Causes & Treatments of Acne on Different Parts of the Face
You might thing that having acne prone skin is simply a case of having acne wherever it feels like flaring up on your face. But did you know that acne on various parts of the face could be caused by different reasons?
What causes acne on your chin could be down to a totally different reason to why acne spots are developing along your forehead or on your cheeks. Some people with acne develop it in one place only, whilst some adult acne cases can develop in certain areas of the face for multiple reasons.
What's for sure is that acne is a common skin condition that causes spots on parts of your face or body, and that acne is the most common skin condition we are asked about here at Sönd.
Face acne treatments can include oral medications to reduce sebum production or that help to control the hormones that might be responsible for acne breakouts.
They can also include topical ointments used to treat acne causing bacteria or clear dead skin cells away from the skin. Other effective treatments could mean a combination of medications and topical products alongside a holistic approach to treating face acne.
There are some surprising reasons why acne may break out on different areas of your face and some ways that may prevent it from happening. Here’s some of the common forms of acne on the chin, cheekbones, forehead and nose, and what you can do to help treat and prevent acne breakouts.
Treating the Symptoms of Acne Holistically
While acne on different parts of the face may have unique ways of caring for them, it is always worth taking a holistic approach that takes diet and lifestyle factors into consideration. We'll talk more about that later on.
But for now, let's discuss the different locations of acne, what might make acne worse and how to help prevent acne returning.
Who Can Develop Acne on the Face?
Acne on different parts of the face can affect anyone, but those in their teenage years and younger adults tend to have more acne prone skin than older adults.
However, women between the ages of 30 and 45 can also develop acne due to stressful, busy lives often juggling a career and family life, as well as developing symptoms of the perimenopause and menopause.
Two of the most common causes of acne on the face are stress and an imbalance of hormones such as when going through puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding or the menopause. In fact, hormonal acne is more common than any other type.
Acne on different parts of the face can also be down to our genetics - we may have a higher risk of developing acne prone skin if a close relative such as a parent or a sibling also has the condition.
Food intolerances and eating a diet high in acid forming food such as meat and dairy products can also lead to mild to moderate acne on the face, or even more severe acne breakouts.
There are many different treatments for acne, so it’s important to understand our acne triggers to ensure we choose the right treatment.
What is Face Mapping for Acne?
Face mapping is a technique carried out by a skin specialist that helps to work out which areas of the face are more prone to acne breakouts. An acne face map will then provide useful information on where to focus your efforts for acne treatments.
Acne face mapping can also help to identify the potential causes of acne on different parts of the face, including acne potentially caused by stress, hormones, bacteria, a poor diet, certain skincare products and environmental toxins.
Different Types of Acne Breakouts on the Face and What They Mean
Acne is a common condition that causes spots and acne on certain areas of the face. Where the acne appears can be caused by different factors and there are five main types of acne spots that can form on the face:
- Whiteheads - when dirt, dead skin cells, stale makeup and sebum (the wax like oil produced by the skin) build up in the pores, whiteheads are formed.
- Blackheads - blackheads are the same as whiteheads, but they become black when a head is formed and it gets oxidised by the air.
- Papules - papules are small, hard, red lumps that form under the top layers of skin. Often associated with inflamed, red skin, they’re different from yellowheads as they don’t contain pus.
- Pustules - pustules are similar to papules, but they contain pus and form yellowheads.
- Cystic acne - the most angry of acne spots, cystic acne often causes large, painful lumps under the skin that are filled with yellow pus and can leave behind angry, red scarring.
What Causes Hormonal Chin Acne and Acne Along the Jawline?
It’s commonly a hormonal imbalance that causes acne on the jawline and chin area. An increase in male hormones called androgens can lead to an increase in sebum production. Sebum is a natural oil produced by the skin. If it’s produced excessively, it can block the pores and lead to acne, most often around the chin and jawline.
Being premenstrual or menopausal can lead to hormonal imbalances, as can being on certain contraceptive pills, which can lead to chin acne and acne on the jawline.
Resting your chin on your hands can also lead to acne in these areas if your hands are dirty or carry bacteria.
It’s also thought that gut health could contribute to acne, particularly chin acne and acne spots around the jawline. Poor gut health can be caused by a diet of processed, sugary, salty and fatty foods, which can then lead to hormonal imbalances.
How to Get Rid of Chin and Jawline Acne
If you’re regularly getting jawline acne and flare ups of acne on the chin, then you may need medical treatments such as Aldactone or Co-cyprindiol, drugs that help to manage androgen and sebum levels.
Topical treatments such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid or azelaic acid may also help to treat chin and jawline acne.
Looking at your diet can help too. Try to eliminate processed carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and rice, and other processed, high fat, sugar and salt foods.
Reducing your intake of dairy products, meat and animal proteins can help to manage jawline acne too as these foods can contain traces of animal hormones which can add to your hormonal imbalance and make you more prone to developing acne.
What Causes Acne Around the Mouth?
Mouth acne can be caused by regularly touching the skin in this area. Acne around the lips can also be caused by using thick, oily lip balms, lipsticks and glosses that can clog the pores.
Eating something that your body is sensitive to can also trigger spots to form around the mouth but if this is the case, it’s less likely to be acne, and more likely to be a skin condition called perioral dermatitis.
How Can I Treat Mouth Acne?
The skin around the lips can be more sensitive and often, topical acne treatments can’t be used around this area.
Try to limit the amount of times you touch your face with your hands, and make sure your hands are always clean and if you can, free from hand creams and lotions.
Use lip balms, lipsticks and glosses minimally – maybe keep them for special occasions and always use one that is non pore blocking or ‘non comedogenic'.
Keep an eye out for trigger foods, and limit the amount of processed and animal-based foods you eat, and aim to eliminate all dairy products.
If you do eat an oily food, make sure you wipe around your lips afterwards using a clean cloth or face wipe to remove any oil that might be left behind.
What Are the Causes of Acne on the Cheeks?
Although acne is often caused by genetic and hormonal reasons, there are some surprising other causes, and they may make you feel a bit queasy.
Acne on the cheeks could be caused by bacteria on the skin that have come from faecal matter. We’ve all heard those reports on the presence of bacteria such as E.coli on our smartphones. E.coli’s natural habitat is the gut, and it exits the body in our faeces…
Taking our phone to the toilet, not washing our hands properly and simply holding onto the handrail on public transport can all transfer faecal bacteria to our hands and phones.
Touching our cheeks and pressing our phones to our faces as we talk into them can transfer these bacteria to our faces, and cause acne breakouts. Sleeping on a pillowcase that hasn’t been changed in a while can do the same. You may notice that your cheek acne is worse on one side – the side you sleep on or hold your phone to.
How to Make Acne on the Cheeks Go Away
Washing your hands regularly, changing your pillow cases weekly and wiping your phone with an antibacterial wipe every day can help get rid of acne breakouts on your cheeks. Plus, avoid the temptation of taking your phone to the toilet with you!
Why you Might Be Getting Forehead Acne
If you have naturally oily hair and you wear it forwards onto your forehead or you have a fringe, it could be causing small acne bumps to form on your forehead. Your choice of haircare products can also be to blame for your forehead acne.
Haircare products such as oils, waxes and serums are designed to moisturise the hair – and they do a great job at this.
However, what they do for the hair, they also do for the skin. The oils can block the pores on the forehead, which means that the natural skin oils, or sebum, can’t be released. This causes blockages and the red bumpy spots called papules and is a main forehead acne cause.
The forehead is also where teenage acne usually begins, and forms small red bumps across the forehead.
How to Get Rid of Forehead Acne
The best way to get rid of forehead acne is to keep your hair away from your face. This might mean growing out that new fringe you’ve just had cut in!
Also, make sure you wash your hair regularly using a clarifying shampoo which clears away any build up of products. Avoid wearing hats with a tight headband that sits on your forehead, too, as this can block the pores.
What Causes Nose Acne?
The skin on the nose is different from the skin on the rest of the face – it tends to have larger pores that can become blocked with excess sebum more easily, leading to angry red nose acne spots and bumps on the skin.
A different condition, called acne rosacea, which causes the skin to become red, inflamed and possibly thickened and lumpy can also affect the nose. Our article on acne rosacea will tell you more about the condition and help you find out if you have acne or acne rosacea.
Again, touching your skin can lead to nose acne, but acne in this area can also be a sign of hormonal imbalances or a poor or very acidic diet.
How to Get Rid of Nose Acne
As with any acne, everyone has different skin and there is no one magic acne treatment that helps everyone with nose acne.
Looking at your diet and enriching it with wholegrains, fruits and vegetables can help treat acne around the nose. If your nose acne flares up around the time of your period you may have a hormonal imbalance which could be helped by drugs such as Aldactone or Co-cyprindiol.
Topical treatments containing sulphur can help to control sebum production when applied to the nose area.
What Causes Cystic Acne Breakouts on the Neck?
Acne on the back of the neck tends to be cystic acne – that is, acne spots that are filled with pus, called pustules. This is because the skin in this area is thicker and more like the skin on the body than the face, meaning that it produces more sebum making cystic acne on the neck more likely.
Wearing tight necked clothing such as roll necks and shirts can irritate the skin on the neck, and provide the right conditions for blocked pores and neck acne breakouts.
How to Get Rid of Cystic Neck Acne
It can be easy to forget the neck area when you’re showering, so make sure you make a conscious effort to wash around the back of your neck. If you have long hair that’s naturally oily or that you add serums to, keep it tied up for the majority of the time to avoid a buildup of excess oil on the neck that can clog the pores.
What Causes Face Acne Above the Brows?
The skin immediately above the brow area is thinner and therefore more delicate than the skin elsewhere on the face.
This means that it can become irritated relatively easily, and that spots and bumps can form in this area as a response to certain, harsh, skincare products, sun screens and makeup.
We also tend to tweeze, wax and thread the hairs in this area away. This can also lead to blocked pores, spots and acne breakouts.
How to Treat Acne Above the Brows
Acne above the eyebrows is best treated by keeping the area clean and well hydrated. Using the Sönd alkalising skincare range is ideal!
During a flareup of acne above the brows, Sönd ozonated olive oil can be helpful. Or, topical treatments containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can treat aggressive flare ups.
What Causes Acne Between the Brows?
Like acne above the brows, acne between the eyebrows can be caused by oily hair or hair styled with oils and waxes, touching the area. Natural hair oils and oils from hair styling products can block the pores and lead to spots and acne breakouts.
Acne between the brows can also be caused by a hormonal imbalance such as during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or the menopause.
How to Treat Acne Between Brows
Acne between brows can be managed by simply changing your skincare to a gentler formulation or switching your cream foundation to a powdered one. Products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can also be helpful, as can ozonated olive oil.
If you think you might have a hormonal imbalance, it may be worth speaking to your GP.
Acne between brows can also be caused by stress or a diet high in meat and dairy products, fast food and foods with high salt, sugar and fat contents.
Why You May Have Acne on Your Hairline and Temples
Hairline acne, characterised by spots and pimples on the skin next to where your hair starts to grow, extending down to the temples, is known as acne cosmetica. Using certain makeup and skincare products that clog the pores can lead to hairline acne.
Examples of skincare and makeup ingredients that can clog the pores and cause hairline acne include: oils used to style and treat the hair, hair dyes, sunscreen, cream foundations and oil based moisturisers.
How to Get Rid of Hairline Acne
To combat hairline acne, switch to gentler, more natural skin and hair care products. Also, ensure you rinse your hair thoroughly of shampoo and conditioner and when cleansing your face, make sure you cleanse right up to the hairline.
Treatment for Acne: Getting into a Good Skincare Routine
Good skincare doesn’t have to mean a complicated routine using dozens of different products. Try a simple routine of an acne face wash followed by an alkalising day or night moisturiser twice a day to see how it can revolutionise the way you feel about your acne prone skin.
The Sönd Rebalance and Reset Cream Cleanser makes a really good face wash for acne as it uses natural butters to melt away makeup and dirt, and botanical extracts to soothe and calm the skin.
Our Calming Hydration Day Cream is rapidly absorbed and richly hydrating - perfect for the daytime. In the evening after cleansing, the Sönd Overnight Replenishment Night Cream soothes and plumps, whilst optimising cell function and repair.
Tips to Prevent Acne on Your Face
To prevent acne flare ups, there are a number of things you can do, including:
- Cleansing in the morning to remove dirt and sweat, and cleansing in the evening to remove dirt, makeup, pollution and bacteria - always use a gentle cream cleanser
- Having days where you don’t wear makeup, especially heavy cream foundations
- If possible use a powder foundation rather than a creme foundation
- Keeping your skin well hydrated with plenty of water each day
- Avoiding touching your face
- Using your phone on handsfree where possible
- Following a diet that consists of 80% alkaline foods - avoid meat and dairy products and eat as many green leaves and vegetables as possible
- Keeping your hair away from your face as much as possible
- Visiting a skincare specialist if at home treatments don’t seem to be working
Managing and Treating Acne Scarring
Acne scarring can unfortunately occur after a bad flare up of severe acne spots. Read our advice on managing acne scars for more information.
When to See a Doctor About Acne
Sometimes, at home remedies and over the counter medications can help to manage acne flare ups.
But other times, these are not enough. If you’re finding that your acne prone skin is still acting up even after following our advice above, you may benefit from seeing a skin specialist or doctor.
You may even have an underlying health condition, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS) that can be diagnosed, helping in turn to treat your acne prone skin.
We all have beautifully unique skin, and therefore we’ll each respond differently to different treatments, so never give up hope.
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.