Although acne strikes people in their youth, more adults who have never had acne are getting eruptions later in life. In adults, acne is concentrated more on the lower part of a face. Women especially develop chin acne that is linked often to an imbalance in their hormones during menstruation, pregnancy, discontinuing birth control pills, menopause or other hormonal abnormalities.
The t-zone is an area where people with dry skin can have mild or moderate acne outbreaks. This area comprises the forehead, nose, mouth area and chin. The pores are large and the skin is dry and taut. Chin acne is embarrassing for there is no way to hide it with creative hairstyles like bangs that can cover forehead acne.
What causes chin acne?
Anything that irritates the chin can cause an acne outbreak. However gentle we are with our skin, we cannot prevent complete irritation. For example, if we are tired after working hard, we may sit with our elbows resting on our desk with our chin cupped in our hands. Even if your hands seem clean, they can carry bacteria and sweat. So, touching the face is one cause of chin acne.
Another cause for chin acne is tight chin straps of helmets, hard hats or other hats worn during hot and humid weather for long periods. This does not mean that we cannot use this equipment but rather ensure we cleanse our chin along with the rest of our face after use and try not to use for long periods. This type of acne is called acne mechanica and other causes can be resting your chin on musical instruments (violin), resting your phone under your chin while talking etc.
Greasy chin-length hair is another cause of chin acne. Hair follicles rub against the chin and transfer hair oil or other hair styling products on to the chin. This irritates the chin, clogs pores and causes acne outbreaks.
Your makeup can be the cause of chin acne. Some types clog pores and cause outbreaks. Hence, choose the right makeup that does not cause acne. As already mentioned, women are more likely do develop chin acne when older, due to hormonal imbalance that can cause the sebaceous glands to produce excess oil.
Treatment for chin acne
Chin acne is usually a mild to moderate outbreak and can be treated before it worsens. For mild acne, topical medications containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide work well. Salicylic acid breaks down keratin, a protein, which forms a great portion of skin cells. It attacks the keratin found in clogged follicles and clears acne. Benzoyl peroxide contains anti-microbial properties that penetrate clogged pores and kills bacteria causing acne.
For women with hormonal imbalances, the doctor could recommend birth control pills.
For severe forms, prescription medications like oral antibiotics – tetracycline, clindamycin, minocycline and erythromycin – work very well. They kill the P.acnes bacteria and reduce inflammation. If you develop resistance to one antibiotic, your doctor will switch over to another.
Sometimes a topical retinoid like tretinoin or adapalne can be give along with oral medications. This helps unclog pores and kill bacteria. In very rare cases if chin acne is severe, oral retinoids like isotretinoin will be prescribed although this has severe side effects for childbearing women who need to follow special precautions.
If the cause of chin acne is your short, greasy hair, then wash your hair frequently with a mild shampoo, keep hair off the face, and chin with a pony tail.
If acne mechanica is the cause of your outbreak, then keep all instruments and implements clean and wash chin straps frequently.
If your makeup (acne cosmetica) causes outbreaks, then switch over to non-comedogenic and oil-free makeup. You can even choose natural products like mineral makeup that does not irritate the face.
Make sure you wash your face with a gentle cleanser at least twice daily. Remove all makeup carefully at night. Do not prick or pinch your acne outbreaks to avoid aggravating them. Although chin acne is not life-threatening, it is best to get immediate treatment before it develops into deeper cysts that will cause permanent scars and damage your self-esteem.