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Blackheads on My Chest

By Nicki Howell ; Updated July 18, 2017

Acne is a common skin condition that may cause blackheads on the chest. This skin issue can be frustrating and embarrassing. Washing your skin with a gentle cleanser twice daily and using a topical treatment may assist with clearing up chest blackheads. It’s also important to avoid touching the affected skin to prevent additional blockage of the pores.

Causes

Blackheads occur when oil and dead skin cells clog pores, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The surface remains open when the pore is clogged, causing a blackish appearance. This type of acne is also called an 'open comedo.’

Teenagers and pregnant women are at the highest risk for developing acne issues, according to MayoClinic.com. Women several days before the start of a menstrual cycle are also at higher risk. Family history also appears to play a role in developing blackheads.

Treatment Options

Treating blackheads requires minimizing oil production and speeding up the skin cell turnover rate, according to MayoClinic.com. Over-the-counter products work to dry up oil and slough off dead skin cells that cause bacteria. Choose blackhead treatments that contain sulfur, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

If blackheads on the chest don’t improve with nonprescription options, make an appointment with a dermatologist. She can prescribe a stronger prescription lotion, such as tazarotene or tretinoin. These topical products are applied to the chest and work to promote cell turnover, preventing blackheads.

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Considerations

Topical medications used to treat blackheads have side effects. For example, skin irritation, flaking and dryness may occur. Side effects may improve after the first month of treatment; however, consult your doctor if side effects don’t get better.

Medications may also make skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use an SPF of 30 or higher on the chest to prevent burning.

Misconceptions

Acne isn’t caused by poor hygiene, despite the common myth, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Washing your skin more than twice daily can make blackheads worse. Blackheads on the chest also are not caused by diet.

Warnings

Avoid touching or picking at blackheads on the chest. This can increase the risk of infection and scarring, according to MayoClinic.com. If blackheads aren’t getting better or appear inflamed, contact your doctor. Increased inflammation may be a sign of infection.

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