Pimples happen when your pores are clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Dead skin cells are supposed to rise to the surface of your pores and flake off. When you produce too much oil, dead skin cells can get stuck together. These little globs of oil and skin form into a plug that blocks your pores.
Sometimes, bacteria that lives naturally on your skin get trapped behind these plugs. As the bacteria grow inside your pore, they cause the redness and inflammation that’s typical in pimples. Depending on the amount of inflammation and bacteria, your pimple may develop a whitehead or become cystic.
Pimples on the chin are very common. If you’ve heard about face mapping, then you may know that pimples on certain areas of your face may have different causes. Research suggests that acne on your chin and jawline is often related to hormones, particularly in women.
Hormones called androgens stimulate the production of sebum, which is the oil responsible for clogging pores. Acne is very common among teenagers because hormone production increases during this time. But hormone levels fluctuate throughout adulthood.
Chin or jawline acne may fluctuate with your monthly periods. Some women produce more androgens than others. Increased androgen production can be the result of a condition like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Sometimes what looks like acne is actually something else. If you have many small pimples on your chin and face, it could be rosacea. Rosacea is common and causes redness and visible blood vessels. People often experience breakouts of pus-filled bumps that look like pimples.
Another cause of chin pimples is ingrown hairs. While they’re more common among men who shave, ingrown hairs can happen to anyone. An ingrown hair happens when a strand of hair grows back into your skin, causing redness and inflammation. An ingrown hair may develop a pimplelike pustule and become tender or itchy.
There are many acne treatment options to choose from. Not all treatments work for everyone but most pimples can be eliminated with a little work. Mild cases of small pimples or pustules can typically be treated with over-the-counter acne creams.
Products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid usually help dry up pimples within a few days or weeks.
Spot Treat That Pimple
- Wash. Start by washing your face or at least your jawline with a gentle cleanser.
- Ice. To bring down redness or treat pain, apply ice wrapped in a clean cloth around the affected area for no more than five minutes at a time using very little pressure.
- Apply an acne ointment. Many people find over-the-counter products containing 10 percent benzoyl peroxide work well.
- Don’t pick at it. The less you touch your face the sooner your skin will heal.
More stubborn cases of acne require help from a dermatologist. Depending on the type and severity of your acne, your dermatologist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Topical treatments. Topical gels, creams, and ointments help to kill bacteria on your skin, reduce oil, and unclog pores. Prescription treatments may contain retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, or antibiotics.
- Antibiotics. Your dermatologist may prescribe a course of oral antibiotics to help reduce the bacteria on your skin.
- Birth control. Your doctor may prescribe hormonal birth control pills to help regulate acne-causing hormones.
- Isotretinoin (Accutane). You may receive this medication for severe acne that hasn’t responded to other treatments.
- Laser therapy. Laser and light therapies can help reduce the number of acne-causing bacteria on your skin.
- Chemical peels. A chemical peel performed in your dermatologist’s office can reduce the appearance of pimples and blackheads.
- Extraction. A large acne cyst or nodule can be drained and surgically extracted by your dermatologist.
Treating acne successfully also means knowing what to avoid. There are many practices that might feel right but could actually make your acne worse. Here are a few tips:
- Wash your face only twice per day. Cleansing too often can irritate acne.
- Avoid harsh cleansers, loofahs, and scrubs. Too much scrubbing can make acne worse.
- Never pop your pimples. This can cause more inflammation and lead to scarring.
- Don’t dry out your skin. Oil can be a problem, but so can dryness. Avoid alcohol-based astringents and remember to moisturize.
- Never sleep in your makeup. Always wash your face before going to sleep.
- Don’t try a new treatment every week. Give acne medication or new skin care routines a few weeks to work.
Rosacea and ingrown hairs can also benefit from these skin care tips. Rosacea treatment primarily focuses on reducing redness through topical treatments and sometimes requires medication. See your doctor to talk through the right routine for you.
You can reduce your risk of breakouts by performing some basic preventive care.
- Wash your face twice per day, especially after sweating.
- Shampoo your hair regularly or keep it away from your jawline.
- Use skin care products that won’t clog your pores.
- Avoid stress, which can mess with your hormones.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Wear an oil-free sunscreen daily.
- Clean your sheets and pillowcases often.
- Keep your hands away from your chin and jawline.
- Use gentle hair removal techniques.
Chin pimples are a very common problem with many treatment options available. Make an appointment with your dermatologist to find out what acne treatments may work best for you.
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