Acne between your eyebrows may have several causes, including clogged pores, oily skin, and using cosmetics. Treatment may include over-the-counter remedies, medications, and lifestyle changes.
Acne can happen anywhere on your face or body. But because there are a lot of oil glands in your face and forehead, pimples can be common between your eyebrows.
Breakouts between your eyebrows may be annoying, but once you understand what’s causing your acne, you can find the right treatment.
There are several different types of acne, and it’s possible to get any or all of them between your eyebrows.
Pustules are pus-filled, blister-like lesions. They’re often white or yellow on top and red at the base, and can be painful. When you think of a pimple, you’re likely thinking of a pustule.
Papules are small, solid, round bumps on your skin. They’re usually tender. After a few days, most papules will start to fill with pus and become pustules.
Whiteheads are small white bumps on your skin. They occur when a clogged pore is closed on the surface. Some whiteheads are the tops of pimples underneath your skin.
Blackheads are clogged pores that become open to air. When exposed to air, the bacteria and oil in the pore turn brown, and you see a small, dark bump on your skin.
There are many reasons that you might break out between your eyebrows. Some are specific to this area, while others can cause breakouts anywhere on your face or body. Common reasons for breakouts between your eyebrows include:
Pores can become clogged with various substances, including:
- oil from your face, hair, or hands
- dead skin cells
Although sweat glands are also pores in your skin, hair follicles are the main pores involved with acne.
Oily skin is one of the most common causes of pimples. The excess oil on your skin can clog hair follicles, which causes pimples when the blocked follicle becomes inflamed or infected. Because your face and forehead have a lot of oil glands, it’s common for people with oily skin to get acne around and between their eyebrows.
Tweezing may lead to ingrown hairs more often than other hair removal methods, because it’s more likely to cause a hair to break off and be left under the skin. As the hair starts to grow back, it may become ingrown.
Some cosmetics can clog your pores and lead to pimples. Dirty makeup brushes can lead to pimples as well, since they can hold bacteria. Cosmetics like brow gel can specifically lead to acne between your eyebrows.
Like other forms of hair removal, eyebrow waxing can cause ingrown hairs, which can lead to pimples. In addition, pulling out hairs with waxing can leave openings in your hair follicles that bacteria can get into.
There’s some evidence that certain foods can lead to acne, but the research is unclear. While there’s not enough evidence to recommend specific diet changes, there is some evidence that foods high in carbohydrates and dairy can make acne worse.
There’s no evidence that chocolate or greasy foods can cause acne.
Frequently touching your face
When you touch your face, the natural oils on your hands transfer to your face. This can clog pores. In addition, your hands have bacteria on them, no matter how often you wash them. Touching your face can bring this bacteria to clogged pores and cause pimples.
Hormonal changes can lead to acne, especially in people born female. Hormonal acne is most common:
In traditional Chinese medicine, the area around your eyes is connected to the liver. Issues around your eyes, like acne between your eyebrows, can therefore indicate an issue with your liver. Because your liver is involved in detoxification of your body, acne between your eyebrows can suggest you should make changes to your diet, according to this system.
However, there is no scientific evidence that acne between your eyebrows is associated with your liver.
Many breakouts can be treated with at-home and over-the-counter remedies, including lifestyle changes. But if your breakouts are severe or don’t respond to OTC treatments, speak with a doctor about medical treatment. Apply topical treatments carefully, and avoid getting them close to your eyes.
- retinoids are a skin treatment made from vitamin A
- salicylic acid can break down blackheads and whiteheads
- benzoyl peroxide can kill acne-causing bacteria and remove excess oil on your skin
- Don’t pick at, or even touch, acne. Give it time to heal.
- Lower your stress. While stress doesn’t cause acne, it can make breakouts worse.
- Eat fewer carbs, since they can make skin oilier.
Some people are naturally prone to acne. But there are steps you can take to help prevent acne between your eyebrows.
- Wash your face regularly, especially if you wear hats or get sweaty during the day.
- Avoid touching your face.
- If you have oily hair, shampoo it regularly. You may also consider switching shampoos if you’re breaking out between your eyebrows.
- Use only non-comedogenic products for makeup and skin care.
- If you have bangs, consider changing your hairstyle.
- Avoid products that irritate your skin, including any type of strong scrub or exfoliant.
- Wash your face with warm water before tweezing or waxing your eyebrows. This will help prevent ingrown hairs.
- If you wear anything near your browline, such as hats, headbands, or sports equipment, keep it clean so you don’t transfer bacteria to your face.
- If you wear makeup, including brow gel, remove it thoroughly at the end of the day.
Acne is the most common skin condition, but it’s not the only reason you may see bumps between your eyebrows. Those bumps may actually be:
Epidermoid cysts commonly occur on the face. They’re small, round bumps under the skin that often look like blackheads. Eventually, they may get red and inflamed like a pimple, and may leak a thick yellow substance.
Sebaceous cysts are less common, but may also be mistaken for pimples. They often happen after a hair follicle ruptures due to acne or another skin injury.
Both types of cysts can be left alone unless they are uncomfortable or causing cosmetic issues you want resolved. If a cyst is bothering you, it can be drained by a doctor. A sebaceous cyst may become infected, in which case it would need treatment.
Dermatofibroma is a common type of noncancerous skin lesion. A dermatofibroma is firm and usually white in the middle with an outer ring that can range from pink to reddish brown. They’re usually not painful. While some may appear after trauma to the area, there might not be a known reason for a dermatofibroma.
Dermatofibromas are harmless to your health but you can have it removed for cosmetic reasons. However, the process may leave behind a worse scar, and there is a possibility that it can recur over time if not properly removed.
Basal cell skin cancer
Basal cell skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer. It’s usually related to sun exposure.
A basal cell tumor may look like an open sore, a red patch, or a shiny pink bump. It may itch or bleed.
While basal cell skin cancer grows slowly and rarely spreads, it does need to be removed by a healthcare professional specializing in dermatology.
Acne between your eyebrows is common, because of the number of oil glands in that area. But it is both preventable and treatable. If you find yourself with acne between your eyebrows, keep your hair and face clean and avoid irritating your skin with face or hair products