Update 10/9/20 For those who experience adult acne, I often see breakouts concentrated in the chin and jawline area. Unfortunately, these breakouts tend to be painful, underground cysts and don’t always come to a head and are difficult (but not impossible!) to get rid of. I’ve had a lot of experience helping people manage this kind of acne over the last thirty years because I have dealt with it on my own face so here are my eight best tips for preventing chin and jawline breakouts.
What Causes Acne on the Chin?
The cause of chin acne can be from hormonal imbalances in the body as well as potentially from consuming dairy. Hormonal shifts can stimulate oil production which leads to an increase of bacteria getting trapped in the pores resulting in pustules and cystic pimples. This results in sore, painful acne, pustules, and cystic blemishes. Chin acne is found most often in female adults between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five.
These types of chin pimples usually don’t respond very quickly to traditional drying spot treatments. Since breakouts in this area tend to be cystic (bigger blemishes deep under the skin), spot treatments dry out the surface but leave the bump underneath. Sound familiar? Also, since cysts are large and severe, they can last for up to three weeks and leave red, dark scars that linger even longer.
How to Get Rid of Chin and Jawline Pimples
1. Try Removing Dairy From Your Diet for Three Weeks
In order to remove waste that your body disagrees with, your skin actually acts as an excretory system. Dairy is a mucus-forming food that can be difficult for the body digest—which is why many people are lactose intolerant. When you ingest more dairy than your body can digest, it can be excreted through cystic acne (hard, painful bumps under the skin) on the chin and jawline. Try cutting out all forms of dairy (yogurt, milk, and all cheeses) for three weeks to see if any new pimples appear. If not, this very well may be the underlying cause.
Why the chin and jawline area?
Most dairy cows are given growth hormones. Therefore, the consumption of milk, cheese, and yogurt influences endogenous hormones. These mimic the hormones that trigger the skin’s oil production, thus starting the acne process. There are more sebaceous glands in the face.
Since hormones are fat-soluble, the body uses these glands to excrete fat-based hormones, specifically in the chin and jawline area. It’s also important to know that out of the blue, you can suddenly develop an intolerance to dairy. The body is very uniquely strange in this way!
Note: If you LOVE dairy (I mean, who doesn’t love cheese and ice cream?!), it doesn’t mean that you can’t ever eat it again. Eliminating it for three weeks will help determine if it’s causing your cysts. If after three weeks of no dairy, you’re not getting new breakouts when you normally would, consider this is a good thing. You now have amazing knowledge to make choices moving forward. If you can’t bear to give up dairy completely, try slowly introducing it back into your diet. If you start getting acne again, you then have an understanding of your body’s tolerance level. For some people, they can consume a little dairy but not too much. For others, they must avoid it completely to keep their skin clear.
2. Keep Your Hands Off Your Face
Since all blemishes are related to bacteria in the pores, you’ll want to prevent any unnecessary bacteria from transferring to the skin. Did you know touching your face all day long, without intentionally doing so, makes your face one of the dirtiest parts of your body? Do you rest your face in your hands when at your desk? Do you tend to pick at your face when you are thinking? If so, try to work on breaking those bad habits.
At the very least, wash your hands frequently throughout the day. You’ll also definitely want to clean your skin at night to remove acne-causing bacteria. For pimples on the chin and jawline, I recommend a non-drying, sulfate-free cleanser that uses salicylic and lactic acids. Salicylic acid helps keep bacteria out of the pores, and lactic acid smoothes and fades post-breakout marks.
3. Keep Your Cell Phone Clean
Like touching your face, cell phones are not the cause of acne, but they can potentially worsen pimples on your chin and face. Unfortunately, there’s plenty of bacteria on your mobile device. Wipe it down daily to avoid unnecessary bacteria from transferring to the skin.
4. Only Treat Affected Areas of the Face
This is an important one. If you don’t have blemishes on any other parts of your face, you only want to treat the chin and jawline area for blemishes. If you mostly get breakouts in the lower region of the face and you then use drying acne cleansers, masks, and serums over your entire face, you’re drying out the skin where there is NO acne. This makes the skin on the upper half of your face very unbalanced and unhappy—especially if you’re an adult and have concerns about keeping your skin healthy and youthful-looking. It may seem inconvenient to have certain products only for certain areas, but this is what will make your skin look its very best.
5. Prevent Pimples on Your Chin and Jawline by Using Non-Drying Blemish Treatments
When dealing with chin acne, you want to prevent breakouts from ever appearing in the first place. Of course, this is easier said than done. However, minimizing the bacteria that are trapped in pores should help significantly.
To do this, start using a good, non-drying, alcohol-free acne serum that contains salicylic acid. This ingredient is a keratolytic beta hydroxy acid famous (BHA) for its ability to penetrate into the pore lining and reduce acne-causing bacteria. By using salicylic acid, you can help prevent the appearance of breakouts. Of course, all skin types respond differently so you’ll want to find your skin type first. A treatment like this, though, is usually very effective without drying the skin and leaving it flaky.
Why a Serum?
A serum is most effective because it is formulated for use under a moisturizer at night. It works over the course of many hours to penetrate deep into the pores. Learn more about why I prefer exfoliating acid serums over toners.
Recommended product with salicylic acid: BHA Clarifying Serum or Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum work really well when used three nights on, three nights off. Alternate your exfoliating acid serum with a hydrating, non-exfoliating serum to give the skin a break. Lastly, always use a moisturizer over a serum to seal in the active ingredients and maximize effectiveness.
6. Spot-Treat the Blemish to Heal it Fast (and DON’T Pick Pimples)
When dealing with chin acne, you want to make a blemish heal as quickly as possible, right? I cannot stress enough the importance of treating your blemishes correctly. Every move you make determines how long both the pimple and acne scar will last.
I created a Zit Care Kit that contains four specialized blemish products plus my special tools to help you treat every type of blemish FAST with the least amount of injury to the skin. Every blemish has a life cycle and you need to treat it with the right product at the right time. It’s important to work WITH Mother Nature, not against her. This kit helps to do just that. Definitely, check it out. Well worth every penny. Trust me.
My best-selling Anti Bump Solution is included in the Zit Care Kit but is also sold separately. Both are very effective at spot treating blemishes once they appear. For quickly clearing and also preventing stubborn chin and jawline breakouts, I suggest combining Anti Bump Solution with our Rapid Response Detox Masque. This masque contains both calming and anti-bacterial ingredients that work synergistically with Anti Bump Solution to tackle chin breakouts.
7. Get Your Pores Cleaned
Older blemishes in which the infection didn’t properly purge (leaving you with small little white-ish, non-infected bumps) can sometimes contribute to new pimples. These are called closed comedones or simply clogged pores. They can continue to get re-infected until they are cleaned out. It’s extremely beneficial to get professional facials to clear the blocked pores, or you can try doing it yourself at home. Either way, clean pores can dramatically prevent breakouts not only for chin acne but also for anywhere else on the face.
8. Consult Your Gynecologist to Balance Hormones
If you are taking birth control, it may need to be adjusted. Or maybe you’re peri-menopausal and your hormones are acting up. Gynecologists are well aware of how hormonal fluctuations can cause pimples and chin acne. They may have some helpful suggestions.
If you get “time of the month” breakouts, start treating your skin a few days before your cycle.
Just before the start of a woman’s cycle, there is more progesterone in the skin. This leads to water retention, causing the skin to look puffier. When this occurs, it puts pressure on the pores and creates a narrower pore lining. Additionally, oil can thicken during this time because of the hormonal imbalance and increase of testosterone during the pre-period hormonal shift.
When the thicker oil is trying to get through a narrower opening, this creates an environment in which breakouts can start. Rapid Response Detox Masque is the perfect solution to use daily, ideally a few days before the start of your cycle. It quickly destroys acne-causing bacteria from deep within the pores. For best results, use a gentle facial scrub prior to applying the mask. If you get regular breakouts, you can even use this mask daily.
If all else fails, consider prescription medication
I always think that prescription medication (especially oral antibiotics) should be a last resort. However, if you’ve exhausted every possible option to manage your chin acne, this might be worth trying. Getting to the root of the problem is always best, however, it’s just not so easy to figure out. If there was a one-size-fits-all cure, we would all know about it. Be sure to consult with a doctor or dermatologist to determine which medication is best for you.
In summary, acne is a disease of the skin, and it’s very hard to find a cure. However, these tips should help you in your quest to get clear skin with fewer pimples on the chin and jawline area!
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”