Shoulder/Back Acne

  • tbeaux

    Posts: 419

    Feb 15, 2009 7:31 AM GMT
    Hey guys,
    So I understand that I am young and I still have to deal with alot of acne. I am very good with my acne on my face, I take care of my face real well so i dont have a problem with it, (knock on wood) but when it comes tomy shoulders and upper back, it's getting ridiculous. I am guessing it is from working out 6 days a week. Like it all hurts real badly

    Do you guys get this too? AND What are some really good things to help clear this up? I have been using some stuff to help dry it out, but I can breaking out on my shoulders mainly. Could it have anything to do with my surgery and rehab? But my main question is what can I do to help get rid of it?

  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Feb 15, 2009 7:34 AM GMT
    There are some body wash type products you can get from a dermatologist by prescription, or you can try some OTC stuff like Neutrogena Clear Bodywash. You might also want to try a bar soap like Cetaphil, using a clean washcloth every time you wash your back.

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    Feb 15, 2009 9:18 AM GMT
    Don't use those teen acne products. Those things will dry up your skin too much and will make your pores clog up even more.

    All I can offer is some generic advice. Keep your skin clean and moisturized. Don't use harsh soaps to wash your body. If you wear the same workout t-shirt everyday, then stop. Have 2 or 3 t-shirts for working out, and switch it out every other day. Consider switching to a hypo-allergenic laundry detergent also.

    And get some sun whenever possible. I used to break out on my shoulders too. But when I started running shirtless, the acne started to clear up. I don't have any scientific links for you, but getting some moderate sun exposure is healthy for your skin anyways.

    Drink water! Sweating helps helps flush away all the oil, bacteria, dirt, and dead skin cells in your pores. If you don't drink enough water, you're not going to sweat much.

    If your acne is really bad. Like huge clusters and painful, then you might want to go see a dermatologist.
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    Feb 15, 2009 9:36 AM GMT
    At least your face is clear ... I had this problem on my face too, just wash it few times a day .. you can use products for oily skin ... now I don't have it on my back / shoulders at all ..and rarely on my face...I guess the best solution is time.
    .. it's just the way of nature to tell you :"you are 18?you care alot about your look? then take that !" .. it usually starts to disappear in age of 19 -21 .. depends on the person.
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    Feb 15, 2009 10:41 AM GMT
    Hi Tim,
    Do you have Selsun Blue anti-dandruff shampoo sold at a store in your area? When I was fwhoreteen years old, I had the same problem. And my dermatologist recommended that before I take a shower (which I did twice a day then), apply Selsun Blue shampoo on the affected area and let it stay on your skin for 30 minutes. I did this for one full month and it did get better. I only got like one or two acne occassionally, and not spread. It's got something to do with hyperactive oil glands, dirt and sweat, as far as I could remember what the doc told me. Sheesh, this was almost 21 years ago! icon_lol.gif
    I'd still jump your bones, you know... icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 15, 2009 12:55 PM GMT
    xflipx saidCould it have anything to do with my surgery and rehab?

    Could it have something to do with the sling you were wearing?

    I was breaking out in certain areas (upper chest, shoulders, hips and outer thighs) but no where else. After months and months of trying to figure out what it was, I realized I was breaking out where my messenger bag was making contact with my body. I switched to a back pack and decreased the amount of weight I carried. I've definitely noticed an improvement.

    Just a possibility to consider if you are wearing that sling quite a bit.

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    Feb 15, 2009 1:55 PM GMT
    Proactiv. Try it out
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    Feb 15, 2009 1:58 PM GMT
    Vitamin A capsules help a lot. There was a time when I would take 3 or 4 at a time because the acne was like boils! ....and painful like you said... icon_eek.gif

    I had a friend who had like terminal acne on his back and he had to be treated with Vitamin A injections....the Vit A was actually modified because the dosage would have been toxic otherwise.
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    Feb 15, 2009 2:09 PM GMT
    Proactive does work until you stop sing it then it will return with a vengance. It also bleaches your towels or anythign that comes into contact with Proactive.
    Go to an esthetician and regular back facials, they should help and clear your skin up. Don't take oral medications for it, There are healthier ways toget rid of it with no side effects. Make sure When you have worked out that you get out of your sweaty clothes ASAP. Don't use alocohol based products either thy will dry your skin out and will cause your skin to produce more oils and with dead skin build up you will break out even more. and it will age your skin as well.
    Doctorsd will tell you that what oyu eat does not giv you ance......that is not are what you eat so to speak. Plenty water helps as well, cut caffeine and greasy foods. Also make sure you have regualr bowel movements. Toxins need to get out, if they are not coming outt the bottom they will come out any way they can and through the skin is the other option it is left with.
    Good Luck with getting it cleared up.

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    Feb 15, 2009 2:41 PM GMT
    See a dermatologist. It's difficult to give a proper diagnosis here without actually seeing you in person, and performing tests.

    To demonstrate how wide is the range of possible causes, and how obscure, here's what used to happen to me and one other guy I know. During the dry winter we'd developed a sensitivity to Tide laundry detergent. We'd get an itchy back and shoulder rash, and sometimes pimples.

    It was worse when we worked out hard and sweated a lot, making our T-shirts damp and reactivating the irritant agents, at places where the skin contact with the cloth was greatest. That would be the shoulders, from which the cloth hangs, and our backs from rubbing against the exercise equipment.

    The solution was to change to another detergent, the brand All. Didn't clean as well, so in the summer, when for some reason I was bothered less, I'd return to Tide, but do a double rinse in the washing machine. And I'm using Tide again now without much trouble.

    This isn't to say that you're getting a detergent reaction, too, but rather to show how really unexpected the cause could be. And a dermatologist is the best place to start narrowing down the source (or multiple sources) of your problem.
  • tbeaux

    Posts: 419

    Feb 15, 2009 4:26 PM GMT
    Thanks for the advice guys! I am going to look into some of these.

    I don't really think it is what I am eating, I am a big health freak, I read up and down what foods are good and bad and what not. I do use a lufa, which could irritate it? STL has had an extremely cloudy winter,i hate it :-( plus I am diagnosed with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so those winter blues really get me. I also drink A LOT of water. anywhere from 8 - 14 glasses/ bottles a day.

    Thanks, keep the advice comin' :-)
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    Feb 15, 2009 4:43 PM GMT
    How many of the above posts of advice were given by MD's? Just curious, since you all seem to think you know more than a Doctor? icon_eek.gif

    Go see a dermatologist and your regular physician/internist, and see what they say...

    When my acne was really bad, the dermatologist use to pop them, drain then, clean them and patch them up, and those "Really" bad spots never came back.

  • luvs2travel

    Posts: 94

    Feb 15, 2009 4:43 PM GMT
    For OTC prodicts, there is a great product by Murad skincare - available at sephora or - just google it. it's a salicylic acid non-aerosol spray that well help topically treat just the back and shoulders so you son't have to wash your whole body down with the stuff.

    also, from your doctor you can get an antibiotic that will help.
  • luvs2travel

    Posts: 94

    Feb 15, 2009 5:06 PM GMT
    Also, check out spas that offer back facials. It like one for the face, but the esthetician will properly clean and exfoliate the back and pop and drain the hard/painful ones. they can use high strength exfoliator serums to promote healhty skin regeneration. It opens clogged pores and encourages new skin growth. It can be a little expensive, but I used to do it when I have "bacne" problems and it really helped. Often it can be ingrown hairs in the back that cause the problem which can look a bit like cystic acne when they grow under the skin and get infected. It's worth a shot, plus it very relaxing.
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    Feb 15, 2009 5:29 PM GMT
    Hey again,
    Exfoliating is great but a Lufa is not the best to use, is it onethat looks like a hard rock but softens with water,and has the holes in a bad idea , you are scrubing the bacteria and dead skin off and it stays in the lufa then next time you use it again and it is like speading it your self. (Fungus grows in dark, warm, moist areas so a lufa is a happy home for it especially if youleave it in the bathroom)So use a cloth that can be washed thoroughly. and use a new one, also change your bed sheet freaquently especially if you sleep with your bare back.
    As far as being an MD......I am not..I have a friend who is an esthetician and I get all my info from her. She great.
    Antibotics....are not good for acne when you can use atopical thinsg that do not weaken your immune system. Doctors are great to write perscriptions as they get percentage of the profit from that. If you are intertested I can give you her contac information and she can give you more information.
    Good luck
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 15, 2009 5:31 PM GMT
    When I get them, it's usually in the winter.. I guess your skin dries out and your body makes more oil.
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    Feb 15, 2009 5:35 PM GMT
    To answer your question, it definitely could be related to the surgery. Stress on the body increases cortisol levels substantially. This can cause acne by itself. The cortisol can drop testosterone, throwing off the natural hormone balance and this can create problems as well. You really should see a doctor and have a few tests run. Self treating this problem could hinder you from detecting another possible problem.
  • tbeaux

    Posts: 419

    Feb 15, 2009 5:44 PM GMT
    I think that's the best option now is just seeing my doctor,I have an appointment all set up for my physical, STD/HIV testing, and I guess now my back lol. It probably could be from the surgery,mostly, but I also stress A LOT when it comes to my studies, had a breakdown last year before exams, lol.
  • JohnDallas

    Posts: 87

    Feb 15, 2009 5:51 PM GMT
    I had this problem. It could be caused by a number of factors. For me it all started after taking some pro hormones. For me getting a water filter for my shower helped more than anything else. In addition to that I take Zinc and Selenium supplements on a daily basis. Prior to the problem clearing up I would take it three times a day. I could actually tell a difference by the third day of taking the supplements. In addition to that I use Neutrogena Body Clear Exfoliating Body Wash. That also seems to keep it under control. Hope that helps.
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    Feb 20, 2009 5:02 PM GMT
    SeaBreeze is quick and easy and worked for me in the past w/ this issue.
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    Feb 20, 2009 5:23 PM GMT
    xflipx said Like it all hurts real badly

    I would consult a dermatologist. If there is a lot of pain involved, it could be deep cystic acne. Standard topical solutions don't do an awful lot to control this. A dermatologist can determine what is best in your situation.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2009 5:44 PM GMT
    Hi Tim and hello guys,

    This is my first forum post, so here goes…

    I've suffered with shoulder and back acne pretty much since I was your age, Tim. I tried everything, but eventually worked out that dairy products bring it on for me. I now avoid milk, cream, cheese and yoghurt. I can tolerate some butter, but I don't do anything else.

    If I stick to this, my skin is clear. If I stray…

    It's not easy to start with, but rice and soy milk are good alternatives and if you're using supplements it's possible to find ones without dairy in them.

    If you decide to give this a try, drop me a line. You're a hot guy, by the way!

  • Ritournelle

    Posts: 134

    Feb 20, 2009 5:50 PM GMT
    Or you know, you could just take the easy route, and try to get a prescription for Accutane. That will solve all of your problems. Just don't get pregnant on it...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2009 5:54 PM GMT
    Ritournelle saidOr you know, you could just take the easy route, and try to get a prescription for Accutane. That will solve all of your problems. Just don't get pregnant on it...

    I did a low dose cycle about 10 years ago and it did wonders. I didn't even have the typical peeling and drying most people have on it.
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    Feb 20, 2009 6:04 PM GMT
    Here is a copy of a patient handout from the American Academy of Family Practice web site

    What is acne?

    Acne happens when the inside of a hair follicle becomes sticky and forms a plug. Every strand of hair grows from a follicle under your skin.

    Oil glands in your skin keep making a greasy substance called sebum (say: see-bum). This sebum gets stuck behind the plug in the hair follicle. Bacteria get inside your hair follicle or oil gland and cause swelling, redness, and pus. Finally, a bump forms on your skin.

    Acne is most common on the face, neck, back, and arms. There are three kinds of acne: mild, moderate, and severe.

    Why do I have acne?

    Almost everyone has acne at some time in life. People who have bad acne often have family members with the same problem. Acne is not caused by greasy foods or poor hygiene.

    What kind of acne do I have?

    Your acne is mild if you have only whiteheads (white bumps) and blackheads (dark specks) in your skin.

    You have moderate acne if you have swelling, red bumps, or pustules, along with the whiteheads and blackheads. A pustule is a large red bump with a white head.

    Your acne is severe if you have deep, painful bumps under your skin in addition to the whiteheads and blackheads.

    How is acne treated?

    The purpose of most acne medicines is to stop plugs from forming in hair follicles and to reduce swelling in your skin. Acne is treated with topical and oral medicines. Your doctor will tell you what kind of medicine is right for your acne.

    You put topical medicines on the areas where you have acne. You can buy some of these medicines at a drug store without a prescription from your doctor. If you have mild acne, many of these medicines may help you.

    Oral acne medicines come in pill or capsule form. Your doctor must prescribe these medicines. If you have severe acne, you might need to take an oral medicine called isotretinoin (say: i-so-tret-in-oyn).

    You also need a doctor's prescription to buy some topical acne medicines. These medicines include topical retinoids and antibiotics. Retinoids work by loosening plugs or stopping plugs from forming. Antibiotics decrease redness and swelling, and they attack the germs that make acne worse.

    Some topical acne medicines may irritate your skin, especially in the first few weeks that you use them. Mild moisturizing lotions and soaps (such as Cetaphil Cleanser, Dove, or Purpose) can help stop the irritation.

    Washing your face more than twice a day can increase redness and discomfort. Picking at acne can worsen redness and cause scars.

    What can I expect from acne treatment?

    There is no cure for acne-but your acne can be controlled. Most acne medicines take eight to 12 weeks to work. The best results happen after taking medicine for three months.

    Sometimes, acne may seem to get worse in the first few weeks of treatment, because hidden bumps rise to the skin surface. Your acne will get better if you keep using the acne medicine.

    When you start using a new acne medicine, you may have mild redness and swelling of your skin. Call your doctor if the redness and swelling continue or become worse.

    This handout provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. To find out if this handout applies to you and to get more information on this subject, talk to your family doctor.