Pimples on the chin and around the mouth can be caused by several factors, including hormonal changes related to your monthly cycle (for women), use of the wrong skincare and cosmetic products, as well as dietary choices and habits. The type of acne that can pop up on the chin includes everything from blackheads, whiteheads, small red pimples, and even acne cysts—fun!
We know breakouts on the chin can be super frustrating, but understanding your triggers and implementing some simple prevention and treatment methods can help your chin acne under control in as little as a few weeks! Read on to learn more.
Do hormonal changes cause acne on the chin?
For women, the most common cause of chin acne—as well as breakouts around the mouth and jawline—are hormonal fluctuations related to the menstrual cycle. While these fluctuations in hormone levels are totally normal, problems (including pimples) can arise when these fluctuations get out of whack—specifically, when the endocrine system produces an excess of androgens, a group of hormones typically found in higher levels in males than females. These excess androgens can over activate the sebaceous glands, which then overproduces oil and ultimate causes acne breakouts (ugh).
At what point in the menstrual cycle do women get breakouts?
Some women experience breakouts during ovulation (mid-cycle), while others have pimples pop up before or during menstruation.
Ovulation: During ovulation, higher levels of progesterone stimulate the oil glands and rev up the production of sebum (i.e. oil), which can cause pores to get clogged.
Menstruation: During pre-menstruation, estrogen and progesterone levels drop, causing even higher levels of the production of sebum, often causing more inflamed breakouts. For women with a hormonal imbalance, these normal hormonal fluctuations are often exaggerated (i.e. more pronounced), causing more significant changes in skin's behavior and ultimately more numerous, severe, and inflamed breakouts.
How can you balance hormones causing acne on the chin?
Some birth control pills have beneficial effects on hormonal acne. You can learn more about the best birth control options for acne-prone skin here. Another oral medication that helps with hormonal acne is spironolactone, a non-hormonal drug that can help with acne on the chin and around the mouth. If you’re considering one of these options, consult with your OB/GYN, dermatologist, or physician.
Does makeup cause acne on the chin?
Another common cause of chin acne breakouts—particularly for women in their 20s and 30s with adult acne—is using makeup and cosmetics (including unwashed makeup brushes and applicators) that cause the skin's sebaceous glands to get clogged with dirt, oil, and acne-causing bacteria. To improve breakouts on the chin, make sure you’re using oil-free and non-comedogenic products and always, make sure all of your makeup brushes are cleaned weekly with a mild medicated acne cleanser. Though some would recommend you stop wearing makeup altogether (and this can be helpful), we understand that’s simply not realistic for most people. Therefore, you can learn more about the right types of acne to use here.
Does toothpaste cause acne on the chin?
While fluoride is found in most kinds of toothpaste, some people have (or develop) an adverse reaction to the ingredient, which can result in pimples around the mouth and even cystic acne. Try switching to a fluoride-free toothpaste and see if you notice a difference. Here are some of our favorite brands
- Dr Bronner's Peppermint Toothpaste - $5.99/1 tube
- Tom's of Maine Antiplaque and Whitening Fluoride-Free Toothpaste - $9.10/2tubes
- Jason Sea Fresh Strengthening Fluoride-Fere Toothpaste - $3.71/1tube
Does diet cause acne on the chin?
Another major cause of acne on the chin is the food you eat, which can impact your skin from the inside and out!
- Oily Foods: Consumption of salty, oily foods such as chips and french fries can leave oil residues around your mouth that can clog skin pores and cause pimples.
- Dairy & High GI Foods: As with all other types of acne, there appears to be a correlation between the consumption of certain foods and breakouts on the chin, mouth, and jawline. The worst culprits? Dairy (particularly cow’s milk) and high-glycemic (GI) foods such as sugar and refined carbohydrates. Eating large amounts of these goods have been shown to trigger and worsen. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, avoiding foods with high GI is one of the best ways to prevent acne.
To learn more, check out this blog, the best diet for people with acne, with guidance on which foods to avoid and which to add into your diet to help combat and prevent breakouts.
What is the best cleanser for acne on the chin area?
If you struggle with breakouts on the chin, start by using a mild, oil-free cleanser with salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is the best acne-treatment medicates to include in cleansers as it is oil-soluble—meaning it can penetrate into the pore while washing and remove excess sebum without overdrying the skin. People with dry or normal skin types should look for active cleansers with 2% salicylic acid while cleanser with 0.5% salicylic acid will be optimal for people with dry or sensitive skin.
What is the best moisturizer for acne on the chin area?
The best moisturizers for people with acne-prone skin are oil-free and include ingredients such as dimethicone or hyaluronic acid. Dimethicone helps to reduce trans-epidermal water loss without leaving a greasy feel. It also contains both occlusive and emollient properties, meaning it helps bring hydrating to the surface of the skin and keep it there! Dimethicone is suitable for use by people with acne and sensitive skin as it is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic (nonirritating).
In the MDacne moisturizer, we’ve also included active botanical extracts like aloe vera and witch hazel, which have anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties.
What are the best treatment creams for chin acne?
There are a number of excellent acne medications available over-the-counter that can help you get rid of your chin acne. When looking for a treatment cream (to be applied and left on overnight), you can try one with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
Benzoyl peroxide is a very effective treatment for chin acne. Using these creams every night or every other night in the acne-prone regions help remove excess oil, unclog skin pores and kill acne bacteria. Start with low percentage medical-grade anti-acne creams such as benzoyl peroxide 2.5% that will improve your acne without overdrying your skin. Depending on how your skin responds to the treatment, you can then increase the potency to 5% if needed.
Salicylic Acid: People with dry or sensitive skin can use creams with salicylic acid 2%. These creams are also very effective for combating excess oil production and unclogging the skin pores on the chin. In the case with severe acne on the chin or persistent cystic acne on the chin, there may be a need for the addition of an oral treatment to your skincare routine such as oral antibiotics or even Accutane.
How long does it take to get rid of acne on the chin?
Once you find the right products and start your new skincare routine, it’s super important that you commit to your treatment for a long enough period of time to allow the products to work and start to see results. As a general rule for acne on the chin and acne around the mouth, effective treatments should start working after about 4-6 weeks and you should reach optimal results in 12 weeks.
Be mindful that acne treatment products can sometimes present some side effects, particular, mild irritation, skin dryness, and redness. You may see some initial setbacks (i.e. frustrating new breakouts) early in treatment due to the destruction of the acne bacteria. This is what we sometimes lovingly refer to as the “purging” phase. One way to help your skin calm down during this phase is to reduce the amount or frequency (every other night to start) of treatment you’re using—but stick to it! You’ll be glad you did.
Are there any home remedies for pimples on the chin?
Home remedies and natural products sound appealing but unfortunately have minimal value in acne treatment in general and specifically for acne on the chin area. They can irritate your skin or be just ineffective. If your goal is to get clear skin, you should be using real medical grade acne medications.
Does exfoliation help with chin acne?
With any type of acne, it’s important to recognize that it is an inflammatory condition. Therefore, it’s important to always be gentle with your skin. Frequent skin exfoliation, chemical peels, and even harsh cleansers can dry out your skin, and ultimately cause more oil production and more acne breakouts.
What to do if you have a big painful pimple or cyst on your chin?
The best way to control your acne is by using a medical grade anti-acne night cream, applied to the whole chin area and not just single pimples. These creams will help dry out existing pimples faster and most importantly prevent the future pimples.
For a single, big, painful pimple or cyst, you can apply to the affected area, an ice cube wrapped with a clean paper towel. Apply it to the spot for 5 minutes 2-3 times a day. At the end of these 5 minutes, we recommend applying a pimple patch. These small, hydrocolloid patches help your skin heal more quickly reducing the risk for secondary infection and acne scars.
How to treat post acne dark spots on the chin?
The best way to treat dark, post-acne marks on the chin is with a medicated dark spot remover. This can be a prescription, such as the Kligman formula prescribed by most dermatologists for hyperpigmentation or an over-the-counter hydroquinone-based products. For best results look for products that contain 2% hydroquinone combined with retinoids and plant-based anti-inflammatory ingredients such as green tea, tea tree oil, vitamin E and vitamin A. We may be biased, but we think this is the best Dark Spot Remover.
Does touching your face cause acne on the chin?
Touching and picking at your skin is a very common cause of facial acne—especially chin acne where we may rest our hand or impulsively touch! The trauma to the upper skin layers reducing it's barrier function and makes you more susceptible to acne breakouts and acne scars. If you have chin acne, avoid touching this area of your face (except when cleansing and applying treatments) at all costs!