How To Remove Pimples From Arms & Shoulders?
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How To Get Rid Of Pimples On Arms & Shoulders?

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Most people get concerned about breakouts when they occur on the face. However, pimples are equally painful when they occur on the arms and shoulders too. They affect both men and women. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and get rid of them. Read the article to know more.

Are Pimples On Arms & Shoulders Common?

Pimples can develop on various parts of your body including face, neck, upper back, shoulder, and arms – upper arms and the back of the arms. People of any age or gender can suffer from these pimples. Pimples occur on your arms and shoulders due to the clogging of the pores of your skin as a result of the accumulation of dead skin cells and excess oil production. Oil glands are more active on the shoulders rather than arms. As compared to the face, the pores on the arms are larger. Therefore, pimples take a little longer to form on the arms than on the face, but once they occur, they could be more severe than your regular breakouts. Some can be full of pus; others are itchy or painful.

Not treating the pimples on your arms and shoulders on time will lead to the appearance of long-lasting scars and marks, damaging the tone and texture of your skin. In order, to effectively treat these pimples you must find out the underlying causes.

Also Read: How To Find The Best Dermatologist For Acne Treatment?

What Are The Causes Of Acne On Arms And Shoulders?

Here are the major causes of pimples on arms and shoulders:

  • Overactive Sebaceous Glands – Sebaceous glands in the skin are responsible for secreting natural oils to hydrate the skin. Sometimes, excessive oil production by the skin can clog pores and cause pimples.
  • Hormonal Fluctuation – Hormonal fluctuation in both men and women can cause the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive, leading to pimples on the arms.

Apart from these major causes, there are few secondary ones as well which can lead to the development of pimples on arms and shoulders:

  • Dandruff – Sometimes unaddressed dandruff problem can cause pimples on arms and upper back.
  • Friction From Fabrics – The friction caused by tight clothes and certain fabrics can result in skin irritation. Breakouts can happen due to excessive sweating as well as wearing occlusive and tight clothing. Existing pimples on arms can worsen due to the same.

Besides the above, here are a few causes of spots and rashes on the arms and shoulders:

  • Keratosis Pilaris – In this condition, there is the excessive accumulation of dead skin cells which blocks the pores on the arms and causes red bumps. ‘Chicken skin’ is another name for these bumps that are rough in texture and resemble closed pimples (comedones).
  • Allergic Reactions To Food Or Medicine – Allergies are one of the most common causes of rashes. These allergies can be a result of topical irritants, certain foods, medications, etc.
  • Sun Allergy – If your skin is sensitive to sunlight, the areas of the skin commonly exposed to the sun such as the arms can develop rashes and spots.
  • Poor Personal Hygiene – Unhygienic habits such as not showering regularly or wearing dirty clothes can lead to the development of rashes on arms and shoulders.

Also Read: Acne Vulgaris – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

How Can I Get Rid Of Pimples From My Arms And Shoulders?

Your dermatologist may use the following treatment options to reduce breakouts on your arms and shoulders:

Chemical Peels – A chemical peel consists of an acid extracted from natural sources with a variable concentration to suit different skin types. It works by exfoliating the top layer of the skin that contains the dead cells and excess keratin. It also helps to control the breakouts as it brings excess oil production under control and has anti-inflammatory properties. The Glycolic Peel and Salicylic Peel are the two best chemical peels for the treatment of pimples on arms and shoulders.

  • Glycolic Peels – Glycolic Acid belongs to the family of alpha hydroxy acids (AHA). Glycolic peels exfoliate the top layers of the skin and effectively control pimples. This peel also helps in reducing signs of aging, uneven skin tone, etc.
  • Salicylic Peels – Many dermatologists consider salicylic peels to be more effective to treat breakouts as they can penetrate the oil glands better. This peel is suitable for all skin types and both men and women.

It is advisable to apply the peels under the supervision of an experienced dermatologist at a reputed clinic. Since these peels contain a varying concentration of chemicals, the skin doctor is the right person to recommend one most suitable for your skin type and condition.

Along with the chemical peels, your dermatologist may also prescribe some medications, creams, gels, etc. to treat the pimples on your arms and shoulders. Depending upon the severity of the condition, he or she may also prescribe antibiotics.

Various over-the-counter medications, anti-acne creams, and gels are available in the market. However, they do not have any proven efficacy in treating pimples on the arms and shoulders.

Also Read: Difference Between Acne & Pimples – Treatment & Tips

Do Home Remedies Help Treat Pimples On Arms And Shoulders?

Many people opt for home remedies to treat the pimples on their arms and shoulders. However, there are a couple of risks involved, such as:

  • Home remedies are not effective in treating pimples caused due to underlying medical conditions.
  • No scientific proof is available stating the effectiveness of home remedies for treating the pimples.
  • Improper use of these home remedies can worsen your condition.

Tips To Prevent Pimples On Arms & Shoulders

Here are some tips from the dermatologist’s desk to reduce the occurrence of pimples on the arms and shoulders.

  • Opt For Gentle Cleansing – Using water that is too hot to shower can strip your skin of its natural oils. It is recommended to use lukewarm water for bathing. Use gentle cleansers and avoid skin products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate and similar ingredients.
  • Moisturise Regularly – Good moisturizers with urea containing preparations help control the breakouts. Use a sunscreen with SPF 30+ to protect your skin from sun damage
  • Exfoliate The Right Way – Exfoliation helps to prevent the clogging of the skin pores, however, doing it the right way is important, as excessive scrubbing will only aggravate the problem and cause redness and inflammation.
  • Consume A Diet Rich In Vitamins and Minerals – Pimple like eruptions for e.g, phrynoderma on arms can occur due to vitamin A, vitamin E and zinc deficiencies. Your diet should include vitamin-rich food such as eggs, green vegetables, oranges, almonds, olive oil, red meat, and pumpkin seeds. A diet with a low glycemic index will also help control the breakouts. Now you know the possible causes of pimples on arms and shoulders. If you are suffering from breakouts on your upper limbs, consult a skin specialist today to know the best treatment option for you.

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About The Author

Dr. T N Rekha Singh

Dr. T N Rekha Singh

Dr TN Rekha Singh is an MBBS, MD in Dermatology, Venerealogy and Leprology from Andhra Pradesh with over 10 years of experience in the areas of dermatology and trichology. Working as a Senior Consultant Cosmetic Dermatologist and Trichologist with Oliva Clinics for 8 years now, she has trained over 60 Doctors in the areas of skin and hair care. One of the pioneer dermatologists with Oliva, she has been exemplary in bringing clinical marvels in addition to mentoring MD dermatologists and therapists. She was awarded for her research at the AP state conference, and has participated and presented papers at many national and international dermatology conferences. She is dedicated in bringing beauty and wellness through real science of transformation, giving real results. She enjoys reading, travelling and cooking. She lives with her husband and two kids in Hyderabad.


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