8 Tips to Prevent Cystic Breakouts on Your Chin and Jawline

a woman with her hands on her jaw

Update 02/23/22. When it comes to adult acne, I often see it concentrated in the chin and jawline areas. These breakouts tend to be painful, underground, and cystic in nature. Unfortunately, they 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 cystic breakouts over the last 30+ years as an esthetician. I’ve even dealt with them on my own face! Keep reading to see my eight best tips for preventing chin and jawline breakouts. You’ll be on your way to clearer, healthier-looking skin in no time.

What Causes Chin and Jawline Breakouts?

Chin and jawline breakouts can be attributed to hormonal imbalances in the body.

Hormonal shifts can stimulate oil production, which leads to an increase in bacteria getting trapped in pores. This results in sore, painful breakouts, like pustules and cysts. Chin breakouts are most common for females who are between the ages of 21 and 45.

These types of breakouts don’t usually respond to traditional drying spot treatments. They tend to be bigger blemishes that sit deep within the skin, so traditional spot treatments just dry out the surface and leave the bump underneath. And even if you use traditional spot treatments, cystic breakouts can still last up to three weeks and leave marks that linger even longer.

How Can I Get Rid of Chin and Jawline Breakouts?

1. Try Removing Dairy From Your Diet for Three Weeks

Your skin actually acts as an excretory system. It is thought that milk, especially skim milk, can trigger oil production and worsen cystic breakouts. When you eat more dairy than your body can digest, it can be excreted through cystic breakouts on the chin and jawline. That’s why I recommend cutting out dairy for three weeks to see if it makes a difference.

It’s important to know that you can suddenly develop an intolerance to dairy even if you’ve never had one before. The body is uniquely strange in this way!

Learn more about the link between dairy and acne.

2. Avoid Touching Your Face

All blemishes are related to bacteria being trapped in pores. That’s why you’ll want to prevent any unnecessary bacteria transfer from your hands to your face. Did you know touching your face all day long, without intentionally doing so, makes your face one of the dirtiest parts of your body? Think about it—how often do you rest your face in your hands while at your desk? How often do you touch your face or pick at it when you’re thinking? Try to become more conscious of these bad habits, so you can break them.

At the very least, wash your hands frequently and cleanse your skin at night to remove any potential breakout-causing bacteria. I recommend using a non-drying, sulfate-free cleanser with salicylic and lactic acid, like the AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser. Salicylic acid can help keep bacteria out of the pores, and lactic acid smoothes and fades post-breakout marks.

3. Clean Your Cell Phone

Just like with touching your face, cell phones can potentially worsen chin and jawline breakouts by transferring bacteria. And trust me, there are plenty of bacteria on your cell phone! Make sure to wipe it down daily to avoid making your breakouts worse.

4. Only Treat the Affected Areas of Your Face

This is an important one. If you only have breakouts on your chin and jawline, you should only treat these areas with blemish-fighting products. That’s because, if you use drying cleansers, masks, and serums over your entire face, you’re effectively drying out the skin there for no reason. It can make the skin on the upper half of your face very unbalanced and unhappy—especially if you’re an adult and have aging concerns.

It may seem inconvenient to use certain products in certain areas, but this is what will make your skin look and feel its best.

5. Use Non-Drying Blemish Products

When dealing with chin and jawline breakouts, you want to prevent breakouts from 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 by using a non-drying, alcohol-free serum that contains salicylic acid. This ingredient is a keratolytic beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that’s famous for its ability to penetrate into the pore lining. By using a salicylic acid serum, you can help prevent the appearance of breakouts. Why a serum? It’s most effective because it works over the course of many hours to penetrate deep into the pores.

I recommend using the BHA Clarifying Serum. Use it three nights on, three nights off. Alternate it with a hydrating serum to give your skin a break. Lastly, always use a moisturizer over a serum to seal in the active ingredients and maximize effectiveness.

6. Spot Treat Blemishes (and Don’t Pick Them)

When dealing with chin and jawline breakouts, it’s so important to treat each one correctly. Every move you make determines how long the breakout and the post-breakout mark will last.

To make it simple, I created a Zit Care Kit that contains four specialized products, plus my special tools, to help you treat every type of blemish 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. Trust me.

The Renée Rouleau Anti Bump Solution is included in the Zit Care Kit but is also sold separately. It’s very effective at spot treating cystic blemishes. Unlike other traditional drying spot treatments, it won’t prolong them (you can read more about that here).

7. Clean Your Pores

Older blemishes in which the infection didn’t properly purge (leaving you with small whiteish, non-infected bumps) can sometimes contribute to new breakouts. 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.

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 breakouts. They may have some helpful suggestions.

If You Get Period 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 appear puffy. When this occurs, it puts pressure on the pores and creates a narrower pore lining. Additionally, oil can thicken during this time due to hormonal imbalance and an increase in testosterone. When the thicker oil is trying to get through a narrower opening, it creates an environment in which breakouts can begin.

The Rapid Response Detox Masque is the perfect solution. Use it a few days before the start of your cycle. 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, Talk to Your Doctor About 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 and jawline breakouts, this may 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 approach, we would know about it. Consult a doctor or dermatologist to determine which medication is best for you.

There you have it. Chronic breakouts are hard to manage, especially hormonally driven cystic blemishes on the chin and jawline, but these tips should help you in your quest for clear skin!

Next, check out my complete guide to clearing clogged pores once and for all!

Disclaimer: Content found on www.ReneeRouleau.com and Blog.ReneeRouleau.com, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.


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  1. I am 29 years of age and came off birth control 6/7months ago after being on it 10years. Everything was fine then about a month ago I have been constantly getting pimples boil like cystic acne on my chin and all in different places on my face. I have had spots off and on in my twenties but at the moment every time ones gone another comes somewhere else on my face. I have even had some on my neck and on my back. I stick to a cleansing routine and running out of solutions.

    Posted By: Leanne  | 

  2. I have the worst chin acne. All the pimples are under my skin.. it’s the only place I have acne. It’s super depressing, and I’m 27

    Posted By: Felicia maye  | 

  3. Hey,i read all your suggestions and felt it could help me better.since 2-3years I am having acne problems.i have been to different doctors,tried so many remedies.but still all in vain.because of that acne I have scars on my face ..and they keep coming back.inspite of avoiding spicy food.pls suggest me better

    Posted By: Khushbu  | 

  4. I constantly deal with chin acne. That’s it. Just on either side of my chin at mouth end area not in middle of chin. Just both sides. I don’t drink milk and don’t know what else the issue could be. Any other things to try? Any other ideas to help me please!

    Posted By: Gillian  | 

  5. The moment you said to keep your hands off your chin. I was doing exactly that while reading. LOL

    Posted By: Ma Theresa Halog  | 

  6. I have been eating healthy for the last two months, but I did not see any better result. I also did not wear makeup and my chin still breaks out. I am so depressed and dont know what to do.

    Posted By: Uyen Dinh  | 

  7. I have been to different doctors & have been prescribed every topical ointment and oral medication possible. I have tried everything from cleaning up my diet and eliminating caffeine and dairy. This has affected my self esteem a whole lot over the years, and I just feel as though I’m losing this battle with my skin. Please help me..

    Posted By: Irene  | 

    • Hello Irene, I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling so much with your skin. For starters, reading through all my blog posts related to acne and blemishes would be very informative for you in your quest for clearer skin. Secondly, we do offer virtual consultations if you’d like to get expert advice. Read more about that here.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  8. I’d like to offer my personal experience with jawline cystic acne. I struggled horribly and did everything right. Food allergies were my trigger. I eat raw apples, 2-3 days later, cystic acne flare up. Same with citrus. Suggest keeping a food and beverage diary to track what might be making your cystic acne happen. I don’t have a problem anymore except when I eat those items. It lessens the cystic flare if I take Benadryl after eating my trigger foods.

    Posted By: Nicole  | 

  9. Please help.
    In 2012 I went on birth control to help suppress the acne I had been cursed with since the age of 12, mind you I have also been on a round of accutane. I had it all over my back & chest but rarely on my face.
    October 2013 while still on BC my jaw line started to break out so badly I thought it was because I was going through a sugar detox and my body was just reacting to no refined sugars. Around April my skin began to clear up and scarring disappeared. Only to my surprise the following October my skin yet again starting breaking out even worse!! Went through the same cycle, and around April it started to clear. In summer my skin is perfect. Not a zit or cyst in sight! This August I decided to give my body a rest with all the fake hormones so I took my last pill in August and my skin was fine until October again… This time it is back and worse than ever and I have a beard of ugly cysts and so much hyper pigmentation! I have had blood work done and been on every anti biotic possible I have no idea what is wrong with my skin. I’m embarrassed to go out in public. 🙁 do you have any tips at all

    Posted By: Anjali  | 

    • It sounds like you simply have hormonal imbalances that are triggering cystic acne, and hormones are really hard to regulate. I would definitely recommend purchasing our Anti Cyst Treatment to use all over areas that are prone to cysts. You would also benefit from using our BHA Clarifying Serum topically on the skin. Take our Skin Type Quiz here and try a new skin care routine to see if that helps. Acne is no fun and not easy to find an instant cure, I’m so sorry for your struggles! Also, be sure to read all of my acne and blemish posts here.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  10. This was one if the most helpful, honest and simple reads on acne I’ve come across. I have been battling acne my entire life and I can’t wait to try these tips. Especially the dairy elimination. I had never thought of that and cheese is on of my best friends! Thank you!!

    Posted By: Kelly  | 

    • So glad you found it helpful! Good luck!!

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

    • Hi I really recommend cutting out milk,I did it 3 months ago and my skin has never been better. I’m starting to think that all along my problem has been a diary intolerance,I have suffered with spots all my adult life along my chin and jawline. I’m glad to have hopefully found a cure now though:)

      Posted By: Laura  | 

    • I AGREE!! I knew my pimples being on the chin was caused by digestive issues (from other articles i have read) but didn’t know what would be the cause of it!

      Thank you for this article! x

      Posted By: B  | 

    • Well, I’m vegan for a long while so I don’t get dairy whatsoever, I generally eat food with no oil, not fried, nothing fat… I drink tons of water etc. Still, I get ugly breakouts around my mouth and jaw. I don’t take any birth control pills, my skin is generally dry… I believe cutting dairy might be helpful but if is hormonal acne, then it probably won’t be sufficient. I’m so upset with my acne, have not discovered a cure yet =(

      Posted By: Yasmim  | 


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