Shoulder Acne: Types, Causes, and Treatments

People can get acne all over their bodies. The face, back, shoulders, and chest are some of the most commonly affected areas. When it comes to chronic and on-going acne, shoulder acne is considered one of the worst to have by many. Those who suffer from shoulder acne are in luck though, because there are ways of treating troublesome shoulder acne, but first, it is important to understand what type of acne is present.

It may come as a surprise, but there is more than one type of acne. It is important to learn how to identify the different types and their most common causes. By understanding this, anyone suffering from shoulder acne can then find the proper treatment and soon find relief.


  • When in the process of searching for a solution to your shoulder acne, not only do you need to find out why your skin has become irritated, and treat it accordingly, but you also need to take some extra steps and precautions to ensure the health of your skin.
  • Make sure to keep up on personal hygiene. Include basic hygiene into your daily routine in order to keep your skin and overall health at par.
  • When taking a bath to adding sea salt, potassium permanganate solution, chamomille soup, and Calendula or st. johns work to the water. Soaking in these baths will boost the overall health of your skin as well as fight any breakouts or rashes.
  • Never share personal items. No matter how well you know someone, you don’t know what kind of germs live on their personal items such as makeup, towels, and sponges. Sharing of these items can lead to acne and other bacterial infections.
  • It is tempting to squeeze those large pimples on your shoulder, but you should not do this under any circumstances. Squeezing or scratching at your acne opens the door for many other potential health problems such as M.R.S.A. or Cellulitis.
  • When coshing clothes try to stick to items made of natural fabrics such as cotton.
  • Avoid wearing tight or restrictive clothing such as compression shorts for sports.
  • Keep your clothes and bedding as clean as possible. The cleaner you and your surroundings are the less likely you are to end up with a severe case of acne.
  • If you are suffering from a reoccurring acne problem it would be a good idea to switch to hypo-allergenic soaps and laundry detergents.
  • Diet has a direct effect on the health and appearance of our skin. If you are experiencing skin issues such as shoulder acne you can aid in the recovery of your skin by excluding unhealthy food items. For example, Fried foods, fat, spicy foods, and alcohol are all proven to have strong negative effects on the skin. You can replace some of the unhealthy options with things such as fruits, nuts, grains, fish and plenty of water.
  • Avoid extended periods of time in the sun or in tanning booths. The UV rays are harmful to the skin. On top of causing shoulder acne, too much UV exposure has been linked to causing skin cancer as well.
  • If you are getting a massage or just using your daily moisturizing routine try to avoid any products that are excessively greasy to keep the pores clear and clean

Types of Shoulder Acne

Acne that is located on the shoulders can be caused by multiple things. To find out what is causing it, it is necessary to know what type of acne it is. There are five types of shoulder acne to mention.


Measles is a contagious disease that turns up as a runny rash. It is also accompanied by small red pimples that usually start appearing on the face and then spread throughout the shoulders and the rest of the body. Other symptoms that are associated with Measles are fever, cough, runny nose, and loss of strength.

Chicken Pox

Chicken Pox is most commonly experienced in childhood, and now it is actually offered as a vaccine, so it is becoming less common. Those infected with chickenpox will have red dots starting on the upper back and shoulders, which will then spread all over the body.


Although slightly less common, it is better to be informed of this allergic reaction to certain drugs. This reaction turns up as what appears to be large acne and is severely itchy. This rash sticks to one area for the most part and mainly affects the shoulders. Anyone affected by Honeycomb will have terrible itching.

Subcutaneous Infections

These infections can be identified by large pimples and hardened dark spots filled with puss. Subcutaneous Infections are most commonly formed on the face and shoulders.


This is actually the most common type of shoulder acne or rash. This starts out as regular acne and then the rash becomes inflamed and quite large.

Common Causes of Shoulder Acne

Anyone can have shoulder acne. That being said no one is identical to anyone else. There are many different causes of shoulder acne, and it may take a little research or maybe even a dermatologist, to figure out the exact cause. This next section is going to go over the common causes of shoulder acne in both men and women.

Common Causes in Men

Men are less commonly affected by shoulder acne than women. Even though it doesn’t happen as often, there are still plenty off men who suffer from this condition. There are a few different factors that can cause a flare-up of acne.

  • A blockage or interruption of the gastrointestinal tract can cause shoulder acne to flare up. When you have a blockage such as this, acne is caused because the body is trying to remove toxins and waste through the skin instead of the usual method.
  • The nervous system affects literally everything in the body, so it goes without saying that it can also have an effect on the skin as well. One of the most common causes related to the nervous system is excessive emotional stress. This is notorious for having negative effects on skin conditions.
  • Shoulder acne can also flare up due to climate and weather conditions. Some people ave sensitive skin, which makes them more susceptible to acne. Especially during hot or humid weather where excessive sweating causes pores to become clogged. This clogging of the pores ultimately results in acne.
  • The conditions in which we work can affect many things in our lives, and our skin is no exception. Men who are regularly exposed to oil, lubricants, fuels and mineral oils often fall victim to shoulder acne. All of these factors cover the skin with a greasy film that also clogs pores and causes acne.
  • Some men just have more oily skin than others, and the shoulders just happen to be one of the areas men happen to have excess oil on their skin. Oily skin in the shoulder area is a fast track to acne.
  • Poor personal hygiene leads to dirty skin and clogged pores. Your skin and pores being clogged and dirty causes inflammation, or in other words shoulder acne. That is why it is so important to follow a good personal hygiene routine every day. It’s not only vital to your appearance but your health as well.

Common Causes in Women

  • Most women care a great deal about their appearance. Sometimes our skin can suffer from the clothing we choose to wear. Synthetic materials don’t allow your skin to breathe, and also fail to absorb any sweat. This combination can result in clogged pores and acne.
  • When it comes to wardrobe, women need to be careful of the material and the fit as well. If clothes fit too tightly there is poor ventilation for your skin. There is also the chance of an acne flare-up due to increased friction in tighter clothes.
  • There are so many things in life that can be classified as allergens. Allergens are another pesky cause of shoulder acne in some cases. The allergic reaction can be triggered by food, medications, or even makeup. If an allergic reaction occurs it is important to act promptly to ensure safety.
  • All people have at least one bad habit. The majority of people today smoke or drink, if not both. Another common cause of shoulder acne in women is bad habits. These habits can range from smoking to excessive fast food consumption.
  • Vitamin deficiency is another common cause of shoulder acne. When you are lacking in certain vitamins, it causes your organs to have to work harder, even your skin. This is just another great reason you need to be sure to maintain a balanced diet and get regular exercise.
  • Cosmetic surgery has become a common procedure today, as women are constantly striving to obtain an image. These procedures, such as peeling can damage the protective layer of the skin and cause multiple types of breakouts, and rashes.
  • By now it is obvious, airflow is important for your skin. Lack of airflow in an area of the skin often causes breakouts. Women with long hair will quite often get shoulder acne because the lack of airflow to the skin can cause shoulder hemorrhoids.
  • The sun is good for you but in moderation of course. Too much sun is another potential cause of shoulder acne. If the warnings and guidelines of sun exposure are not followed it can lead to severe skin damage and many types of rashes as well.
  • If you are pregnant or recently had or miscarried a baby, shoulder acne is quite often about to make its appearance. The presence of shoulder acne in women who are currently or were recently pregnant is an indication of significant hormonal changes.
  • Shoulder acne in women can also occasionally be the sign of a disease of the endocrine system, in particular, the thyroid gland.
  • Genitourinary diseases can also be a contributing factor to skin problems and even shoulder acne. 3.How to treat shoulder acne.

Take or Apply Medicine


Cloramphenicol can be obtained in the form of tablets, creams, and alcohol solutions for disinfection. This treatment method is very useful n treating all types of acne.


This is a type of anti-bacterial antibiotic. It is used to fight acne of all different severity levels and is available in gel and pill form as well. You can find Clindamycin in other acne treatments as well. This treatment fights the break out by eliminating infections, as well as its protective coating that aids in the inflammatory process.


This method is available in an ointment or a tablet. When used tetracycline has a strong antibacterial effect and is used to successfully treat a variety of acne conditions. This treatment method also has the cumulative properties of active substances in many acne medications and treatments.


Keeping your organs healthy is important. Giving your body the right amount of vitamins is key to having healthy organs. The skin is the biggest organ in your body, and its easily forgotten. An increased intake of specific vitamin complexes and brewer’s yeast will speed up the healing and regeneration of the skin.


This is a wider spectrum tetracycline antibiotic that kills bacteria and microorganisms, as well as impede their important functions. Once this treatment is started, improvement should be noticed in a short amount of time, especially for acne on the shoulders and back of women A plus to this method is that on top of treating the acne condition, it will also improve the appearance of your skin overall.


Lincomycin Ointment

This anti-bacterial ointment will slow down the growth of bacteria. This is incredibly successful in treating Acne and related conditions

Vishnevsky Ointment

This ointment brings on rapid relief once treatment has begun. Its speed is directly related to the fact that it reaches deep into the layers of the skin instead of staying on the surface. This cream also has great anti-inflammatory effects as well as a drying agent to reduce moisture in the problem area.

Streptocide Ointment

This is one of the most common treatments for acne caused by bacterial infection of some kind. It is designed to wipe out pathogenic bacteria living in the skin.

Salicylic Acid Ointment

There are many benefits to this method when it comes to treating problem acne cases. This ointment has fantastic antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being anti-corrosive and healing as well.

Natural and At-Home Remedies

Some of these methods may come across as old wives’ tales to many people today. These alternative methods of treatment are nothing to be sneezed at. Most of us don’t realize that medical treatments, when not necessary actually have negative effects over time. It would be wise to give these methods a try, and maybe avoid a doctor visit and another round of antibiotics.

Sea Salt and Clay

For this approach, you will need Sea salt and Clay in equal amounts. You will want to add a small amount of water to the mixture to get the acidic creamy consistency. Then all that you need to do is apply this mixture to the problem area and leave to sit for about 20 min. It is recommended that the process be repeated 2 or 3 times for less oily and evener skin.

Potassium permanganate

This is a great time for some relaxation as well as a good treatment for shoulder acne. You simply need to add potassium permanganate to your bath water three or four times a week. This process is fantastic for the condition of the skin and it removes acne as well.


For this process, you will take two pieces of the ingredient and ground it down to a powder, which you will then need to dilute with a small amount of water. You may want to consult your doctor before using this method on your own.

Baking Soda and Protein

Anyone who has oily skin on their shoulders causing problematic acne should give this option a chance. You will need egg whites and half a teaspoon of baking soda. Once you have mixed the ingredients all that needs to be done is to apply the finished product to the problematic area and let it sit for fifteen minutes before rinsing.


You will want to make a solution with Celandine that is one part celandine and one part water in order to dilute the mixture. Once the solution has been in place for about fifteen minutes it can be rinsed off.

Tar Soap

Tar soap is long relied on for disinfecting and drying up inflammatory acne. To use it just apply tar soap in the usual way to the affected. You can leave this treatment on the affected area for a max of about 30 minutes, and then you need to rinse.

Honey Mask

Mix honey and egg and apply them to the desired area. Leave to sit for about 20 minutes and then rinse completely.

Hopefully, some of these insights will be able to help you with your struggle against skin problems and acne. Remember that if you cannot resolve your issue on your own you can always consult your physician or a dermatologist.

Kana Z

Kana Z

I am a writer focussing on beauty, cosmetics, skincare, haircare and body care. I have a special interest in establishing solutions for problem skin. I have being working and studing with some of the world’s top skincare experts, hairstylists, makeup artists, perfume creators, photographers and models. I also currently write for websites of the skincare brand. My Specialties: beauty, journalism, skincare, haircare, cosmetics and problem skin.

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