
  • Synthetic clothing: If heat and moisture build-up under too tight synthetic clothing, sebum production is stimulated. The pores can clog and the bacteria multiply on the skin.
  • Stress: In demanding situations, the body releases more stress hormones, which have an effect on the metabolism and thus also on the skin – permanent stress in particular therefore promotes acne.
  • Negligent personal hygiene: If the sweat is not washed off immediately after sport or sweaty activities, the bacteria under clothing can multiply quickly. To mend things, shower immediately after physical activity with a wash gel suitable for acne and dry carefully. 
  • Thick hair care products may accumulate on the skin and increase inflammation. It is better to wash your hair over the bathtub before showering.
  • Insufficient sun protection: Acne skin seems to experience relief under UV radiation – however, this effect is only based on a visual impression. The papules and pustules dry out at first but can return, while the skin suffers long-term sun damage even without sunburn.

In adults, stress is one of the most common causes of pimples because it leads to an imbalance in hormones. The shoulders and back are particularly often affected.

Acne in the cleavage: What’s the reason?

For women, in particular, pimples in the cleavage are very uncomfortable, because we like to wear clothes that are cut a little deeper. But why do we get pimples so often at precisely this point? 

There are two common causes for this. One of them is sweat. Anyone who spends a lot of time in overheated rooms sweats as a result, and then also wears the wrong (non-breathable) clothing, promoting pimples in the cleavage. Where the sweat runs down, it clogs the pores and pimples can develop.

Second: Are you absolutely sure that you can tolerate your perfume and/or your body lotion? Many spray their perfume or similar nourishing and fragrant products onto their cleavage. The skin here is quite thin and therefore reacts faster and more sensitively than on other parts of the body. 

In order to care for the skin in the décolleté, it is best to apply your face cream to the neck and décolleté as well – the delicate skin there usually tolerates it better.

Acne on the thighs and upper arms  

Do you have a lot of very small red pimples on your thighs (mostly in front above the knees) and upper arms (mostly behind, above the elbows)? These are usually not acne in the classic sense but are called “grater skin”, a genetically caused cornification disorder of the skin, which causes the hair follicles to become clogged with sebum and become inflamed. 

It can help to exfoliate the skin on the affected areas regularly (preferably a chemical peel once a week – but this only worsens the complexion before the success is visible) and then to care for it with an oil-free moisturizer.

SOS tips for body acne at home

Gentle home remedies often help against small pimples on the back.  

  • A bath made from sea salt or chamomile is always good. This cleanses and soothes the skin. 
  • Tea tree oil is also great: Simply mix a few drops into the body lotion and massage onto the affected areas of the skin. Smells a bit strong at first, but looks great, trust us! 
  • A home remedy that pretty much everyone has lying around in the kitchen at home is baking powder (baking soda). For use on the skin, however, baking soda from the drugstore or pharmacy is better because it works completely without the addition of chemicals. Mixed with a little water, you can spread the baking powder as a paste on your back and let it work for about five minutes. 
  • The effect of baking powder is simple but effective: it reacts with water and releases CO², which has a cleansing effect on the skin. 
  • Another natural alternative is honey. Simply put a little bit of it on a cotton swab and apply it selectively to the acne types.

Which beauty devices can help?

If you suffer from pimples and blemished skin on your back frequently, treatment using a specialized blemish extractor can help. It is the best way to clean out the clogged pores and express your pimples professionally without scarring.  

Why do I get body acne in the summer?

Perhaps you suffer from a sun allergy or so-called “Mallorca acne”. There are special preparations for this that help you and your skin so that you can enjoy the summer again. A healthy diet is essential for healthy skin. Therefore, you should avoid foods that additionally stimulate the skin’s sebum production. This includes foods that are high in simple carbohydrates (cakes, chocolate, white bread, pasta) or very salty. Instead, you can prevent pimples on the back with low-fat, vitamin-rich food. 

What else can you do to prevent body acne?

Avoid using perfume-containing shower gels for personal hygiene, which can irritate your chipped skin. Use salicylic acid, mild and pH skin-neutral washing lotion. Salicylic acid dissolves cornifications and prevents the sebum glands from becoming inflamed and pimples on the back.

In addition, you should treat your skin to a peeling every two days that removes dead skin cells and thus counteracts new cornifications. If you can bend yourself and do not break the pimples without twisting your arms, you can also use a massage belt before showering to rub over the affected areas.

After cleansing, it is important to provide the skin with sufficient moisture. The body lotion should not contain too much fat, otherwise, the pores will clog. If individual pimples are really inflamed and painful, you can dab them with some zinc ointment, which you leave on overnight. 

A little tip from the nutritionist: Brewer’s yeast supports you in the fight against acne blemished body.

Make sure your clothes aren’t too tight on the affected areas. The pimples are additionally irritated by friction and sweat and can become inflamed or spread. You should also make sure that the fabric is of good quality and wear cotton more often.

Extra tip

Incorporate garlic more often when cooking. It has a disinfecting and anti-inflammatory effect.

The skin is a metabolic organ through which toxins are excreted. Water is a natural filter that flushes these toxins out of the body. The fewer these substances there are in the body, the cleaner the skin. An extra plus: The water makes the skin look fresher.

Beauty sleep really does exist! During sleep, a hormone is released that takes care of the regeneration of the skin. If you already see yourself lazy on the couch, you should note the following. Exercise in which the skin is supplied with blood has a similar effect.

The best medicine for acne skin is air. But we can rarely let our body skin out, especially in colder months. Worse still, if we often sit back and wear tight clothing made of poor, non-breathable materials, we make acne worse. The clothing rubs and thus ensures that pores ignite faster. In addition, dirt and flakes of skin are more likely to rub into the pores. So give your skin a little more air to breathe – at least with additional clothing made from natural fabrics.


Annu Kumari is a writer cum makeup artist and an introvert. From studying Aeronautical Engineering and wanting to design her own aeroplane to writing articles on beauty.


One comment

  1. Sarah Madany says:

    Lovely post, Very helpful for me! thanks for sharing the solution. Thank you!

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