- Acne is a skin condition in which pores become clogged by dead skin cells, oil and bacteria
- Acne on the chin is often caused by hormonal fluctuations
- It can be treated with over-the-counter products or prescription medication
- Prevent occasional chin pimples by following a few simple guidelines
Chin acne is a common occurrence in both teenagers and adults of both sexes. Acne can occur anywhere on the face, but one of the most common areas for pimples to appear is in the chin area.
Although the reason for it isn’t 100% understood, it’s widely recognized that acne on the chin and jawline is primarily caused by hormonal fluctuations.
Occasional pimples on the chin can be effectively treated with over-the-counter (OTC) products. More severe forms of acne on the chin, especially hormonal acne, is most effectively treated with prescription medication.
Causes of Acne on the Chin
Hormonal acne is caused by raised levels of androgens. Androgens are male hormones such as testosterone that increase the production of sebum, your skin’s natural oil.
Hormonal acne can occur in both genders during puberty and can continue to be an issue for adult women when androgen levels increase in the days leading up to menstruation.
Acne on the chin can also be caused by diet, genetics and poor skin care practices.
For men who shave, chin pimples may in fact be ingrown hairs. An ingrown hair is a hair that grows back into the skin causing a painful red bump resembling a pimple.
What does acne on the chin mean?
Adult acne, and specifically chin acne, are associated with hormonal fluctuations in both sexes. Men’s testosterone levels change over the course of a day, while women’s are linked to menstruation and thus, follow a monthly cycle.
Usually, hormonal acne doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your health. However, if you’re a woman with acne accompanied by other symptoms such as weight gain and an irregular period, it may be a sign of a hormonal disorder called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
How to Get Rid of Chin Acne and Pimples
Chin acne treatments fall into two broad categories: OTC and prescription products that address the acne itself, and hormonal therapies that stabilize fluctuating testosterone levels. The most effective treatment for you depends on whether or not your acne is hormonal.
OTC and prescription medications
Chin pimples caused by oily skin or poor hygiene can usually be addressed with commercial products. These products contain active ingredients to reduce sebum production and inflammation and kill acne-causing bacteria.
Salicylic acid cleanser
Salicylic acid reduces both inflammation and sebum production in the skin. It’s commonly found as an active ingredient in facial cleansers but is also available in higher concentrations as a spot treatment in the form of a gel or cream.
Benzoyl peroxide ointment
Benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria by releasing oxygen inside clogged pores. Because of its mechanism of action, it does not cause bacterial resistance – a problem associated with oral antibiotics.
Available in concentrations of 2–10% as a cream or lotion, benzoyl peroxide can be easily applied to a pimple on the chin as a spot treatment.
Benzoyl peroxide is most effective when used in tandem with another product such as salicylic acid that will help dry out pimples on the chin.
Adapalene is a retinoid, a derivative of vitamin A, available OTC at a low concentration (0.1%) and by prescription in concentrations up to 0.3%. It is available as a cream, lotion and gel, and is often used alongside other acne treatments to increase their penetration and efficacy.
Adapalene prevents the formation of microcomedones—tiny blocked pores that eventually turn into full-fledged blemishes—and helps reduce inflammation inactive lesions.
Although adapalene works slowly in comparison to other topical retinoids, it is associated with fewer of the side effects commonly associated with topical retinoids such as redness and peeling.
Isotretinoin is a retinoid available by prescription only. It is used to treat severe cystic acne and nodular acne. Isotretinoin is taken orally to decrease excess oil production and is not recommended for long-term use.
If you suspect your acne is hormonal, the most effective treatments may be hormonal therapies instead of topical treatments.
Birth control pills
Combined oral contraceptives are prescribed to treat hormonal acne that develops with your menstrual cycle. These medications suppress the production of androgens that cause excess sebum production.
An alternative treatment for hormonal acne is spironolactone, an androgen suppressant. It can be an option for women with hormonal acne who do not wish to take birth control.
Home Remedies to Clear Chin Acne
Natural remedies can effectively treat mild to moderate cases of chin acne by drying out your skin and calming inflammation. For more severe cases, you’ll likely want to pair these treatments with commercial products, which act faster and offer greater relief.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil can be applied to pimples on the chin as a spot treatment or used in the form of a cleanser or toner. It has bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties and helps dry out oily skin.
Witch hazel, an anti-inflammatory and astringent, can be used on its own as a toner and is also an active ingredient in many anti-acne skin care products.
A bentonite or kaolin clay mask applied over the chin can help draw out excess oil, bacteria and contaminants to heal acne breakouts.
Calm inflamed lesions with aloe vera gel, either directly from the plant or as a prepackaged product. Aloe vera has been proven to reduce redness in the skin.
Preventing Chin Breakouts
For breakouts other than hormonal, you may be able to successfully prevent pimples on your chin by developing good skin care habits.
Establish an anti-acne skin care routine: wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser and follow up with an oil-free moisturizer.
Use only noncomedogenic (not pore-clogging) skin care products and makeup, and avoid touching your chin with your fingers, as your fingers can transfer oils and bacteria to your face.
Change pillow cases frequently; bacteria and dead skin cells on your pillowcase can cause acne to flare up.
For some people, pimples on the chin are an occasional nuisance. For others, they may be a sign of hormonal imbalance and may appear concurrently with other symptoms.
Treat mild forms of acne on the chin with OTC products containing active ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or adapalene.
More severe acne—especially chronic breakouts due to hormones—can be treated with prescription medication such as isotretinoin, spironolactone or combined oral contraceptives.
For mild cases of chin acne that are not hormonal, natural remedies can help clear up acne and prevent further breakouts. Consider using tea tree oil, witch hazel and clay masks to dry out excess sebum and help stop your chin acne from recurring.
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