Unfortunately, our face is not the only body area which may fall victim to the stubborn and dreadful problem with acne - although it’s the most visible one.
You would be surprised to see how often does this condition affect other body parts. Every part of our skin that has a high number of oil-secreting glands or hair follicles is a potential ground for whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples. This includes the chest, shoulders, and the upper back.
But let’s focus our attention on the shoulder area. More than half the people suffering from acne also face skin problems in the back and shoulder area. The breakouts on the shoulders, however, tend to be a little different than the acne on our face.
First of all, this is because the skin has a different thickness in different body-parts. Secondly, the density of oil glands and hair follicles on the face is a lot higher than on the back and shoulders. These are the reasons why, for example, some skin care products that are great for the shoulders can hurt our face and the other way around - some acne products that work on our face might negatively affect body-acne. We need a separate approach when dealing with shoulder acne.
Shoulder acne can be very painful - they can cause swelling, redness, and even uncomfortable itching.
And yes, they can definitely make us body-conscious, shake our confidence, and even force us to leave our favorite clothes hanging in the wardrobe for way too long.
So, have you ever wondered what exactly is this condition and what causes it?
Whenever our hair follicles get clogged from the accumulation of dead skin cells or oil from the skin itself, a condition that is formally known as acne vulgaris occurs. Clogged pores give the bacteria that live on our skin just the right conditions to grow. Normally, our immune system attacks the bacteria and one might experience pain and swelling. This is when we start seeing small red, tender bumps on our skin. There are many types of acne - papules, blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, nodules, or even cysts. It's crucial to know how to recognize them, as treatments and approaches are different for each type. Below you have a little explanation, but if you want to go into detail, I highly recommend that you read our ultimate guide on acne causes and acne types.
In order to distinguish them better, what you need to know is that clogged pores are generally classified as whiteheads (which are open pores) and blackheads (closed pores). The small red bumps are called papules and if they have pus at their tip then they are defined as pimples.
The nodules are large, solid, and usually painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin, while cysts are pus-filled lumps that also appear beneath the surface of the skin.
Depending on the severity of the acne affecting the skin, your condition can be categorized as mild, moderate, and severe.
You should have in mind that there are many forms of acne classifications based on what’s causing them. For example, acne conglobata, which is a rare and severe form of nodulocystic acne. Nobody likes big words and Latin names, but these classifications help researches and doctors develop specific products and get better and faster results.
A recent survey showed that 96% of acne sufferers believe there is a cure for acne, while only 4% know that acne can't be cured - but can be treated effectively. If you’re an unlucky soul who has dealt with them for a long while - don’t despair! Early diagnosis, treatment, and good skin-care habits can make all the difference. Experts agree that in most of the cases the acne problem decreases with age.
Learning about the condition will help you understand your situation better, so you will be able to use the right solution to get rid of shoulder acne fast and for good!
Below, we will analyze the most common types of acne that affect the shoulders, the reasons why they occur, and the best possible solutions for each type.
The information that four out of five people have experienced acne by the time they reached 30 revealed by the National Institute of Health speaks volumes for the scale of this problem. Doctors don’t have the answer as to why only some people develop acne - well, not yet anyway.
Yet, the most typical risk factors that contribute to and increase the chances for acne breakout are known, so let’s go over them.
If you are an active person who works out a lot or maybe you do a lot of physical work, your pimples are probably acne mechanica.
This form of acne is observed to appear after repetitive physical trauma to the skin when there’s friction caused by clothing (belts and straps) or sports equipment. What irritates the skin is the accumulation of sweat underneath the tight clothes and the equipment.
The good news is that this condition is really easy to treat.
The first step is to stop the accumulation of sweat. This can be done by wearing more comfortable, looser, and more quality clothes for your activities. You can also change the equipment or use a cloth more frequently.
Now we come to the final step, prevention. No product can make a difference if you don’t make a change in your daily habits.
We recommend that you don’t wait too long after a workout to shower and change those sweaty clothes immediately!
It’s becoming more and more clear that certain drugs can lead to skin problems as a side effect. Some of these drugs include lithium, anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, barbiturates, androgenic steroids, DHEA, and other medications.
These meds can cause a hormonal disorder in our body which can trigger acne medicamentosa, also known as drug-induced acne. The most common hormones to blame are progestin and testosterone. Progestin can be found in hormonal contraception drugs. Usually, when you stop taking the meds in question, the acne eruptions go away.
This one is tricky - not everyone can stop taking their meds on the drop of a hat - and they shouldn’t stop anyway! In these cases, patients should always consult with their doctors and ask for acne treatment.
We would also recommend thinking in terms of solutions that would limit or reduce the damage acne have on the skin, rather than changing drugs. For example, think about the ways you can nourish your skin and make it healthier. Good habits and healthy skin can prevent further inflammation and scarring.
Pityrosporum ovale is a form of yeast that can be normally found on our skin, but when there’s an increase in its population, it can lead to the spread of bacteria and cause skin problems. It usually happens in summer, when there is a lot of heat, humidity, and sweat. Be careful, because a lot of skin care products can trigger bacteria growth even more. Medical treatment is necessary and can effectively get rid of the acne.
When we talk about acne, whether on the face or other body parts, we must mention puberty which is considered the main reason for the outbreak of acne on our skin. Hormonal changes along with heredity contribute to about 80% of all acne problems. Meaning that if one of your parents had acne, you are more likely to develop acne. If both of your parents had acne, you are at a higher risk of developing a severe form of acne, including shoulder acne.
Some people have more oily skin and sweat more than others. This means that frequent showers and a more careful and intensive skin care routine might do the trick. Be careful though. Showering too often and using a lot of skin-care products can make things worse. Keep it simple and exfoliate the skin regularly.
Some skin and hair products can contain oil and other ingredients in their formula that might clog the pores. We understand that reading the ingredients of products is boring, but that might save you a lot of trouble. Experiment with products, one at a time, and find what works for you best.
It’s generally known that our dietary habits affect our skin health to a great extent. Although the link between food and acne is not quite clear, recent research shows that dairy products, fast food, and other food rich in fats might be worsening our skin condition and shoulder acne are no different.