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What's the Deal with Chin Acne?

By Adam Trainor March 13, 2020

If I ranked the most annoying places on my face to get a pimple, my chin has to be one of the worst. Don't you agree?

I hate chin acne—even though it's not as visible as let's say, on my forehead, I feel like chin acne tends to be way harder to get rid of.

As a guy, they're extra annoying because I end up having to shave over them—shaving around them is not possible—and the whole situation becomes remarkably painful, really quickly.

Not ideal!

So I started wondering, where do chin pimples even come from and is there any way to stop them?

Instead of love on the brain, I've got acne on the chin and I'm pretty over it.

What Causes Chin Pimples?

If you’ve ever wondered, “Why is my chin breaking out?”, you’re not alone.

Like all acne, most chin pimples tend to start the same way—with a clogged pore that gets more inflamed over time, finally becoming a pus-filled zit that some of us may or may not enjoy popping.

 

via GIPHY

 

Just so you know, while it's incredibly satisfying to watch Dr. Pimple Popper videos, it's not recommended to pop them at home—but I'll get to more on that later. 

1. Wayward Hormone Levels

While I’m not normally one to believe in face mapping, I think there’s one thing that they get right about a breakout on chin area—that in some cases, it’s hormonal.

Face mapping is the idea that if you’re breaking out in specific parts of your face, it reflects an internal issue that’s causing the breakouts there. I’m not sold on this idea for the whole face—how does late-night eating somehow correlate to breakouts only between your brows?

Ahem—not that I'm condoning late-night snacking, but that connection seems pretty weak to me. 

However, hormones do present a strong link for being one of the major chin acne causes. While I’ve heard a lot of anecdotes about hormones and chin pimples—especially from women—there’s more to it than just anecdotes. A study about hormonal acne states that "It is well recognized that hormonal acne concentrates in the lower third of the face along the chin and jaw lines."

Boom—the science backs the woo, for once. 

Hormonal acne is usually caused by male sex hormones, like testosterone. Did you know that men and women produce both male and female sex hormones? A hormonal imbalance—usually an excess of testosterone—is the culprit for pimples on chin for most people, but especially women.

However, too many androgens would affect anyone, regardless of gender and cause hormone-related acne.

In this case, acne on chin can either look like the typical poppable pustules we associate with acne, or sometimes it manifests as something that’s not as visible. You might already know what I’m thinking of—and it’s cysts.

I’ve never personally had to deal with one of these, and I count myself lucky that I don’t! Your breakout on chin might be cystic if:

- The pimple seems deep under the skin, with no head

- It feels itchy and warm 

- It seems very swollen

In this case, topical treatments might not be as effective and it’s worth going straight to your dermatologist for expert advice.

2. Facial Hair

This one goes two ways—first, we’ll discuss how facial hair could be one of the reasons for acne on chin for guys.

Then, we’ll look at how facial hair could be causing chin pimples in women—and no, I’m not talking about their facial hair. I’m talking about ours, fellas! 

We've all experimented with our facial hair from time to time, right guys? If you've tried to go for the lumberjack look or participated in No Shave November, most of us have given a full beard a try. Depending on who you ask, it's not a bad look—but what's it doing to our skin?

So clearly, depending on how long and thick your beard hair is, your skin is going to be affected.

How?

Well, it's no secret that beard hair tends to 'collect' stuff, from very visible crumbs from lunch to potentially the very invisible acne-causing bacteria.

That's not even mentioning the sebum that your skin naturally produces, either—it can get trapped to skin under beard hair and cause acne this way. If this isn't dealt with accordingly, you're looking at the perfect recipe for acne only on chin, under all that hair. 

The solution?

Don't skip the beard when you're washing your face. It's too easy to just wash the rest of your face without a second thought to the beard/chin area, but this needs to stop if you want to get rid of your chin pimples. Using whatever you normally use to wash your face, take the time to massage your beard area, trying to get to the skin underneath. After washing, rinse and pat dry. If you're dedicated, you could blow dry your beard—although in most cases, that won't be necessary unless you look like you belong in ZZ Top.

Facial hair experts even recommend using a scrub a few times a week to help skin shed acne-causing dead skin cells that are hanging out underneath facial hair.

And, if it's long enough, a beard brush or beard comb is recommended as part of every man's grooming ritual.

Why?

They can help to dislodge any loose hairs, sebum buildup, and general grime that could be contributing to your chin acne. 

Guys, in case you’re not aware, it’s not just your chin acne that your beard could be contributing to. Do you know how many articles there are out there for women about what to do if their partner’s beard is causing their zits on chin?

Anything that is lingering on your beard gets transferred (pretty roughly, in some cases) to your partner’s face when you lean in for a kiss—and that includes acne-causing bacteria. Now you’re both wondering, “Why do I have acne on my chin?”

Luckily, for the most part, preventing acne from popping up on your beloved’s chin is pretty much the same as stopping it from popping it up on yours. Keep your beard clean and well-groomed, and she should be much happier for it. Or else, you could go for the all-nuclear option; just shave it off! 

However, shaving is a tricky beast on its own as well. It could be causing ingrown hairs, which you might be mistaking for chin acne. 

Are You Sure It’s Chin Acne?

Ingrown Hairs vs. Chin Pimples

Again, this issue is far more relevant for men than women—but ingrown hairs can easily be mistaken for chin pimples, depending on where they crop up. A hair becomes ingrown when instead of growing upwards, out of the skin, it does a u-turn and grows into the skin instead.

ingrown hair

Image source: orlandodermatologycenter.com

An area that's frequently shaved is more prone to this since shaving gives hair a sharp edge that easily pokes back into the skin. As a result, it causes inflammation that can look a lot like a pimple to the untrained eye!

So if you have that one chin pimple that doesn't seem to go away, it could be an ingrown hair instead. 

Part of the process for getting rid of ingrown hair is pretty similar to getting rid of chin pimples. The best way to do it is with regular exfoliation—making sure those dead skin cells are sloughed off means they won't get in the way of growing hairs or clog pores.

Rosacea vs. Chin Acne

Another common skin concern that often gets confused for chin zits is rosacea. Rosacea usually manifests as persistent flushing and redness of the skin, but can also sometimes cause pus-filled bumps that look a lot like pimples but aren't. This type of rosacea is called Papulopustular Rosacea. In this case, these bumps aren't caused by clogged pores like true acne. These papules are the skin's reaction to a rosacea trigger.

Rosacea requires very different treatment from acne, as many acne treatments are more likely to cause rosacea flare-ups than treat it. If you're starting to think that your chin breakout is rosacea, it's a good idea to make an appointment with a dermatologist!

If you're sure that your zits aren't ingrown hairs or rosacea, then you can proceed with these strategies for getting rid of chin acne. 

How to Get Rid of Chin Acne

Every skincare expert will agree that it’s important to start with the basics. That means washing your face, day and night and following up with a moisturizer. (They also call for using a daily sunscreen, but maybe that's a discussion for another time!)

In some cases, adopting a simple routine of washing one’s face morning and night is enough to get rid of chin acne—those lucky ducks. Like with any other acne, chin breakouts are no match for most acne treatments on the market. You just have to know what to look for!

1. Use Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid is a beta-hydroxy acid, aka the type of acid that helps to unclog pores and smooth out skin. There are face washes targeted for acne-prone skin formulated with this ingredient. Alternated a few times a week with your regular cleanser, it’s a great way to get the benefits of salicylic acid with really little effort. 

Other products with salicylic acid are exfoliating toners and spot treatments. Using liquid exfoliants and spot treatments is a better way to target acne around chin area, because all you have to do is apply it to that area if you don’t want to put it on your whole face. This approach is the best if your acne is only on chin. Your chin will be clear in no time, plus any pesky ingrown hairs will be gone too.

2. Use Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide is a powerhouse when it comes to treating acne. It’s antimicrobial, so it clears up pimples on the chin by killing the bacteria responsible. Like salicylic acid, you can get it in medicated face washes for acne-prone skin. I think I know what you’re thinking already—you’ll get both and your acne around chin will be gone, tout de suite! 

Nope—you don’t want to overdo it with your skin, leaving it red and irritated. The other mistake people make with benzoyl peroxide is using too high of a percentage. At the drugstore, it comes in 2.5%, 5%, and 10%. 2.5% is strong enough to get rid of zits on chin. Dab a tiny amount on each pimple each night and they’ll be gone in no time. One warning though; benzoyl peroxide is a notorious bleacher, so wash your hands thoroughly after putting it on and wait until it’s dry on your face before going to bed (it’ll ruin your pillowcase otherwise).

If you’ve already tried all of the above and you’re still breaking out around chin, it might be time to make an appointment with your dermatologist. They’ll be able to evaluate your situation and prescribe the appropriate treatment, whether that’s topical retinoids or hormone-balancing medication.

3. Consider Hydrogen Therapy

Here at Vital Reaction we’re well known for our industry-leading Molecular Hydrogen products. From reducing acne breakouts to preventing wrinkles, molecular hydrogen has fascinating therapeutic potential for skin treatments. 

Of course more research needs to be done, but molecular hydrogen is so safe and easy to use that if it even has just a fraction of the therapeutic potential suggested by the research, it will be a no-brainer to add to any daily skin regimen.

We guarantee that you will see improvements in your skin health and complexion in 30 days, or we will refund your purchase. Try it today risk free – your skin will thank you!


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