Having acne anywhere isn’t a pleasant experience. However, it can be the most discouraging when on your face, because this area is the most difficult to hide. Read on to learn more about why acne may appear on the chin and some simple steps that can be taken to reduce, or completely eliminate your chin acne.
What does chin acne mean?
Chin acne is quite common and typically caused by inflammation and the buildup of sebum (oil), dead skin, and/or bacteria.
Chin breakout meanings can vary. For the most part, chin acne in women is caused by hormonal changes, genetics, and stress. Chin breakouts are often linked to an increase in one type of hormones (androgens). Androgens stimulate sebum production (your skin’s natural oils), which can lead to clogged pores resulting in pimples.
Causes of Acne on the Chin
If excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria getting clogged in your pores is usually what leads to breakouts, what might be the reason that your normal skincare routine is not working? And why are you experiencing localized breakouts on your chin?
Like we mentioned before, hormonal changes are the most common reason for chin acne. Women and menstruating people are familiar with frequent hormonal fluctuations (every 28 days or so, but who’s counting?). You will experience hormonal changes going through puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and when stopping hormonal birth control.
Hormonal acne is a type of inflammatory acne, meaning you get red, swollen, and even painful blemishes on your skin. These pimples tend to appear on your chin and jawline.
Wearing a Mask
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re now intimately familiar with mask-wearing. But did you know that wearing a mask can sometimes cause chin acne?
Wearing a mask creates moist conditions on your chin, which can trap bacteria from the environment in your pores. You may also experience chin breakouts because your mask is rubbing against your skin, blocking hair follicles, and leading to irritation, inflammation, and pimples.
“Maskne” doesn’t typically result in deep, painful pimples like hormonal chin acne. Instead, they appear as small red bumps and whiteheads.
Endocrine health conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) can also cause chin acne. PCOS is a disruption in your body’s ability to produce the normal levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone hormones. This hormonal imbalance can lead to your skin producing too much oil and sticky skin cells, resulting in acne (especially on your chin).
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Your hair and skin products may also be behind those pesky chin pimples. Many of these products can contain oils and potential skin irritants. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to chin acne, look for “non-comedogenic” products. These products are often labeled as “oil-free” and won’t clog your pores.
Acne is influenced by numerous health and lifestyle factors – where it’s located on the face may be an indicator of the specific cause. Face mapping, a technique that originates from ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, links specific areas of the face to different health issues. It’s important to note, however, that this method is not backed by a significant amount of scientific theory and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Image taken from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325971#acne-locations-and-causes
How do you get rid of chin acne?
Two ingredients that tend to be successful in clearing up acne on the chin are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. These products help remove excess oil and benzoyl peroxide decreases bacterial growth. But while they are highly effective, they may not be enough for many individuals. Furthermore, it’s always best practice to consult with a doctor prior to pursuing this form of treatment.
If you decide to try salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, the following routine is a great place to start:
1. Wash your face with a mild cleanser and warm water
2. Apply a product (soap, face wash, gel, cream) with benzoyl peroxide in it.
3. Avoid trying to pop your pimples (this typically leads to further irritation). Per Dr. Yen, our Founder and adolescent medicine specialist, “more goes into your skin than comes out and it takes longer to heal if you pop your zits.”
If your pimples don’t go away within a few days, you may need to try a different treatment. The following medical treatments are also commonly recommended by doctors:
- Tretinoin = first line treatment for acne. It works better than salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide because it hits large pores, sticky skins, excess oil/sebum production.
- Birth control pills = oral treatment that decrease the androgens and that reduces oil/sebum created on the skin.
- Oral antibiotics = products taken by mouth to kill excess acne-causing bacteria.
- Extraction = sterile equipment that cleans out pores.
- Laser therapy = beam of light used to break up scarring.
- Chemical peels = chemical solution to take off dead skin, might help with scars.
Related content: What are Oral Antibiotics for Acne?
Is Chin Acne a Sign of Your Period?
Yes chin acne can be a sign that your period is coming. The fluctuation of hormones that occurs during a menstrual cycle may lead to increased production of oil on the skin. This excess of oil may cause clogged pores and, thus, acne. Furthermore, while having acne on your chin doesn’t necessarily indicate that your period is coming, there could be a correlation between the two scenarios.
How to Prevent Chin Acne?
Although acne is not something you can fully control, there are numerous lifestyle habits you can take up in order to reduce the likelihood of developing pimples on your chin.
Once again, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be used to both prevent and reduce the severity of acne due to its ability to remove dead skin cells that tend to clog the pores. That being said, they works best on mild acne (i.e. whiteheads and blackheads), so you may need a stronger form of treatment (prescription-strength), like tretinoin, if your acne is severe.
Birth Control pills
In most cases, the birth control pill helps clear up the skin as a result of its hormone-regulating properties. Additionally, the combination pill can be taken continuously to prevent your period altogether (no periods = no fluctuation in hormones = no acne from fluctuating hormones). However, birth control pills are often not enough as the sole method for treating acne, but rather you will often need at least tretinoin (if you are getting doctor-level care) or benzoyl peroxide.
Related content: Best Birth Control for Acne
Having a low-glycemic diet may decrease your risk of developing acne. Foods that contain a high glycemic index spike your blood sugar and cause inflammation throughout the body, which could lead to acne.
Most research has not shown a connection between specific foods and acne. However, if you notice a particular food triggers your acne, then don’t eat that food.
Sun exposure can damage your skin by breaking down the natural barrier, thereby drying it out. The increased dryness then causes the body to compensate by producing more oil on the skin. Therefore, wearing sunscreen will help prevent this chain of events by protecting the skin from UV rays. It’s important to note that oil-free sunscreen is the ideal option, as it’s less likely to clog pores.
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Keep your hands away from your face
When you touch your face, bacteria on your hands gets transferred to the skin. This may cause new or aggravate existing acne. While it’s nearly impossible to stop touching your face altogether, making it less of a habit may be beneficial for the sake of your skin.
Wash your sheets regularly
Your sheets (bed spread, comforter, and pillowcase) can be a source of bacteria, dead skin, and oil. By washing your sheets regularly (once a week), you can decrease your likelihood of developing acne as a result of irritants getting transferred to your face.
What’s the takeaway?
If you try the methods listed above and don’t notice any improvements to your skin, consult a doctor, because you may require a stronger treatment. Also, know that having acne is a normal part of life and nothing to be ashamed of!
How can Pandia Health help
Speaking of acne treatment, Pandia Health’s expert doctors can prescribe you acne treatment tailored to your severity of acne and whether it is hormonally related or not. As the ONLY women-founded and women-led, doctor-led birth control delivery service, Pandia Health is here to help. If you live in AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MI, NV, NY, OH, PA, TN, TX, and WY, schedule an online consultation with one of our expert doctors – they can help you find an acne treatment that best suits your needs. Sign up today!
Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting or changing acne treatment.