If you're dealing with chin acne (or spots on your chin, that aren't chronic) know that acne, more generally, is on the rise. A 2018 review of studies in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology reported a significant increase in adults dealing with the skin condition, while a 2015 study of 92 private dermatology clinics found a 200% rise in the number of adults looking to treat the condition.
What causes spots on the chin?
'But women who have gotten acne after the age of 23 often do see it mostly on their chin, jaw line and lower cheeks. This is what we called the 'U-zone,' rather than the traditional 'T-zone,' which tends to affect teenagers.' So chin acne as a fully grown up, pay cheque-collecting women is very normal. But, why is it so typical in this region, as opposed to, say, your forehead?
'We don’t know why that is,' says Dr Mahto. Gah. Good news is, we do understand more about why said hormonal and genetic wobbles do contribute.
What hormone causes acne on your chin?
'You can identify hormonal acne by the type of flare up you have', says Dr Jonquille Chantrey, an aesthetic doctor. 'It usually occurs in the form of cystic chin acne (large, red sore bumps) or comedones (whitehead bumps that never break the surface) and is caused by increased oil production beneath the skin. There is normally a healthy flow of oil to the surface of your skin to keep it lubricated. But when there’s too much oil, it can combine with other debris on the surface of your skin and clog your pores. 'The chin is also an area that is easy for people to touch all the time, for example using our hands to lean on a desk can add dirt and spread oil and sebum. This is a habit that should be discouraged, and obviously, any acne should be left well alone and not squeezed', adds Dr Chantrey.
4 (hormonal) reasons you're getting spots on your chin
1/ Your chin acne is because of... your period 'A lot of spots on your chin tend to be in the second half of your cycle, or premenstrually – just before your period is due,' says Dr Mahto. 'This is because the first half of your cycle is oestrogen-heavy, and then the second half, from day 14 to day 28, is progesterone-heavy. At this point, your body is also producing more testosterone, meaning that you have a greater ratio of this versus your female hormones, before your period.'
2/ Your chin acne is because of... bad sleep
According to a recent study, the risk of psychological stress increases by 14% for every hour of sleep you lose a night, which can lead to abnormalities in skin structure and function. Another factor connecting sleep deprivation to acne is the increased insulin resistance. This is because insulin resistance can increase glucose (or sugar) – one of the major causes of acne.
3/ Your chin acne is because... you came off the Pill
The hormones present in combination birth-control pills can combat acne because they decrease circulating androgens, which in turn decreases the production of sebum. But, once you come off the pill, those hormones come back into play, which can lead to an overproduction of sebum.
4/ Your chin acne is because... You're stressed
'An increase in cortisol, the inflammatory stress hormone, can lead to excessive oil production and cause spots', adds Dr Chantrey.
So, what about how to get rid of chin acne?
First things first, wash your face morning and night with a gentle cleanser to remove excess oil and grime from your skin. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid ('this is key in terms of treating acne because it will actually break down the oil in the pore,' says Dr Mahto), glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide. These all help to break down the bonds between dead skin cells, eliminating them from the surface of your skin and dissolving excess oil without disrupting your skin’s pH balance. Another good product to try is a retinol. 'We often think of retinoids for their anti-ageing properties but they are actually really good at unblocking pores as well – so they do have acne-fighting benefits,' elaborates Dr Mahto. If over-the-counter acne remedies don’t work, see a dermatologist for prescription-strength acne treatment, such as antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, cream or oral retinoids. As to sorting out reddish or brown spots that appear on your skin, when your chin acne has healed? Dr Mahto recommends using alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), like glycolic and lactic, to help fade them fade as well.
What foods get rid of spots on your chin?
Sorry, but there is no magic diet that will nix you chin acne. Why? Dr Mahto says that these spots are, largely, a direct results of your hormones and your genetics, as opposed to your current 4pm snack of choice.
'But there are a small group of people that will be sensitive to dairy, and for them, it might be worthwhile to limit the amount of cow's milk, cheese and yoghurt that they have,' says Dr Mahto. 'But you’ll have to make sure that you have other good sources of calcium and vitamin D.' Especially formulated by dermatologists for skin on the face and body, this gel cleanser is enriched with salicylic acid- to gently exfoliate the skin as it cleanses. It's brilliant for resurfacing rough areas, without being too harsh or stripping on the skin. These handy little (100% cotton and biodegradable) pads are infused with fruit enzymes and azelaic acid to help unclog blocked pores and minimise shine. Use every morning to gently cleanse away any oil build-up that's accumulated overnight. These unique patches are designed to stop cystic spots in their tracks, by penetrating the skin using ultra-fine microdarts. Containing a blend of hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, niacinamide, antimicrobial oligopeptide-76 and sodium hydroxide; the ingredients are able to penetrate the skin deeper than 'spot-on' treatments, shrinking spots before they get chance to develop.
If you are a fan of sulphur-based blemish treatments then this is one of the best. Use as soon as you feel the spot develop to shrink and dehydrate the blemish from above. You might still feel the bump of deeper, under-the-skin spots - but this will help you cover the blemish and stop it looking angry on the surface.
When you're dealing with cystic acne, the rest of your skin can also look dull and pretty sad. This 10-minute mask can help brighten and smooth your skin, shrinking blemishes and boosting radiance all in one. Packed with fruit acids and enzymes, it munches away at the bonds that hold together dry and dead skin cells, revealing the softer, glowing complexion underneath.
If you find that your skin gets oily by 11am, this is the cleanser for you. Containing both salicylic acid and zinc, it helps to deeply cleanse pores, regulating sebum production without overly stripping the skin. In just one week, users found that their skin looked clearer and less oily. Winner.
Created by psychotherapist Charlotte Ferguson, Disciple's range specifically helps stressed-out skin - often caused by inflammation. This potent treatment contains a blend of anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory oils to help unclog pores and reduce redness - without drying out or irritating the skin.
Even oily skin types need a great every day moisturiser. This lightweight gel formula utilises caffeine to help boost radiance, leaving skin with a silky- smooth glow. Thanks to its oil-free formula, it helps to balance the skin's natural oil production without clogging pores.
Now that you're clued up on chin acne, here's what you need to know about handling acne scars.