Why you get acne on your jawline and how to get rid of it
According to skincare expert, Renee Rouleau, the chin and jawline area is the most common place to get acne—especially in women over the age of 20. As your hormones fluctuate and skincare habits slip, bacteria grows and breakouts happen. The worst part is that they can be extremely hard to get rid of.
“Since chin and jawline breakouts tend to be cystic (bigger blemishes deep under the skin), spot treatments will simply dry out the surface but still leave you with a bump underneath. Also, since they are large and severe, they can last for 1-2 weeks and leave behind red, dark scars, which linger even longer”, says Rouleau.
Face framed by spots? Read on to find out what causes jawline acne and how to clear up your complexion for good.
Jawline acne causes
You may notice that the bumps along your jawline tend to be solid and not have a whitehead like other pimples on your face. According to Ayurveda, the bottom portion of the face is governed by the Kapha dosha, an energy that is represented by the elements of earth and water. When Kapha builds to excess — due to things like stress, consuming certain foods and not hydrating your body well enough — weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies manifest in the body. These factors can then lead to deep, tender, inflammatory lesions concentrated along the lower half of the face, jawline, chin and neck.
Jawline breakouts usually happen around the time of your period. “Just before the start of a woman’s cycle, there is more progesterone in the skin causing water retention resulting in the skin appearing more puffy. When this occurs, it puts pressure on the pores and creates a narrower pore lining. Additionally, oil can get thicker because of the imbalance of hormones and increase of testosterone during the pre-period hormonal shift”, explains Rouleau.
Certain habits can also aggravate jawline acne too, like resting on your hand which transfers dirt and germs from your hand to your face. The warmth of your hands doesn’t help to keep pimples at bay either. Instead, it provides the ideal environment for bacterial growth. The same goes for mechanical stress on the skin. If you wear a helmet with straps that are too tight, or poorly fitted dental appliances, you can aggravate your skin, leading to cystic acne.
How to get rid of jawline acne
Change your diet
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so consider your diet, habits and skincare routine.
Experiment with eliminating certain inflammatory foods from your diet, like dairy. “When you get too much dairy for your body to digest, it can come out in the form of cystic acne (hard, painful bumps under the skin) on the chin and jawline area. Try eliminating dairy (yogurt, milk and all cheeses) for two weeks to see if any new breakouts appear”, suggest Roulea.
While you’re at it ensure you are eating the best foods for good skin:
Leafy greens: watercress, spinach, broccoli and kale. These foods are rich in chlorophyll. This helps cleanse bacteria and toxins from the digestive tract and blood stream.
Foods rich in zinc: shellfish, chicken, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, nuts, and pulses. Zinc is known to reduce acne causing bacteria, reduces inflammatory response to bacteria, reduces keratinocyte activation (cells that produce keratin, a tough protein that binds skin cells together) and is a powerful antioxidant, protecting your skin from environmental aggressors like pollution.
Foods rich in Beta carotene: yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apricots, butternut squash and mango. Beta carotene is one of two forms of vitamin A found in your diet and when needed, your body converts it to retinol, which helps keep collagen levels in skin cells balanced, promoting healthy cell growth.
Probiotics: yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi, kefir. According to a 2011 study, intestinal microflora may affect inflammation throughout the body, which in turn, can affect acne breakouts. Since pre and probiotics can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, scientists believe they may help reduce acne breakouts.
Mind your skincare routine
If you’re a cyclist and wear a helmet with straps that fit over your jaw, take off your head gear from time to time and make sure you shower as soon as possible after using headgear to help minimize acne.
Also, keep in mind that it’s easy to overlook your jawline when washing your face, so pay it special attention. Wear something that leaves your shoulders bare when you wash your face, so you’re not concerned about getting your top wet. You’d be surprised at how often you neglect your jawline and neck for this very reason.
Use a cleanser containing salicylic acid, which will help to break down the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, and instead of washing your face first, start with your neck. You’re less likely to forget washing your face, so start with the area that’s often neglected. With circular motions, move up your neck, along your jawline and finish with your face.
We know you’ve heard it before: don’t pop your spot. In all likelihood, you’ve gone against this and succumbed to the temptation of busting a few zits. However, whiteheads are completely different to the cystic spots you get on your jawline.
A whitehead will have pus in the centre that can normally be drawn out with a warm compress, however a cyst won’t have a ‘head’ and manifests into a painful red bump. These should NEVER be popped — well, attempted to be popped, because you actually can’t pop them. And if you try it can become infected, which can spread the infection. And even if you do manage to get the pus out from inside, if the sac is left underneath the skin, it can grow back.
Unfortunately, because it’s under the skin, regular spot busting creams won’t work. Gently exfoliate the area with a salicylic wash to get rid of dead skin cells, then eliminate bacteria trapped within the follicle with with Benzoyl Peroxide. It won’t get rid of them immediately, but it will get rid of them safely.