Acne on the forehead is a common skin complaint typified by red bumps and spots along the hairline extending downwards towards the eyebrows.
These hard, red bumps are called papules, and sometimes they can fill with pus and appear yellow, forming pustules.
The causes of forehead acne are varied, including everything from oily hair to our hormones. As the reasons for forehead acne are varied, how to remove forehead acne is best understood when we understand what’s causing it.
Here’s our lowdown on everything you need to know about the causes and treatments for forehead acne.
What Are the Reasons for Forehead Acne?
Like acne that develops anywhere on the face, chest or back, the causes of forehead acne are primarily down to excess sebum. Sebum is a natural wax like oil that is produced by glands within the skin called sebaceous glands. It helps to keep the skin hydrated and supple.
In some people, sebum is produced in excess for various reasons, and when this happens it can block the pores in the skin.
Blocked pores mean that the dirt, stale makeup and cellular debris that can collect in the pores has nowhere to go. This then leads to a buildup of dirt and excess sebum, leading to acne spots and breakouts.
Reasons for forehead acne caused by blocked pores can be varied, and include hormonal imbalances and stress.
Want to know what is causing your forehead acne?
Take this quiz to discover the potential causes behind your forehead acne and the simple yet effective lifestyle changes you can take to address them.
Types of Forehead Acne
Acne is caused by blocked pores, which can be caused by many differing factors. Because of this, acne can develop anywhere on the face, since the skin on the face has thousands of pores.
Teenage acne often develops first on the forehead, and it can also be one of the places where acne clears up from first. However, some causes of forehead acne can mean that it remains throughout adulthood.
Blackheads and whiteheads are small spots called comedones that are the result of clogged pores. These can appear on the forehead if the skin of the forehead is prone to pore blocking oil.
Pustules and Papules
Hard, red bumps in the skin of the forehead are known as papules, and papules with white or yellow centres are called pustules (papules that contain pus). They’re caused by excess oil, dirt and dead skin cells blocking the pores - and pustules are formed if bacteria take over the papule.
Millia describes tiny, white spots that cluster on the skin, commonly on the forehead. Not technically a form of acne, they’re caused by a buildup of a common protein called keratin that becomes trapped under the surface of the skin.
Mechanical acne is caused when something is allowed to rub up against the skin on a regular basis, causing friction and clogged pores. It can occur anywhere on the body, but on the forehead, it’s generally caused by a helmet or other tightfitting headwear.
Why Do I Have Acne on My Forehead?
Acne on the whole, is caused by an excess of sebum, the waxy oil produced naturally by the skin. An excess level of sebum can be down to hormonal imbalances, stress and genetics.
Excess sebum can also be caused by lifestyle factors such as eating certain foods, not getting enough quality sleep and a high level of acids, toxins and metabolic waste within the body.
Can Forehead Acne Be Hormonal?
A lot of the time, acne caused excess sebum is down to a hormone imbalance. This can be due to puberty in younger people, but on the whole, women tend to suffer the effects of a hormonal imbalance on the skin more than men.
This is down to having periods, pregnancy, going through the menopause and suffering from conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - which are all linked to cyclical surges and drops in hormones.
In most cases, forehead acne caused by hormones is due to an excess in the male hormones (even in females) called androgens, that lead to an increase in sebum production.
Does Hair on Your Forehead Cause Acne?
Having a fringe or a hairstyle that sweeps over your forehead can mean that it’s causing your forehead acne.
This is because the hair naturally contains oils that keep the hair nourished. These oils can then collect on the skin, and much in the same way as excess sebum, can block the pores, leading to acne spots. This will be especially the case if your hair is naturally very oily, or you don’t wash your hair very often.
If you have forehead acne, you may have restyled your hair to help cover it up, but this causes a vicious cycle of adding more oil to the skin, causing your forehead acne to appear worse.
Hair Styling Products
Using certain hair styling products on your hair can also add oils to your forehead, even if you don't have oily hair.
If you have forehead acne, try to avoid using oils and serums on your hair and make sure you wash your hair regularly.
If you have dandruff or a flaky scalp, dead skin cells could be collecting in your pores on your forehead, causing forehead acne. So take steps to treat dandruff with products from your pharmacy or doctor.
Helmets and Hair Bands
Helmets and tight fitting head gear such as baseball caps and bandanas can cause forehead acne so are best avoided where possible if you have spots on your forehead.
Can Stress Cause Forehead Acne?
Stress can cause acne to become worse anywhere on the face or body, including the forehead. It’s not yet fully understood why stress can cause acne, but it’s thought to be connected to the relationship between stress hormones and the release of excess sebum.
Indirectly linked with stress is the habit some of us have of touching our faces. If our hands are dirty, and we’re constantly touching our face or rubbing our brow, we can add more dirt to already blocked pores, causing further acne breakouts.
How to Remove Forehead Acne
Here at Sönd, we believe in a holistic approach to skincare above all else. This means that before trying harsh, medicated skin products or oral medications to treat acne, including acne on the forehead, it pays to look at other ways.
These include looking at your diet, lifestyle factors such as stress, balancing your hormones and switching to alkaline skin care specifically designed to help treat skin affected by acne and other common skin problems.
If after a few months, your forehead acne is still the same, then you could think about using topical creams and ointments or oral medications as forehead acne treatment.
We have plenty of information on using topical creams and ointments such as topical retinoids and antibiotics, and medications such as the contraceptive pill and oral antibiotics. What works best for you may be a case of trial and error, and your doctor or pharmacist can advise further, relating to your skin type and medical history.
This advice remains the same, no matter the cause of your forehead acne. The only difference being, if your forehead acne is caused by having a fringe, you will benefit from growing out your fringe and otherwise keeping your hair clipped or brushed back from your forehead.
Ozonated Olive Oil
Ozonated Olive Oil is formulated to turbocharge your skin's natural processes to assist optimal regeneration, with delivery of oxygen and vitamins E, A and B-carotene. This makes it a very effective product to use for Acne.
Through ozone therapy, an extra dose of oxygen is introduced to your skin cells leading to an increased rate of cell production, growth, and regeneration. This quickens the healing process of facial blemishes, wounds, or scars.
Ozone (O3) is an unstable form of oxygen making it rich in energy, and known as a ‘super Oxygen’. Combining refined olive oil with ‘super Oxygen’ creates something greater than the sum of its parts – ozonide, which is able to deeply penetrate the skin’s layers and release the active oxygen directly in the tissues that enables cellular respiration.
Cystic Forehead Acne Treatment
Cystic acne is often considered the most severe form of acne, as it’s typified by pus filled, yellow topped spots called pustules that develop when the sebaceous glands become blocked. This creates angry, often painful pustules that can cluster in patches on the face including the forehead.
This type of acne may be severe, but it is still possible to manage it holistically and with the right skincare. One thing we highly recommend doing is doing a two week food detox which will help flush out the toxins from the body. Additionally, doing a food allergy test will allow you to find out whether any food sensitivities might be causing your skin to breakout.
So, whilst eyelid eczema can really get you down, don’t let it stress you out. Take action. Try out some of the above and figure out what works for you and your skin.
However, it may mean that you do need to tackle cystic acne using the topical ointments and oral medications mentioned above. Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you’d like to try any of these as they can recommend the best course of treatment depending on your skin type.
Ozonated Olive Oil
As with regular acne Ozonated Olive Oil is a very powerful and effective product to use on Cystic Acne. It is known to help damaged and acne prone skin and regenerate skin.
How to Remove Forehead Acne Bumps
Using a product that contains salicylic acid can help to reduce the bumps on your forehead caused by acne.
Salicylic acid is found in many different types of skincare and effectively removes the top layer of skin (much like an exfoliant would, only more effectively) helping to clear blocked pores and improve the appearance of the skin.
Using salicylic acid to treat acne on the face helps lots of people suffering with non-conformist skin and it can help to reduce the appearance of spots and bumps on the forehead.
Also, switching to a powder foundation, rather than a liquid foundation if you use one, can also help as it’ll be less likely to clog the pores.
Can I Remove Forehead Acne Overnight?
Just as with treating acne anywhere else on the body, including on the face and back acne, there is no overnight miracle cure that treats forehead acne.
But that doesn't mean it can’t be cured, it just means it takes time and dedication. By following our advice on practical and holistic measures to help manage your forehead acne, and if necessary, other measures involving topical treatments and oral medications, you will achieve clearer skin.
And you won’t need that fringe to cover up that forehead acne anymore!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.