There are some common myths out there about the cause of acne, and one of the most common ones that people often believe is that the cause of acne is always hormonal. In many cases the place where you see acne appear is one of the most telling ways to determine what might be causing it for you. Here are some basics on acne location to help you determine the cause.
1: Acne around your hairline
If you frequently notice small pimples around your hairline it is probably not related to hormonal changes. Instead, this type of acne is usually the result of ingredients in your haircare products that are clogging your pores. Thick, mineral-based hair products can trap sebum (oils inside your pores). Rather than coming out like it should, the sebum gets stuck inside and leads to pimples. Instead, use acne-safe hair products that are free from pore-clogging ingredients.
2: Acne along your jawline or chin
Most acne that you see along the jawbone or on your chin is the result of hormonal changes. Hormones inside your body regulate the production of oil inside your pores. When hormones change, excess sebum can lead to breakouts. Men and women can experience hormone surges around the time of puberty and through your teenage years, but that’s not the only time. In fact, a 2018 study showed that about 85% of women and 15% of men still experience acne as adults (fortunately for most it is only mild acne).
Women may experience hormonal acne during a surge in hormones related to a menstrual cycle, or during pregnancy, postpartum, or breastfeeding. There are also some studies linking diet to hormonal acne, but these are not conclusive.
3: Acne along the “T-zone”
Your T-zone is the forehead, nose, and chin, and most acne that appears here is the result of oily skin, since there are more oil glands in these areas. Keep your face clean using a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid facial cleansing routine. Avoid makeup with pore-clogging ingredients, and consider using a blotting powder to control excess oil throughout the day as well.
4: Acne under your mask
Since people started wearing face masks in 2020 to protect against COVID-19 many people have noticed small red bumps that look like pimples under the area of the mask. This is a specific type of acne called acne mechanica. It’s the result of excess friction, so the keys to reducing these breakouts are:
- Washing your face regularly with a gentle cleanser (avoid scrubbing)
- Avoiding makeup if possible under the mask
- Always wearing clean masks
- Using benzoyl peroxide cleanser after wearing a mask
- Using a gentle moisturizer to reduce friction