Acne and acne scars can form on nearly any part of the body. For some people, chest acne is the biggest concern. Fortunately, clothing can cover up the unsightly blemishes and scars. But, it doesn't mean it's not annoying. Read on to learn more about chest acne scars, their causes and treatments.

What Causes Chest Acne?

The causes of chest acne are similar to the same factors that lead to facial blemishes. Two static causes that cannot be controlled are genetics and hormones. If you have a family disposition to acne or if you are going through puberty, the appearance of acne may be inevitable.

Impurities on the skin such as dirt and scented laundry detergent or fragrances can also lead to chest acne. Excess production of sebum leading to clogged pores is one of the most common internal culprits. Other factors include dehydration, dry skin, and too much exposure to the sun.

What Causes Chest Acne Scars?

Eventually, some cases of chest acne can turn into scars. After the acne has faded, it will often leave scarring in its place. Chest acne scars are designated into two different categories:

1. Deep Chest Acne Scars

Also known as ice pick scars, this type of deep scarring extends deep into the skin's dermis layer. Caused by severe inflammation, the ice pick scar gets its name from the openness and steep cut of the scar. Although this scarring is most common on the face, it is not unusual to see it in the chest area as well. Because of their depth, it can be more challenging to treat this type of scarring as it will not respond well to topical treatments and other procedures.

2. Post-Inflammatory Chest Acne

Most common in individuals with a darker skin tone, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) refers to the marks or discolored spots left behind after blemishes clear. This condition is the skin's natural reaction to inflammation. The discoloration can range in color from pink and red to brownish or even black, depending on the skin tone and the depth of the hyperpigmentation. This scarring can follow even mild cases of acne. Fortunately, this type of scarring is not nearly as permanent as other types of issues. Because the scarring does not damage the follicle, it may fade over time and is more susceptible to various treatment options.

How to Prevent Chest Acne Scars

The best advice in preventing chest acne scars is to take measures to stop them from forming in the first place. Here are some methods and ingredients that can combat acne.

1. Regularly Wash Your Chest

Taking the time and effort to remove excess dirt and other impurities from your chest on a regular basis is one of the best preventative measures that you can take to stop chest acne in its tracks. By stopping the production of excess sebum, you can reduce the chances that chest acne will develop. FYI, facial cleansers can also be used on your chest.

2. Exfoliate Your Chest

Regularly exfoliating your chest with a chemical exfoliant is a great way to prevent chest acne. By preventing chest acne, you also lessen the chance for acne related scars to develop. The type of chemical exfoliant acid you use will depend on your acne situation. Salicylic acid is preferred if you have active chest acne. Alternatively, glycolic acid is more fitting if you're only dealing with chest acne scars.

Salicylic Acid

This beta hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliant is hailed by many skin care experts as the preferred deterrent for acne. The powerful exfoliating properties can penetrate through oil on its way to reduce the build-up of old skin cells and oil on the surface of the chest. By working to prevent the acne from forming, you are effectively eliminating the chance of developing the accompanying scars.

Glycolic Acid

Similar to salicylic acid, glycolic acid, works by peeling away layers of the skin to reveal fresher and cleaner skin in its place. Most commonly used as the active in ingredient in chemical peels, glycolic acid can rid the skin of acne-causing impurities.

3. Use Topical Treatments

Topical treatments are used after cleansing and exfoliating, and before sunscreen. Additionally, they are a great way to incoporate amazing ingredients that will benefit your skin. Below are some notable ingredients that can help prevent acne, and also help improve the appearance of chest acne scarring. Be on the lookout for products that contain these outstanding ingredients.


Topical retinoids were designed to treat primary acne lesions. However, these solutions have also demonstrated their effectiveness in treating the secondary lesions that come as a side effect of acne. By treating the scarring and pigmentation issues that come as a result of acne, the use of topical retinoids can be productive in a variety of skin care cases and should be considered for both noninflammatory and inflammatory acne lesions.


Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, this ingredient is commonly used to increase the hydration levels in the skin. Clinical trials have shown that niacinamide can reduce the total area of hyperpigmentation while working to lighten the skin after just four weeks of treatment.

Vitamin C

Topical vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant can be used in topical form to protect the skin from damaging free radicals. The anti-aging properties of the vitamin contribute to the lightening of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation as well as the improvement of a myriad of inflammatory dermatoses.


Hydroquinone is a tyrosinase inhibitor is a topical skin treatment used to help a variety of issues such as melasma, age and sun spots, and acne scars. The chemical compound works by interacting with the melanin-producing skin cells to decrease the output of pigment. By lightening the dark spots, the appearance of chest acne scars will be minimized.

4. Wear Sunscreen

As the cornerstone of hyperpigmentation therapy, sunscreen can help to prevent acne scarring and discoloration caused by active blemishes. This product is imperative in preventing the scarring from taking hold on the skin. A broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF should be worn while exposed to the sun for longer than 15 minutes. In addition, protective clothing and headwear can help to keep the sun from damaging the skin.

Best Products for Chest Acne Scars

There are a variety of OTC options on the market today designed to combat the effects of acne scarring. Here are four of the most popular treatments that have proven most effective in treating this issue:

1. Paula's Choice RESIST Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA

Paulas Choice Exfoliant for Preventing Chest Acne Scars

This gentle exfoliator delivers the power that you need without further damaging your skin. Because it is rich in antioxidants, the product is designed to fight the visible signs of aging. The four percent BHA works to unclog pores and minimize the size of them along the way. The dramatic results are delivered by reviving the outward appearance of the skin. Note that this product should be used to treat active acne outbreaks. It will not treat scars that have already formed. The treatment should be applied after your usual cleansing and toning routine.

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2. Alpha Hydrox AHA Souffle 12% Glycolic AHA

Alpha Hydrox for Chest Acne Scars

This unique product is best used on skin that is not experiencing active acne flare-ups. The soothing souffle works best for post-inflammatory scarring and other types of discoloration. Although it will not work to treat deep ice picks scars, it will be effective in restoring a younger appearance to the skin. Rich in vitamins and minerals, this product is a welcome addition to many skin care routines.

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3. Paula's Choice RESIST Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser 7% AHA Lotion

Paulas Choice Scar Corrector

This anti-aging product combines the power of both glycolic acid and hydroquinone to deliver a comprehensive treatment. The lotion uses the skin-lightening hydroquinone to gradually fade away the look of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. The glycolic acid works as an exfoliant to peel away dead skin cells. Lastly, the antioxidants deliver moisture and other nurturing properties to encourage younger looking skin. The gold standard triple action equates to a triple threat in treating a variety of skin care issues.

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4. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid

The anti-inflammatory effects of azelaic acid work on acne scars by reducing redness and swelling in active blemishes and scars. By reducing the production of keratin, pores will also not become as clogged. The acid can also even out pigmentation, leading to better skin tone and coloring. This brightening formula is designed to minimize the look of acne scars, leaving a younger looking skin layer.

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Professional Treatments

If the many OTC options are not delivering the results that you need, it may be time to look into professional treatments. Chemical peels and laser treatments are two of the most popular treatments available to sufferers of acne scarring.

1. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels can be performed to chest acne scars of varying degrees of depth and intensity, depending on the severity of the scars that need to be addressed. Additionally, medium-depth chemical peels have proven to be effective in minimizing the appearance of atrophic scars and ice pick lesions.

2. Laser Resurfacing

As technology continues to advance at a breakneck speed, the skin care industry is not being left behind. Laser resurfacing is one of the newest lines of defense against acne scarring is the ability to use lasers to burn the top layers of the skin off to reveal a new and unblemished layer. The precision of this treatment makes it an attractive choice for many people looking to get rid of scars without affecting any other areas of the skin.

When to See a Dermatologist

If the various OTC options are not proving effective in your particular case, it would be a good idea to consult a trained professional. A dermatologist can help to steer you on the right course of treatment. The proper treatment protocol will lead to a more desirable outcome, improving your self-confidence in the process. A dermatologist is trained to know how to best deal with chest acne scars more than any other advice you will find on the internet. Going directly to the professional source will yield the best results in your quest to clear up chest acne scars.


1. How can you get rid of chest acne scars fast?

Like all kinds of scarring, there is no miracle solution made to eliminate the blemishes quickly. An effective skin care regimen is a long-term journey that requires constant work and diligence. Acne is an issue that must be controlled at the root in order to prevent the scarring from taking root.

2. Can you get rid of chest acne scars overnight?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to get rid of chest acne scars overnight. Reducing the appearance of scar tissues necessitates a plan of action and the diligence to see the plan through. Following a protocol of long-term care will yield the best results.

3. Do home remedies work for chest acne scars?

Unlike many other skin care regimens, there is little research on how to treat chest acne scars using home remedies. Because of the limited research and product development, it is better to consult with a professional when looking to minimize the appearance of chest acne scars. A licensed dermatologist is better equipped to provide you with the advice and solutions needed to treat this issue.

4. Can you get rid of chest acne scars naturally?

As more people turn to botanical and organic ingredients in the treatment of a variety of health ailments, it is no surprise that consumers are wanting to go natural when treating chest acne scars as well. Unfortunately, there limited research to support the use of natural ingredients as an effective treatment for acne scarring. The gold standard of hydroquinone is still the better choice when looking to reduce the appearance of these scars.

5. How long does it take for chest acne scars to fade?

The amount of time it takes for acne scars to fade will ultimately depend on the severity and the course of treatment. Some scars can take up to two years to fade. It is recommended to speak with a skincare professional who can better advise on your specific case. 

6. Do acne scar creams actually work?

Yes acne scar creams do work. Be sure to use one using proven ingredients mentioned above. Keep in mind there are many myths out there such as using coconut oil for acne scars. Ultimately, skincare professional can best advise you on what will work for you.

Chest Acne Scars: Summary

  • Chest acne scars are caused by faded acne scars
  • There are different types of chest acne scars, which will determine the best type of treatment
  • You can prevent chest acne scars by preventing acne, exfoliating and wearing sunscreen
  • The best products for acne scars contain ingredients such as: alpha hydroxy acids, vitamin C, niacinamide, retinoids and azaleic acid
  • Professional acne scar treatments include: chemical peels and laser resurfacing
  • See a dermatologist if your self esteem is being affected, or you've exhausted over the counter products
  • It can take years to successfully fade chest acne scars
  • Acne scar creams work when they contain proven ingredients