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There are a few possible causes for a pimple on your eyebrow, but the most common is acne. Acne happens when hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
Acne affects about 80 percent of people under the age of 30 at some point. Fortunately, pimples on your eyebrow are easy to treat. It’s also possible to prevent acne breakouts before they happen.
The hair follicles in and around your eyebrows can easily become clogged. Inside each hair follicle there’s an oil gland that produces a substance called sebum. Sebum traps dead skin cells and plugs up the follicle, often trapping bacteria underneath. This can lead to several different types of pimples, including:
- Whiteheads. These are closed pimples under your skin’s surface.
- Blackheads. These open pimples look black from melanin (not dirt).
- Papules. These bumps are usually red or pink and feel tender.
- Pustules. Pimples that have a pocket of pus on top are called pustules.
- Nodules. These large, painful pimples penetrate deep into the skin.
- Cysts. Large, painful cysts are filled with pus.
All types of acne are treatable but some are resistant to home treatments and require the help of a dermatologist.
Irritated hair follicles and pores around your eyebrow area might be caused by hair or face products you’re using. If your hair can brush across your brow line, styling product on your hair can transfer into your pores.
Consider washing or replacing the applicator you’re using for foundation, powders, or brow and eye makeup. Since makeup is applied directly to your skin and often stored in places that get warm or humid, bacteria may develop in the container. If any of your makeup over a year old, you may want to replace it.
It’s possible to develop an ingrown hair, especially if you regularly shave, pluck, thread, or wax your eyebrows. Ingrown hairs happen when hair curls and remains under your skin. This can cause inflammation.
Symptoms of ingrown hairs include:
- small red or pink bumps
- small bumps with pus on top
- a darkening of your skin
- pain or tenderness
- visible hair stuck under your skin
Ingrown hairs can happen anywhere, but they’re most common in places where coarse, curled hair grows.
Hair removal strategies increase your risk of developing an ingrown hair. Shaving leaves hair with a sharp edge, which allows it to pierce the skin more easily. Although it’s better than shaving, tweezing often leaves a fragment of the hair behind.
Fortunately, both acne and ingrown hairs are treatable. In fact, most ingrown hairs and pimples go away on their own. If you’re struggling with mild to severe facial acne, however, you may require more advanced treatment.
For a single pimple, you can start with a spot treatment containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These over-the-counter acne creams are available at your local drugstore. These products reduce bacteria and remove dead skin cells in your pimple.
If you have more than a handful of pimples, it may be time to consult a dermatologist. It’s always best to treat acne early to prevent permanent scarring or discoloration. A dermatologist can give you prescription medications that will help:
- reduce bacteria on your skin
- reduce oil production
- unclog pores
- regulate your hormones
There are also certain treatments that only a doctor should perform, such as pimple extractions. It can be very tempting to pop a pimple but doing so can lead to worse acne and permanent scars. Other things to avoid include:
- washing your face more than twice per day
- using harsh cleansers or scrubs
- intentionally drying out your skin
- sleeping in your makeup
- trying new acne treatments or skin care routines every week
Prevention is the key to successful pimple treatment. There are several steps you can take to prevent pimples from returning. Try these preventive measures:
- Wash your face twice per day and after sweating to reduce oiliness and remove dead skin cells. If you’re prone to sweating, consider carrying face wipes.
- Wash your hair regularly or keep it away from your face.
- Avoid wearing headbands on your forehead or wash them daily.
- Keep any sports equipment (helmets, goggles) clean with antibacterial wipes.
- Avoid stress.
- Use skin care products that won’t clog pores.
- Use an oil-free sunscreen.
To prevent ingrown hairs:
- Avoid shaving, tweezing, and waxing if possible.
- Wash your face before shaving or tweezing your eyebrows.
- Use a moisturizing cream before shaving or tweezing to help soften the hair follicle.
- Clean your razor or tweezers every time you use them.
- Wash your face after shaving or tweezing your brows.
- Use a gentler method of hair removal, such as electric clipper, hair removal cream, or electrolysis.
Eyebrow pimples are common. Your eyebrows are located in an area where there are many hair follicles and oil glands. Reducing oil and bacteria on your skin can prevent clogged pores and pimples. If over-the-counter pimple remedies aren’t working for you, make an appointment with your dermatologist.