Blackheads on Neck, Chest, and Shoulders: Causes and Treatments

Blackheads are a type of acne that many individuals face. They can come and go, sometimes corresponding with certain times of the month, certain foods that you eat, or just poor hygiene. Other times, even with healthy eating and regular face and body washing, these blackheads still occur.
These blackheads are simply small bumps that will show up on your skin because the hair follicles will get all clogged up. They are considered a mild type of acne that often shows up on the face, but it is not uncommon to find them elsewhere on the body including the neck, chest, and shoulders.
The good news is there are treatments you can use to help fight off these blackheads. In this article, we will cover what causes blackheads, as well as the best ways to get rid of blackheads on neck, chest, shoulders and prevent them from coming back.
Before we dive into some of the treatments for this condition, we need to look at what causes these blackheads in the first place.
There are several reasons that can cause these blackheads on neck, chest, arms, shoulders, or any part of your body.
Basically, blackheads occur when the hair follicle becomes plugged with dead skin cells, impurities, and sebum, which form a bump in the skin called comedo. When the comedo is exposed to the air, it oxidizes and becomes black, thus forming a blackhead.
Some of the most common factors that cause blackheads include:
  • Taking certain drugs can increase how easily your pores get clogged. Medications like lithium or androgens can cause this.
  • If you have some hormonal changes happen, such as during menstruation, while taking birth control, and during the teenage years, this can cause a higher amount of oil to be produced in the body, resulting in more blackheads.
  • When the hair follicles get irritated. This is most likely to happen when dead skin cells do not shed properly.
  • When the Propionibacterium acne starts to build up on the skin and is not washed away.
  • When your body starts to produce too much oil.
For some people, the foods you eat and drink could cause acne. Some dairy products and foods that often cause higher blood sugar levels can cause blackheads. However, there isn’t a lot of research to back these claims up.

How to Get Rid of Blackheads on the Neck, Chest, and Shoulders?

There are many options you can choose from when it comes to taking care of blackheads on the neck, chest, and shoulders.
Some of these include:

1. Cleansing

The first method is to use a body wash containing salicylic acid regularly. This may seem simple, but when we skip out on cleaning up the extra oil that builds up, it is easy for the pores to get clogged.
Salicylic acid is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It has the ability to break down dead skin cells and oil and assist in treating and preventing blackheads.

2. Exfoliating

Exfoliating the skin a few times a week can help brush away the dead skin cells that may cause issues and can ensure that you get a chance to wipe away the dirt, grime, and oil that could cause these blackheads.
Using gentle exfoliators that contain glycolic acid or salicylic acid has been proven very effective in treating blackheads.

3. Using OTC Anti-Blackheads Products

The most common method that can be used to remove blackheads is using over the counter products. There are many available; they help to remove existing blackheads, and some you can use as a preventative measure to make sure they don’t show up in the first place.
Each over the counter product will be slightly different depending on some of the ingredients inside.
Some of the best blackhead-fighting ingredients to look for in your products include:
  • Salicyclic acid: This is a powerful BHA ingredient that has the ability to gently buff away dead skin cells and treat blackheads as well as other types of acne without causing dry skin.
  • Retinoids: This is a derivative of vitamin A, which is important because it stimulates cell turnover, exfoliates dead cells, and eliminate the oils that clog your pores.
  • Activated charcoal: This is an excellent ingredient to use because it helps to absorb excess oils, impurities, and toxins from your pores, which helps minimize the appearance of blackheads.

4. Microdermabrasion

Another option you can try is microdermabrasion. This is a minimally invasive procedure that is meant to help renew and replenish the overall texture and tone of the skin.
It can be used for a variety of different conditions, including blackheads, melasma, acne scarring, age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage.
This type of procedure will take the time to use a special applicator that has an abrasive surface, typically a diamond or a crystal tip. This can then be used to sand away some of the thick outer layer of the skin, the type that is hard to move out of the way, in the hopes of rejuvenating it.
This procedure is very effective and safe for most skin tones and types to use.

If you are interested in learning more about microdermabrasion, check out our reviews of the best microdermabrasion devices for at-home use, including a detailed buying guide.

5. Extraction by a dermatologist

If you have trouble getting rid of the blackheads on your neck, chest, and shoulders with OTC products, and they start to cause irritation, a dermatologist may have to step in and work with an extraction.
It is best to not do this on your own and let a professional handle the work.
The process of extraction will allow the dermatologist to safely and effectively get rid of the oil and anything else that may get stuck in the blackhead, and help you feel so much better in the process. This is usually a quick procedure in their office, and reserved for blackheads that don’t respond to other treatment options, and may cause pain to the patient.

Products For Blackheads On Neck Chest & Shoulders

Best Body Polish: First Aid Cleansing Body Polish

First Aid Beauty Cleansing Body Polish with Active Charcoal - Blackheads on Neck, Chest, and Shoulders
One of the best charcoal exfoliators to use is First Aid Beauty Cleansing Body Polish with Active Charcoal.
The active ingredients in this product are active charcoal, salicylic acid, and lactic acid, which are great for drawing out impurities and dirt from the skin, as well as improving the skin’s texture and tone.
This formula also contains exfoliating wax beads that help to remove any dead skin cells that are left behind along with some argan oil that can nourish and refresh the skin and vitamin E to help condition and soothe the skin all day long.

Best Scrub: M3 Naturals Activated Charcoal Scrub

The best scrub you can use is M3 Naturals Activated Charcoal Scrub.
This scrub has a mixture of activated charcoal, dead sea salt, cleaning beads, collagen, and stem cells to get the work done.
Not only do you get a natural and great clean all over your body, but the stem cells and collagen form a potent anti-aging treatment. You can fight off blackheads while fighting off aging signs, stretch marks, cellulite, and scars.
Use this mixture to help polish and remove all toxins and bacteria from the body as well!

Best Body Wash: Murad Acne Body Wash with Salicylic Acid

Murad Acne Body Wash with Salicylic Acid - Blackheads on Neck, Chest, and Shoulders
When choosing the best body wash, you can’t go wrong with Murad Acne Body Wash with Salicylic Acid.
This powerful, yet gentle formula is based on salicylic acid and glycolic acid that work together to effectively remove oil and impurities, fight bacteria, and clear existing blackheads and other forms of acne, while preventing new ones from forming.
The formula also includes date seed powder that helps to physically exfoliate dead skin cells and impurities that clog the pores, humectants that help retain moisture and prevent moisture loss from the skin, as well as licorice root extracts, menthol, zinc, and green tea that help soothe skin inflammation and improve the skin’s texture.

Best Leave-On Exfoliator: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid - Blackheads on Neck, Chest, and Shoulders
The best exfoliator that you can put on the skin and leave instead of washing away includes Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid.
It is effective yet non-abrasive so you can leave it on all day. It uses a combination of 2% salicylic acid and green tea to help improve the texture of your skin, while helping to wipe away dead skin cells, unclogging and diminishing enlarged pores, smoothing out wrinkles, and brightening the skin tone. What else could you want from such an amazing product?
The product is also lightweight, fragrance-free, and paraben-free, and is suitable for all skin types.
When using this product during the day, make sure to follow with a sunscreen to ensure proper sun protection.

Best Pads: QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Pads for Face & Body

QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Pads for Face & Body - Blackheads on Neck, Chest, and Shoulders
When you are looking for the best pads to keep your neck, shoulders, and chest free from blackheads, look no further than QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Pads for Face & Body.
These not only contain 20% of pure Glycolic Acid to exfoliate and polish the body, but they also include all of the vitamins you need, including B5, C, and E to keep the skin well hydrated, rejuvenated, and protected from free radical damage.
The formula also includes green tea, allantoin, and calendula extracts to calm and revitalize the skin while providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

When Should I See a Dermatologist?

For the most part, watching what you eat along with trying out a few products to see what works for you will be enough to fight off blackheads.
For some people though, these blackheads become a big problem and they just can’t seem to shake them. If you have tried the tips above and tried out at least three to four products for a couple of months at a time to give them a chance to work, and yet the blackheads are not fading at all, then you may need to visit a dermatologist.
Sometimes these blackheads are severe and your best efforts can’t make things stop. A dermatologist can provide other treatments that aren’t available over the counter; you may need to work with prescription products to help with this problem.

How to Prevent Blackheads on the Neck, Chest, and Shoulders

While the cleansers and other options recommended in this article are perfect to fight blackheads and can do quite a bit for the rest of the acne you encounter as well, there are a few habits you can implement to help prevent future blackheads.
Some good options to consider to prevent blackheads from happening again include:
  • Use non-comedogenic products.
  • Wear clean clothes.
  • Exfoliate your body regularly to get rid of dead skin cells.
  • Use body washes containing salicylic acid.
  • Do not pick at the blackheads already on the skin.
  • Wash your towels, pillowcase, and bed sheets frequently.
  • Wear loose clothes made of breathable fibers, such as cotton.
  • Eat a healthy diet so your body produces less oil and gets more of the healthy nutrients it needs to do well.

Bottom Line

Blackheads are a problem that almost everyone has to deal with at one time or another. Learning how to handle them, and which products are the best for reducing and eliminating them can make life a little bit easier.
Use some of the products and tips mentioned in this article to make it easier to fight blackheads on the neck, chest, and shoulders.
Judy Rose

Hi, it’s Judy!

I’m a passionate skincare specialist and writer. I have more than 7 years of experience as a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle writer and editor, and I’m extremely passionate about what I do.