How to Treat Chin Acne, According to Dermatologists

Pimples don’t spare the skin (they can appear on your neck, back, and your butt), but more often than not, the really bad guys make a nice, cozy home on your chin and jawline. They drag on a lot longer than you want, cause a lot of inflammation, and are sometimes a little painful to deal with. To add to the excitement (signalling sarcasm), pimples on the chin can be very stubborn – they don’t always respond to a pimple patch or spot treatment. But with the right treatment and a solid skincare lineup, getting rid of chin acne and managing future breakouts is *very* doable.

More often than not, treating chin acne requires the tender love and care of a dermatologist (more on why in a bit). As such, we called on Dr. Zenovia Gregory (opens in a new tab)board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Zenovia Hormonal Dermatology, and Dr Kenneth Howedermatologist certified by Union Square Dermatology, to help us break down everything you can and should do if you want to treat chin acne.

What is chin acne?

At its most basic, chin acne is acne (whether whiteheads, blackheads, or inflamed pimples) on your chin, which is pretty self-explanatory. But the reason we’ve dedicated a whole story to it is because it’s so much common. The chin has a lot of sebaceous glands (i.e. oil-producing glands), making it a very acne-prone area. “The hair follicles on our knees only have one sebaceous gland attached to each follicle, but on your chin you have nearly 20 sebaceous glands attached to each follicle,” says Dr. Zenovia. “It’s this density that leads to pimples.”

It’s also possible that the bumps on your chin aren’t acne at all, but something else entirely. “Rosacea is common on the chin. It’s different from acne because it’s caused by broken blood vessels and inflammation,” says Dr. Zenovia. “It is characterized by an acne-like appearance that looks like a rash and a few isolated pustules.” Treating rosacea will be different from treating chin acne, so confirm with a board-certified dermatologist that you have the correct diagnosis.

What causes chin acne?

While the high concentration of sebaceous glands is the main culprit, chin acne is usually associated with hormonal fluctuations in teenage girls and adult women. Dr. Howe explains that if you notice cystic, angry pimples appearing on the lower third of your face the week before your menstrual cycle, you’re probably dealing with hormonal acne.

But it’s not still the case; you may have chin acne that does not synchronize with your menstrual cycle. “Not all chin acne is hormonal. I see a lot of athletes who break out from their face mask. This sweating and blockage leads to irritation and inflammation that causes acne,” she explains. The same logic applies to rashes caused by a medical or cloth face mask, aka maskne, which has become increasingly popular since the onset of COVID-19.

How to Treat Chin Acne

“Chin acne is no different from any other acne because it is caused by the known trifecta: clogged pores, which leads to bacterial overgrowth, which leads to inflammation. This whole process is stimulated by fluctuations hormones,” says Dr. Zenovia. “The goal is to address all of those factors.” Here, we break down exactly how to treat chin acne, from habits to avoid to the best skincare products to use.

Don’t lean on your chin

“The worst habit to break is chin resting – the classic ‘thinker’ pose, with your chin resting on your fist,” says Dr Howe. “This kind of close contact and pressure brings the hair follicles closer to occlusion.” So do your best to keep your hands over your face. At the bare minimum, make sure your hands are as clean as possible. Wash them often and make a conscious effort to sanitize them so you don’t introduce bacteria.

Brush your teeth before cleaning

It may seem more natural to wait to brush your teeth after you wash your face, but if you have chin acne, dermatologists recommend reversing the order. Certain ingredients in toothpaste (read: sodium lauryl sulfate) can make the skin more prone to rashes and cause irritation.

Avoid using too many harsh ingredients

While some active ingredients (read: benzoyl peroxide, adapalene) are helpful in treating chin acne, the last thing you want to do is throw everything but the kitchen sink in your face, that won’t will only irritate the area. “Avoid harsh ingredients and scrubs,” advises Dr. Zenovia. “The chin is very sensitive in general and it is close to the mouth, which is more delicate.”

Try a Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash

Washing your face and removing make-up until the end should be a matter of course. If you’re considering which face wash to buy at the store, Dr. Zenovia says one with benzoyl peroxide is best because it has antibacterial properties. While 10% will be most effective, Dr. Howe recommends a 5% formula for anyone with sensitive skin.

Incorporate a retinoid

While there’s a lot to discover about retinol, we’ll keep things high. In addition to their anti-aging and skin lightening benefits, retinoids can help prevent acne from forming. “It’s a vitamin A-derived product that penetrates deep to prevent the formation of plugs, which is the first stage in the development of acne,” says Dr. Howe. You can get a prescription formula from your dermatologist or buy adapalene gel over the counter.

Use an oil-free moisturizer

Since both of the above steps can contribute to dryness and irritation, it’s very important to make sure your skin is adequately hydrated with a moisturizer designed for acne-prone skin. Dr. Zenovia recommends opting for an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula that hydrates your skin without contributing to acne.

Consult a dermatologist for oral medications

Mild acne can probably be treated at home with over-the-counter products from the drug store or Sephora, but more moderate, severe, or chronic acne will require the help of a dermatologist. “It’s time to go to the dermis when your chin keeps popping, if it’s been happening for more than two weeks in a row, or if the pimples are deep and inflamed,” says Dr. Howe.

If you’re specifically dealing with hormonal acne, an oral medication that blocks hormones is probably needed to keep things under control. Your doctor may prescribe you an oral contraceptive, oral antibiotics, a medicine called Spironolactone, or prescribe you Accutane, depending on your situation.

Get a cortisone injection

This will only be an option for cystic acne – it is not an option for blackheads, whiteheads or small papules and pustules. That being said, a cortisone shot is an easy way to shrink your cyst pimple overnight. “It’s a great way to flush out an inflamed, clogged hair follicle and decrease the inflammatory response right at the pimple,” says Dr. Zenovia. “The shot also helps prevent scarring and purple and red discoloration from developing,” adds Dr. Howe.

While this is a great option, it’s important to make sure you’re going with a well-trained provider. If the cortisone is injected too deeply, the skin can “atrophy” and you will end up with an indentation. The bump will be temporary, but it is easily preventable.

Meet the Experts

As a cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Howe is known for his light touch. He believes that smaller, earlier interventions allow patients to maintain a youthful appearance while preventing or slowing aging. Beyond cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Howe cares for a variety of medical skin conditions, with particular emphasis on the early detection and treatment of skin cancer and the diagnosis and management of skin loss. hair and acne. In the treatment of hair loss, Dr. Howe has had great success using PRP (platelet rich plasma) and microneedling. Dr. Howe is the author of two chapters in a widely used dermatology textbook, a photo guide to common skin disorders (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2003) as well as numerous medical articles in Dermatologic Surgery, Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, International Journal of Dermatology, Dermapathology and Cutis. Dr. Howe has been a guest panelist at the American Academy of Dermatology and has lectured before the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, American Society of Dermatopathology, New York Academy of Medicine, and Pediatric Dermatologic Society. He also served on the advisory board of LUBRIDERM®.

dr.  Zenovia

An internationally recognized dermatologist and hormonal skin expert, Dr. Zenovia is committed to researching and developing innovative methods to address major skin concerns from a 360° holistic perspective, including hormonal balance for healthier skin. healthy at every stage of life. With nearly 15 years of extensive integrated experience in medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, Mohs micrographic surgery, and aesthetic treatments, Dr. Zenovia is renowned for her “deeper than the skin” philosophy that gets to the root cause. depth of symptoms. His unique expertise in hormonal dermatology allows him to examine the structure, function and physiology of the skin at the biochemical level to achieve optimal results. Dr. Zenovia is also the founder and chief dermatologist of ZENA Medical in Newport Beach, California, where she is highly sought after by her high profile clientele for her “just underdone” natural cosmetic artistry.

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