The Regimen

Are Chin Pimples a Sign of Hormonal Acne?

Cropped shot of a beautiful young woman against a gray touching her lucious lips


There are some breakouts so predictable that you feel like you pretty much have a standing date. They show up at regular intervals and in pretty much the same place: your chin and jawline. What’s behind this clockwork breakout pattern? And what can you do about it? Keep your chin up. We have answers to all your chin acne questions.


Is it hormonal or just regular acne?

Breakouts that are localized to the chin and jawline are related to hormones. And, though any hormonal activity can be triggering breakouts, if it’s happening at regular intervals (like every month before you get your period), that’s a sure sign it’s hormonal.


Why does hormonal acne concentrate on the chin and jawline?

The chin and jawline have more hair follicles than the rest of your face (think beards). Follicles are the pathways for sebum. Whether related to puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause, or stress, hormones cause an increase in oil production. That means more oil on the chin and jawline. The excess oil mixes with dead skin cells clogging pores and leading to breakouts.


Why are chin pimples often so painful?

The hormonal stimulation of oil glands induces inflammation, which creates oxidative stress in the follicle. Oxidized or damaged sebum boosts the proliferation of keratinocytes, dead skin cells. This keratolytic over-abundance leads to an impaction that allows acne bacteria to thrive and produce still more inflammation. It’s the perfect storm that results in the raised, tender red bumps of cystic acne or painful subdermal nodules.


The recurrent nature of hormonal acne can mean the follicles become damaged, and the intensity of the breakout may worsen with each subsequent event.


What’s the best treatment for hormonal acne?

Calming and clearing hormonal acne lesions requires a balance of anti-inflammatory ingredients and chemical exfoliants like acids and vitamin A to accelerate cell turnover and speed healing.


Cleanse with a gentle antibacterial cleanser to kill acne bacteria and flush pores. Benzoyl peroxide or mandelic acid are both excellent choices. Teen hormonal acne responds well to benzoyl peroxide. We recommend switching to mandelic acid for adult hormonal acne, which is a more gentle acid that promotes cell regeneration, making it good for skin that may be thinning a bit from age. Mandelic acid has the advantage of being a melanin-inhibitor, so it can help with age spots as well. Try Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Wash or Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Exfoliating Cleanser.


Rub ice over the acne cysts and surrounding area for two to three minutes to constrict blood vessels and reduce the swelling. It will also help the skin better absorb treatments like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and vitamin A. You can repeat the icing step throughout the day.


Follow with a toner that includes salicylic acid to help clear pores and reduce inflammation. Vivant’s Normalizing Tonic or Normalizing Tonic Forté are both excellent choices. For sensitive skin, a mandelic acid toner will minimize irritation. Start with the 3% Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Toner and move up to 9% Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Toner when your skin has acclimated.


A Vitamin A serum will accelerate cell turnover and renewal to peel away impactions and strengthen skin structure, bringing a smoother, clearer complexion. If you have not used vitamin A therapy before, you’ll need to acclimate your skin, starting with level one, Derm-A-Gel, and working your way up. For more sensitive skin, opt for a mandelic acid serum.


Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Gel Medication, our most potent acne-fighter, is an excellent booster to reach into the pore, peel impactions, and speed healing. It should be applied all over the face, not as a spot treatment. Spot treating leaves bacteria in surrounding areas to spark new flare-ups. 



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