How To Get Rid of Clogged Pores on the Chest

Written by Malini Fowler, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on January 24, 2023 No Comments

chest acne treatments

All pores, regardless of their location on the body can become clogged. This includes pores along the upper chest and breasts. Clogged pores on the chest are medically harmless, but acne on the breasts can negatively impact their appearance, leading to embarrassment or low self-confidence. Resulting chest acne may also be itchy or slightly painful. Keep reading to learn more about breast acne and how to get rid of clogged pores on the chest.

What Are Clogged Pores on the Breasts or Chest?

Pores are small openings on the skin that release oil and sweat. When dead skin cells or other impurities mix with oil in the pores, they can get clogged. Clogged pores can cause whiteheads, blackheads, pimples or inflamed, red areas, even on the breasts or chest. The skin on the breasts might feel rough, lumpy or itchy. Clogged pores on the breast are not harmful to one’s health, but they can be physically and emotionally uncomfortable.

What Are the Symptoms of Clogged Pores on The Breast?

Clogged pores on the chest can make breasts feel inflamed, lumpy, or discolored. Clogged pores may also appear as whiteheads, blackheads or cystic pimples.

  • Inflammation: Clogged pores can lead to inflammation, making breasts feel warm to the touch, swollen, red or irritated. Water retention due to inflammation can also make breasts appear more swollen than usual.
  • Discoloration: When clogged pores remain open and exposed to the air, trapped sebum and dead skin cells oxidize, forming blackheads. This can make the chest seem darker than usual.
  • Texture Changes: Clogged pores can lead to textural changes which may make breasts feel rough or lumpy. These textural changes can also cause itching, especially when rough skin meets tight clothing.

What Causes Clogged Pores on Breasts?

Most people are familiar with acne on the face, but clogged pores can occur anywhere on the body. Pores become clogged when excess sebum (oil) is produced, trapping dead skin cells and other debris inside. When this trapped oil is combined with bacteria, it can make acne and inflammation worse.

The following factors may increase the risk of pores becoming clogged:

  • Genetics: Acne seems to be primarily genetic. If someone in your family has acne on the chest, it increases the likelihood that you will too.
  • Stress: When we’re stressed, more sebum is produced. Oily pores are more likely to trap dead skin cells and other debris inside.
  • Hormones: Changes in hormone levels can lead to acne. This typically occurs during puberty, but can happen with menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
  • Medications: Certain medications, including thyroid hormones, corticosteroids and some antibiotics can cause acne.
  • Trapped Sweat: Sweat can become trapped against the breasts when wearing tight clothing or bras made of unbreathable fabrics.
  • Irritation: Tight or itchy clothing, thick or cream-based cosmetics, scented lotions and soaps can all irritate skin, leading to inflammation and clogged pores.
  • Poor Diet: Certain foods have been linked to acne, especially dairy products and refined carbohydrates.

Can Clogged Pores Be Prevented?

You may be able to prevent or minimize clogged pores with the following lifestyle changes:

  • Keep Skin Clean & Dry: Washing your bras regularly, wearing loose fitting, breathable clothing, and showering and changing your clothes immediately after exercise can help prevent pores from getting clogged.
  • Exfoliate: A regular exfoliation routine can help remove dead skin cells for clearer pores. A few times per week, gently scrub your chest using a medicated body wash.
  • Moisturize: Keeping your chest well moisturized can help prevent overproduction of oil. Choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer that won’t clog pores.
  • Avoid Comedogenic Products: On your body, use the same mild, non-comedogenic products that you would use on your face. Choose moisturizers, lotions and sunscreens formulated for sensitive skin.
  • Consider New Medications: If medication is causing your acne, talk to your doctor about lowering your dosage or finding a different treatment. Acne typically clears soon after the medication that’s causing it is discontinued.
  • Reduce Stress: Stress, and particularly the stress hormone cortisol, can cause excess oil production in the skin resulting in clogged pores. Do what you can to incorporate stress reduction techniques, such as yoga or meditation, into your weekly routine.
  • Eat Healthy: Avoid acne-causing ingredients such as dairy and refined carbohydrates. Drink plenty of water to keep skin moisturized from the inside, out.

Treatment Options for Clogged Pores Along the Breasts

If your clogged pores aren’t clearing up on their own with home remedies, it may be time to see a dermatologist. Your doctor can prescribe stronger topical treatments, such as retinoids and antibiotics. A dermatologist can also treat acne on the breasts with the following methods:

  • Chemical Peels: Chemical peels offer a deeper exfoliation than over the counter products, or even prescription-strength topicals can. These stronger peels can unclog pores and help prevent future breakouts.
  • Laser Treatments: Laser treatments can help unclog pores, smooth skin, reduce discoloration and minimize inflammation. Like chemical peels, laser therapies vary in strength and intensity. Your doctor can help you choose the best one for your specific condition.
  • Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion is a skin-resurfacing treatment that can help unclog pores via exfoliation. It also promotes skin cell turnover and rejuvenation for a smoother, more evenly colored chest.
  • Microneedling: Microneedling offers similar benefits to microdermabrasion, but resurfaces skin via thousands of tiny needles versus the abrasive sanding technique of microdermabrasion. By promoting collagen production, it may help minimize pore size and precent future clogging.

Malini Fowler, MD

Dr. Malini Fowler is a Board Certified Dermatologist that completed her undergraduate studies and graduated summa cum laude from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Dr. Fowler enjoys providing medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology at our new San Antonio office.

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