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What causes acne on chin and jawline?

Acne on the chin and jawline is a common issue that can be caused by various factors. Understanding the potential causes can help you find the right treatments and prevention methods.

Hormonal Causes

Hormonal fluctuations are a major cause of acne in the chin and jaw area for many people. This type of acne is sometimes called “hormonal acne.”

Hormones like androgens, progesterone, cortisol, and insulin can increase sebum production and inflammation, leading to breakouts. Hormonal acne outbreaks are usually seen around puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.

The chin and jawline have a higher concentration of oil glands compared to other facial areas. An increase in androgens causes the oil glands to produce excess sebum, which leads to clogged pores and acne.

Women may experience worse acne flare-ups right before their period when progesterone levels peak. Progesterone can stimulate oil gland production. Going on and off birth control pills can also trigger chin and jawline breakouts due to fluctuating hormones.

Typical Causes of Hormonal Acne in Women

  • Menstrual cycle changes
  • Puberty
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Going on or off birth control pills

Typical Causes of Hormonal Acne in Men

  • Puberty
  • Andropause (age-related testosterone decline)
  • Use of anabolic steroids or testosterone supplements


Certain medications can trigger acne flares in the chin and jawline region. The most common culprits include:

  • Steroids
  • Testosterone
  • Lithium
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Isoniazid
  • Haloperidol
  • Antitubercular drugs

These medications increase oil production, lead to abnormal skin cell growth, and inflammation. This results in clogged pores, whiteheads, pimples, and cysts.


Increased stress levels can worsen acne on the chin, jaws, and other areas through various mechanisms. Stress triggers the production of cortisol, one of the main stress hormones. Cortisol increases sebum production and inflammation.

Stress also causes changes in hormone balance. It increases androgen levels while lowering estrogen levels. The hormonal impact of stress can stimulate oil glands and flare-ups.

Furthermore, stress may cause people to touch their face more often and pick at pimples. This can spread bacteria around and slow healing.


Your dietary choices affect hormone levels, inflammation, and overall health. Some dietary factors linked to jawline acne include:

  • High glycemic index foods – Foods high on the glycemic index cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin. This can stimulate oil production and inflammation. Examples are white bread, potatoes, and sweets.
  • Milk and whey protein – Whey protein supplements and dairy can worsen hormonal acne in some people. Milk contains hormones and bioactive molecules that influence the body’s hormone balance.
  • Trans fats – Found in fried foods and processed snacks, trans fats promote inflammation. This can spur acne development.
  • Food allergies/intolerances – If certain foods trigger inflammation in your body, it may promote acne.

On the other hand, eating more vegetables, fiber, omega-3 fats, and probiotics can improve acne.


Your genes influence how susceptible you are to acne. People with a family history of severe acne tend to get more severe manifestations.

Genetic traits like oilier skin, increased androgen levels, and greater immune response to bacteria raise acne risk. People with certain genetic variations in their androgen receptors are prone to jawline acne.

Hair Care Products

Hair care products including certain shampoos, conditioners, gels, and pomades contain comedogenic ingredients that can clog pores and cause chin acne. The residue of hair products can transfer to your chin and jaw area when you wash or style your hair.

Look for oil-free hair products labeled “noncomedogenic” or “won’t clog pores.” Also, wash your face after styling your hair.

Facial Hair

For men, shaving can worsen acne by irritating existing pimples and hair follicles. The trauma leads to increased inflammation. Shaving against the direction of hair growth raises the risk of ingrown hairs and razor bumps that appear as acne.

Failing to disinfect razors or letting oil and dead skin build up on razors increases bacterial transfer. This introduces more acne-causing germs to the face.

Chin Straps and Helmets

Wearing tight chin straps and helmets can create friction, sweat, and irritation along the jawline. This blocks pores and promotes bacterial overgrowth. Acne mechanica can develop in response.

To prevent acne, ensure proper hygiene and keep straps and helmets clean. Wash your face after use to remove trapped sweat and oil.

Touching The Face

Resting your chin in your hands transfers dirt, germs, and oil to the skin. Constant rubbing and touching of the chin area can also spread bacteria from the hands to the face leading to more acne.

Avoid touching the face unnecessarily to prevent the mechanical transfer of acne-causing agents to the chin region.

Phone Contact

Holding phones to your chin and jaw for extended periods can block pores, deposit dirt and oil, and harbor bacteria. This can obstruct pores and lead to acne breakouts.

Clean phones regularly and avoid contact with the face as much as possible. Hold phones slightly away from the chin when using them.

Masks and Face Coverings

Wearing masks, scarves, and other face coverings increases friction, heat, sweat and oil build up along the jawline. The humid environment underneath masks promotes bacterial overgrowth.

To prevent “maskne”, wash your face after removing masks and sanitize face coverings regularly. Choose breathable, non-occlusive mask materials when possible.

Which Age Groups are Most Affected?

Acne on the chin and jawline can affect people of all ages but tends to be most common in:

  • Teenagers – The hormonal changes of puberty often lead to flare-ups.
  • Women between ages 20-40 – Many women get chin and jawline acne related to menstruation and pregnancy.
  • Women over age 50 – Menopausal hormone changes can trigger acne.
  • Men over age 40 – Andropause leads to shifts in testosterone.

Are Chin and Jawline Acne More Common in Males or Females?

Acne around the chin and jawline is common in both males and females but can be slightly more prevalent among women. Anestimated 50-70% of women experience chin and jawline breakouts at some point due to hormonal fluctuations.

Can Chin and Jawline Acne Scars Form?

Yes, acne in the chin and jawline area can potentially lead to scarring if the blemishes are picked or popped. Cystic acne lesions that go deep into the skin are more likely to scar.

To minimize scarring, avoid picking and popping pimples. Follow a proper acne treatment regimen to clear up active breakouts.

Treatments and Remedies for Jawline Acne

There are many treatment options available to help get rid of acne along the chin and jawline. The right solutions depend on the underlying causes.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Mild acne can be treated with over-the-counter products containing ingredients like:

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Salicylic acid
  • Sulfur
  • Alpha-hydroxy acids
  • Tea tree oil

Look for acne-fighting cleansers, toners, creams, and spot treatments. Use them according to package directions.

Prescription Medications

For moderate to severe acne, see a dermatologist. They may prescribe medications like:

  • Oral or topical antibiotics
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Anti-androgens like spironolactone
  • Isotretinoin
  • Topical retinoids

Prescription treatments work by combatting bacteria, inflammation, and excess oil production. Most treatments need to be used for at least 6-8 weeks to see improvements.

In-Office Procedures

Dermatologists can perform quick in-office treatments to supplement acne medication use. Options include:

  • Cortisone injections – For large, painful cysts
  • Chemical peels
  • Light therapy
  • Laser resurfacing
  • Steroid injections
  • Drainage and extraction – For comedones and cysts

Lifestyle and Diet Changes

Making lifestyle adjustments and diet changes may help reduce acne. Useful tips include:

  • Take steps to manage stress
  • Choose low glycemic index foods
  • Limit dairy if it seems to be a trigger
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • Take care when shaving
  • Avoid excess face touching
  • Shampoo regularly and wash your face after styling hair

How Long Does it Take for Jawline Acne Treatments to Work?

On average, it takes about 4-6 weeks to start seeing results from acne treatments for the chin and jawline. Oral medications and prescription topical products often take 8-12 weeks to achieve their full effects.

Here is a general timeline for common acne treatments:

Treatment Time to See Results
Over-the-counter face washes and creams 2-6 weeks
Prescription topical retinoids 4-12 weeks
Oral antibiotics 6-12 weeks
Oral contraceptives 3-6 months
Isotretinoin 20-24 weeks
In-office procedures 1-4 weeks

Don’t expect overnight results. Give each acne treatment some time to work before switching approaches. Consistency is key.

Can Jawline Acne Go Away on Its Own?

Mild cases of intermittent jaw and chin breakouts may resolve on their own over time if the underlying cause goes away. For example, acne related to monthly hormonal fluctuations or temporary medication use often clears up when hormone levels stabilize or the medication is stopped.

However, more persistent, moderate to severe acne is unlikely to fully clear up without treatment. Getting on the right management plan can help prevent permanent scarring. See a dermatologist if breakouts don’t improve.

When to See a Dermatologist

You may benefit from seeing a dermatologist for jawline acne if:

  • Over-the-counter products don’t help after 2 months
  • Breakouts are widespread and severe
  • Acne is leaving scars or dark marks
  • You experience deep, painful cysts
  • Acne affects mood, self-esteem and quality of life

A dermatologist can help identify causes, rule out underlying conditions, and create a tailored treatment plan to get rid of acne along the jawline.


Chin and jawline acne affects many teens and adults at some point. Hormonal fluctuations, medications, diet, genetics, and lifestyle factors can trigger breakouts. There are many treatment options available to clear acne from the lower face. See a dermatologist for help getting breakouts under control.