Smooth shoulders are in and shoulder acne is out—but for many of us it isn’t that simple. This area can be stubborn and tough to clear without knowing the right way to do it.
So follow the advice in this article and be ready to confidently bare those shoulders whenever you wish, whether that’s on the beach, your commute, or in front of your mirror!
How to Get Rid of Shoulder Acne
Shoulder and back acne can be much more stubborn than facial breakouts. This area is not only hard to treat due to awkwardness, but is often covered in clothing, is actively against your bedsheets nightly, and generally doesn’t get twice daily cleanses like your face.
Here are the steps for getting rid of shoulder acne, the right way:
- Cleanse the right way
- Moisturize: don’t overlook this step!
1. Cleansing your shoulders to help breakouts
Acne is not technically caused by “dirt”, but there is no doubt that sweat, dead skin cells, and daily grime contribute to blocked pores and inflamed spots. And in this area sweat a common culprit.
If you have a persistent problem with acne on your shoulders (and/or back), it’s a good idea to shower twice a day. At least until you get your skin clear. But not just any shower will do. You need…
The Right Soap
Water by itself won’t do much to help clear up breakouts. You need powerful suds. One of the best soaps to use is that blue anti bacterial bar you find in the supermarket isle. It also contains salicylic acid, which is one of the best ingredients you can use for acne.
Important: apply the soap generously to your shoulders. Suds it up. Then leave it on for one minute. You’ve got to let the ingredients do their work, just applying then rinsing doesn’t work as well. This seems obvious, but is a surprisingly simple and often overlooked point. So stand there with the soap bubbles on your shoulders for a minute or two.
Add a Scrubbing Brush
Want to really break up those clogged pores and remove dead skin cells? Want to feel really good? Get yourself one of those cheap back brushes. There is no need to buy an expensive body loofah, just get a $3 brush from the supermarket isle. One with a long handle. These last for about 30days, then you can throw it away and get a new one.
Once you’ve left your soap suds on for a minute or two, wet the brush, apply some more soap to it, and gently scrub your shoulders and back. It feels amazing, and you might be surprised at how quickly this one extra step clears your skin.
Don’t Stand Under Hot Water Too Long!
This point is especially true if (like me) you love standing under the hot shower water. It is relaxing and feels great, but unfortunately it can strip your skin and leave it susceptible to breakouts. Just avoiding the prolonged water exposure might be enough to clear your skin within a few days. Try it!
2. Moisturize: balance your skin
If you are not in the habit of using a body moisturizer, get into it now. Once you’ve scrubbed in the shower you want to soothe and rebalance your skin. Apply a body lotion helps prevent skin from drying out, which contributes to more dead skin cells, possibly more oil, and thus more breakouts.
There is no need to use a special body cream, a simple one such as Vaseline or Nivea works well. Apply a generous amount after each shower.
The following are important tips to ensure your shoulder acne clears up and remains cleared up:
- If you workout, shower as soon as possible. “Old” sweat, sitting on or against your skin in the form of workout gear, is a prime cause of blocked pores and the resulting inflammation on shoulders and back (plus chest, stomach, and anywhere else!)
- Clean/launder all your tops after every wear, for the same reasons above. This extra effort is worth it and make a remarkable difference. You can purchase cheap cotton undershirts (both men and women) and just wash those to lessen the amount of laundering your top layer needs. At least do this until your skin clears up
- Try to wear cotton clothing. As a natural material is breathes easier and won’t trap sweat and bacteria as easily as synthetic fabrics
- Bed sheets and sleeping: clean these at least once a week. Sleep in a clean cotton t shirt that covers your shoulders—at least until they clear up
4. Extras and Products for Shoulder Acne
You should get good leeway from the simple steps above. However if you want some extra help clearing up shoulder acne, add the following to your routine:
- Epsom salt baths: 3 or 4 times a week, soak in a hot bath with a cupful or epsom salts. Salt has a drying effect on acne and help to cleans and detox pores. Epsom salts are also very relaxing and soothe sore muscles
- Add tea tree oil to your body cream: tea tree oil has natural anti bacterial and antiseptic qualities, and is a powerful acne fighter. Get some 100% pure tea tree oil and add a drop to your body moisturizer, mix it in your hands then apply to your shoulders. This addition can really speed up healing (see more about tea tree oil and acne here)
- Or, try a ready-made acne fighting moisturizer. Choose one with either tea tree oil or salicylic acid.