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How to Get Rid of Shoulder Acne

Acne affects people of all ages, although it is most prevalent during puberty. Acne can appear at any age, but it is most common among teenagers as a result of hormonal changes that occur during adolescence.

Shoulder acne can be caused by a variety of factors. While the acne is identical to that seen on other areas of the body, certain circumstances might aggravate it. Tight or restricting clothing, as well as frequent pressure from a backpack or purse straps, are examples of things that might exacerbate shoulder acne.

Types of shoulder acne


It is also known as comedones, which are small blemishes that result from a clogged pore. These can occur anywhere on the body and may be caused by a variety of things including excess sebum production.


Blackheads that are not strictly acne will often appear on shoulders in conjunction with whiteheads. Unlike whiteheads, blackheads involve excess sebum which oxidizes and turns black. This process is commonly referred to as “opening the pores.” Open comedones are also called whiteheads. Blackheads are not true acne but rather represent an advanced stage of white head development.


Papules or pimples that appear on the shoulders will often feel warm or tender. Pimples that are red in color may also appear.


Pus-filled pimples, which are commonly referred to as pustules have a white or yellow center surrounded by reddened skin. Though painless these lesions can be particularly uncomfortable during the healing process.


Large inflammatory acne lesions extend deeper into the dermis and subcutaneous tissue. Nodules are firm to the touch and will often cause significant pain or tenderness.


Inflamed lesions that appear as a result of excess sebum production or follicular occlusion. Cysts may become very large as they fill with pus, and surgically draining them can be difficult.

How is it spread?

Shoulder acne is spread through direct contact with other people. The bacterium that causes acne, Propionibacterium acnes is present in the oil our sebaceous glands produce, and when this touches another person it can lead to facial acne if their immune system hasn’t built up resistance to it.

Tips for Getting Rid of Shoulder Acne

Here are some tips on how to get rid of shoulder acne. These tips are for anyone, regardless if you have sensitive skin or not. You should be able to find these products at your local drugstore.

Although you can wear any type of shirt to cover up shoulder acne, it is advisable that you wear loose clothing until the acne disappears.

Shoulder acne may be embarrassing but there are ways how to get rid of it. Here are some tips on how to treat shoulder acne:

  • Use an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide lotion, cream, or gel cleanser that contains 5% benzoyl peroxide content twice daily for one month. Clean or wash your skin with warm water. Apply the product to the acne-affected parts of your shoulder, back, chest, and neck areas. Avoid contact with eyes as it may cause redness, irritation, and a burning sensation.
  • For milder forms of shoulder acne, you can use a gel containing 2% salicylic acid twice daily for one month. For best results, use the product together with a benzoyl peroxide cream or gel cleanser.
  • Apply diluted apple cider vinegar to your skin if you experience an unpleasant odor coming from the shoulder acne areas. The vinegar will help eliminate any bacteria present in the skin pores, resulting in clear and smooth skin. Make sure to dilute the vinegar with water.


  • A mixture of honey and lemon juice will help in lessening cases of shoulder acne because it has strong antibacterial properties. The acidic property of lemon juice will help dry the shoulder acne. However, you should not use this remedy if you have sensitive skin as it might worsen the condition.
  • You may also try applying a mixture of 1 part baking soda and 4 parts water on your shoulder acne areas two to three times daily for one month to reduce the inflammation due to shoulder acne.
  • Having shoulder acne may be embarrassing, but do not pick at the acne because it might leave scars in the skin pores. It will also cause more severe forms of shoulder acne to appear.
  • Do not use cosmetics or moisturizers on your skin until your shoulder acne is gone, so you can avoid further clogging of your pores.
  • A mixture of grapefruit and olive oil is another effective remedy for shoulder acne. Apply a small amount of the mixture to your skin three times daily for best results.
  • If you have oily skin, you can use a toner containing witch hazel or tea tree oil to help in reducing inflammations due to shoulder acne.


  • You can also use a mixture containing 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract, and add 4 to 6 tablespoons of organic aloe vera gel in a container. Apply the mixture to your shoulder acne areas two times daily until the acne is gone for good.
  • If you have sensitive skin, you can use a mixture of 1 part neem oil and 3 parts organic argan oil to prevent shoulder acne from occurring.
  • You may also use castor oil which contains anti-inflammatory properties. Apply this oil on your skin before going to bed for the best results.
  • Washing your body with oatmeal soap will help get rid of shoulder acne because it has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • To avoid having shoulder acne, you should keep your skin clean and dry. Use a soft towel to pat your skin dry after bathing or showering.
  • Apply castor oil to the affected areas before going to bed. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to the castor oil.
  • If you have shoulder acne or pustules on your skin, applying a paste of garlic and water will help dry them up.

Prescription medication

In certain situations, a dermatologist may prescribe medication when home treatments and OTC medicines are ineffective. These include:

  • Oral antibiotics to treat severe shoulder acne caused by bacteria. It also helps in preventing the spread to other parts of the body.
  • Medications that help shrink or slow down your production of sebum or oil. This reduces the clogging of pores and therefore prevents the growth of P acne bacteria that cause acne in the skin surface areas.
  • Acne creams containing benzoyl peroxide help kill P acne bacteria reduce acne lesions and prevent future breakouts.
  • Isotretinoin is also used to treat severe cases of shoulder acne that are not effectively treated by topical creams or antibiotics. However, the use of this medication has many side effects and is only prescribed if the other medications cannot be used.
  • Topical creams
  • Antibiotics like doxycycline
  • Topical retinoids
  • Prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide
  • Topical retinoids
  • Accutane (isotretinoin)
  • Spironolactone
  • Oral contraceptives or hormone therapy
  • Chemical peels
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Kesara Bandaragoda
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