Shoulder Acne Treatment – 7 Best Options that Always Work

treating acne on shoulders the right way.

Devastated by shoulder acne? Do not worry. You’re not alone, and we’ve got you covered!

Just like facial acne, pimples on shoulders and upper arms are very common. And this implies two important things that you must keep in mind right up front:

    • You should not blame your fate and not lose your self-esteem like most of the acne sufferers do, especially the teenagers. A staggering 95% of the world’s population is likely to get acne at some point in their life. And it can hit any part of your body, including your shoulders and upper back.
  • Treating acne on your shoulders fast and effectively is not impossible. In fact, it’s relatively easier to treat acne on this area of your body since the skin on your shoulders is not that sensitive and can tolerate strong treatments that bring promising results.

But before we delve into shoulder acne treatment, we must understand why it is caused in the first place. This will help you control all factors that lead towards its occurrence, hence, prevent shoulder acne breakouts in the long run.

So, let’s get right into it.

Shoulder Acne Causes – What Experts and Researches Reveal

The causes of acne on your shoulders aren’t drastically different than on your face.

Because the causes are same, shoulder acne can get the shape of whiteheads, blackheads, or inflammatory pimples – just like facial acne.

It all starts with clogged skin pores because of excess sebum production and dead skin cell accumulation within the hair follicle. If it’s accompanied by bacterial growth, which inevitably happens, this leads to the onslaught of inflammation and acne.

But these are only on-the-surface factors of acne formation. Below the surface, or the real deep rooted causes of acne can include hormonal fluctuations, allergies, genetics, or even stress and diet.

But one important category of causes, or more accurately, the aggravators of acne on your shoulder include the lifestyle or environmental causes. Because of their importance, we have a dedicated section at the end of this post.

Over the Counter Treatments for Shoulder Acne

best over the counter acne treatments

Over the Counter or OTC treatments mean the medication that you can get without a doctor’s prescription.

There are a lot of OTC treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, glycolic acid, etc. But benzoyl peroxide has proven to be the best option for body acne treatment.

Benzoyl peroxide contains excellent anti-bacterial properties that make it lethal against acne-causing bacteria.

Studies have shown that leaving benzoyl peroxide treatment on your back for 2-5 minutes before rinsing off can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your treatment [source]. This helps medicine penetrate deep into the thick skin of your upper back. Just make sure to rinse it off since it can breach your clothes in no time.

One important thing to note is that you shouldn’t rule out using a combination of these over the counter acne medications. In fact, body acne treatments such as Exposed Skin Care use both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid as active ingredients and deliver promising results.

Below, I’m sharing a list of carefully selected products that are proven to work against shoulder acne in a short span of time. Their active ingredients and exact pros and cons are clearly mentioned. This will help you make the best choice right up front, and avoid any products that might not suit you in any way.

Let’s get right into it!

7 Best Products for Shoulder Acne

1. Exposed Body Acne Kit

exposed body acne kit for neck acne treatmentWhat makes Exposed Body Acne Kit standout from the crowd is its unique formulation comprising of natural and scientific ingredients that are proven effective against acne.

Active Ingredients: Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, tea tree oil.


  • Multi dimensional, 3 step treatment that ensures best possible results.
  • Benzoyl peroxide in a mild 2.5% concentration clears acne causing bacteria without irritating your skin.
  • Salicylic acid helps unclogging skin pores, giving your shoulders and back a deep medicated cleanse.
  • Glycolic acid provides much needed smoothness and improved skin tone on your back.
  • The presence of tea tree oil along with strong scientific ingredients ensures that you get an effective shoulder acne treatment without increased sensitivity and irritation.


  • A bit expansive than other products reviewed on this post.
  • The acne treatment serum in this kit won’t last as long as the body wash. However, the serum is meant to be used as a spot treatment, and it can last longer if you use it in small proportions.
  • Benzoyl peroxide + salicylic acid combination can be irritating for some people.

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2. Claridad Acne Wash With Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%

benzoyl peroxide shoulder acne body washClaridad is known to produce acne treatments made out of proven anti acne ingredients from the finest sources and in exact stated proportions. They are a medium sized, but extremely expert and quality oriented company, which gives their products an upper hand in terms of quality and effectiveness.

This benzoyl peroxide wash is one of the most successful products from Claridad, thanks to its amazing formulation crafted by medical experts.

Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%.


  • Kills acne causing bacteria.
  • Unclogs your skin pores, clears them of debris, while promoting new cell growth.
  • Helps getting a clear, smooth, and healthy looking skin.
  • Gets rid of existing acne and helps preventing future breakout.


  • Can cause dryness on your back. If it does, follow up with a non-comedogenic lotion.
  • If you’re allergic to benzoyl peroxide, this is not going to work well as it heavily relies on this ingredient.
  • Claridad doesn’t produce inexpensive products, which can be an issue if you’re on budge. However, this bottle is in a generous size, so it can last up to 2-3 months.

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3. Keeva Organics Tea Tree Oil Cream for Bacne

Tea tree oil acne cream by organics.If you’ve previously researched for an effective acne treatment, it’s hard that you haven’t come across Keeva Organic’s tea tree oil cream. This product has been a sensation on Amazon for over 1 year!

Let’s see why this acne treatment cream can be a promising solution for your shoulder acne.

Active Ingredient: Tea tree oil.


  • A natural acne treatment that doesn’t include harsh acne medications. This makes is a perfect choice for sensitive skin.
  • Works well for adults and teenagers alike.
  • Leaves your skin with a cool, soothing sensation without causing dryness.
  • Also helps minimizing scarring and discoloration on the skin.
  • Can also be used for facial acne.


  • Since it doesn’t employ strong acne medications such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, it will take a while to see noticeable impact on your shoulder acne.
  • For over $20, there’s not a fair amount of cream in the bottle.
  • Not great at preventing future breakouts. You’d need to use it regularly to keep shoulder acne at bay.

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4. Humane 10% BPO Body & Face Wash for Acne

humane benzoyl peroxide body acne treatmentThe highest grade 10% benzoyl peroxide acne treatment is usually used as a last resort for treating stubborn acne. If you’re new to benzoyl peroxide, this might not be the best option as you don’t know how your skin will respond to it. However, if you’re a veteran, this maximum strength acne treatment from Humane is going to be an extremely effective option for you.

Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide (10%).


  • Because of being a strong acne medication, it can produce visible results within days!
  • Can be used for both facial and body acne.
  • Works very well for adult acne treatment.
  • Amazing customer service. If it doesn’t work out for you, just contact them and you can get a full refund!


  • Not suitable for sensitive skin.
  • Can cause excessive dryness on the skin.
  • Can produce stinging sensation around the eyes, so keep it far off the T area of your face.
  • The pump with this bottle is a little messy. It takes a few attempts to get some fair amount out.

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5. TreeActiv Acne Eliminating Body Spray

Treeactiv body acne sprayThis is another product for nature dwellers. It comes in the spray form which means it can be easily used on any area of your body.

Active Ingredient: There isn’t an active ingredient in this product. It employs a myriad of natural ingredients including peppermint water, spearmint water, tea tree water, witch hazel, salicylic acid, aloe oil, menthol crystals, and eucalyptus oil.


  • Doesn’t just help with your body acne, but can also fight eczema on your skin.
  • If you’re sensitive towards benzoyl peroxide, then this natural treatment is good alternative for you.
  • Can be used to treat acne on all areas of your body including shoulders, chest, back, and buttocks.
  • Has a nice soothing menthol scent that is not too strong.
  • Suitable for teenagers and adults alike.


  • More suitable for mild acne cases, doesn’t help much if you’re suffering from severe acne on your shoulders.
  • Doesn’t work overnight. It takes a while to get noticeable results with this product.
  • The spray is a little clumsy. The liquid comes out in a circular shape when you spray it, so it misses the central area where you actually wanted to spray. The company may consider revising their design in the future.

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6. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash

Neutrogena body wash for shoulder acne treatmentAlthough, scrubs aren’t recommended to use on shoulder acne, the beads in this body wash from Neutrogena are small enough not to cause irritation and effective enough to exfoliate oil, dirt, and dead skin cells from your skin.

Active Ingredient: Salicylic acid.


  • Has a very pleasant, not too strong, natural grapefruit smell.
  • Can get rid of your shoulder acne in a short span of time.
  • Removes oil from your skin by giving a deep cleanse without causing excessive dryness.
  • A good quantity of body wash at the price.
  • Can be used as your regular body wash as it won’t irritate your skin over time.


  • Salicylic acid is not suitable for all skin types. So, make sure you’re not allergic to it before using this product.
  • This is not a clean, texture free wash. It contains micro-beads that might be irritating for sensitive skin.
  • Leaves a residue on your skin if you don’t rigorously rinse it off your skin.

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7. CeraVe Renewing Salicylic Acid Body Cleanser

CeraVe Salicylic Acid Body Acne CleanserCeraVe is a reputable brand that is admired and endorsed by a lot of health and beauty influencers. This salicylic acid body cleanser is their flagship product that works great against acne.

Active Ingredient: Salicylic acid 2%.


  • Works well for mild acne on your shoulders and back.
  • 2% salicylic acid acne treatment enables it to give positive results in short span of time.
  • Can be used as a body wash as well as a facial cleanser.
  • Doesn’t just clear your skin of acne, but also helps it achieve a smooth and healthy outlook.
  • Effortlessly removes makeup if used as a facial cleanser.


  • This is not a mild acne treatment, so be careful if you have very sensitive skin.
  • Leaves a thin residue on your skin after rinsing.
  • Can cause dryness and rashes on your skin. If it does, discontinue usage right away.
  • The synthetic fragrance isn’t admired by most users.

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9 Lifestyle Hacks to Prevent Shoulder Acne

This is the final section of this post and it’s the most important one. The products you saw above will get rid of your shoulder acne. But to ensure it never gets back, you have to keep in account these every day tips and hacks:

  1. Wear lose fitting outfits when you’re suffering from Acne on shoulders and upper back. Prefer sweat-witting or pure cotton fabric.
  2. Always wash your clothes after working out.
  3. Take a shower and change your clothes ASAP after returning from the gym.
  4. Be gentle while applying an acne body wash on your shoulders. Never rub it on your skin with back brushes, buff puffs or loofah.
  5. Try not to use harsh irritating skin care products. Anti-bacterial soaps, abrasive scrubs, or strong astringents are generally an aggravating factor for acne on shoulders.
  6. Avoid putting on anything that can potentially rub on your back. Particularly, be cautious while wearing a backpack. If you absolutely have to carry a bag, make sure it’s hand-held.
  7. Popping your pimples is an extremely bad idea. This aggravates acne increases pain. And pimples on your shoulders are no exception.
  8. Avoid the sun tan. There’s a misconception that sun light can help clearing your acne. But in reality, sun rays can actually make fading acne harder by darkening your acne spots. A quick workaround to prevent this is to wear an oil-free sunscreen whenever getting out during the day.
  9. And finally, make sure to regularly change your bed sheet and pillowcases. During the course of the week, they accumulate dead skin cells and bacteria that can potentially aggravate acne on your back and shoulders.

Over to You

How are you going to tackle acne on your shoulders? Do you have a product in mind that has worked great for you in the past? Want to share your thoughts or ask a question? Please make a comment below!


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