Both Nichols and Fenton deem adapalene gel as an effective treatment for chest acne. This ingredient is a topical retinoid that’s been approved by the FDA for the treatment of acne. It’s available in both prescription and over-the-counter formulations and is the active ingredient found in the Differin Gel.

As with all retinoids, you should be mindful of potential dryness and irritation. Luckily, adapalene is relatively gentle compared to its prescription-grade cousins. Start by using adapalene on your chest every two or three days to allow your skin the proper adjustment period before bumping it up to every other day or even daily use. 

This may seem like a powerful treatment to use so often, but the skin on your chest tends to be more tolerant than the skin on the face. “Generally in my experience, most people can tolerate stronger treatments on the chest than they can on the face (particularly the cheeks which get more dry than the T Zone),” Fenton says. 

“The reason for this is because the skin on the chest often produces a more consistent amount of moisture, as opposed to the face that tends to have oily areas (like the nose and forehead) and at the same time can have dry areas (like the cheeks), so it can be more difficult to find the right balance on the face,” he adds. 

“The face is also always exposed to the elements, particularly during the winter this can contribute to more dry and irritated skin,” he says. However each individual is different, so lay off the daily retinoid use if your skin begins to get irritated. 

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