What to do about chin pimples

By Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / Honayst

Causes

Pimples on the chin are no different to pimples on other parts of the face, neck, chest, and back. Oil traps dead skin or other debris and bacteria in one or more pores on the skin. This causes pimples to form.

Pimples on the chin are very common. They are typically the result of fluctuations in hormones. This is particularly the case for females and teenagers, as both tend to experience extreme hormone fluctuations.

Androgens are the hormones responsible for stimulating the creation of sebum. Sebum is the oil responsible for clogging pores and creating pimples. Since hormones can fluctuate throughout adulthood, pimples on the chin can come and go at any time.

Pimples may be a mild nuisance, but they are not typically dangerous. However, as one study in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology — which examined adult females with acne — notes, pimples can cause mild-to- moderate symptoms of depression or anxiety. As a result, they can impact a person’s ability to concentrate on work or school.

Treatments

People can start treatment of chin pimples at home. A person should use products that contain either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Both can help a person’s pimples dry up within a few days, though it could take a couple of weeks. To treat a local outbreak of pimples on the chin, a person should follow these general steps:

  • Wash the area with a mild detergent or one that contains salicylic acid.
  • Apply an ice pack to the area for about 5 minutes, to help reduce redness.
  • Apply a cream or ointment with benzoyl peroxide.
  • Avoid picking at the pimples or trying to pop them.

If chin pimples are not going away or are severe, a person may want to consult a dermatologist. Additional treatments they may recommend include:

  • oral antibiotics, to kill the trapped bacteria
  • isotretinoin, which is a medication that doctors prescribe when other treatments are not effective
  • prescription-strength creams, ointments, or gels
  • laser therapy
  • extraction, which involves draining and then removing a large cyst
  • chemical peels
  • birth control pills, to help regulate the hormones that produce sebum

Prevention

It is not always possible to fully prevent the development of pimples on the chin. However, there are several things a person can do to help prevent them, including:

  • washing the chin and all areas of the face with a mild soap twice or more daily
  • avoiding oily foods and foods with excess sugar
  • minimizing stress or other hormone triggers
  • avoiding excessively touching the face with the hands and fingers
  • using oil free sunscreen regularly
  • keeping sheets and other bedding clean and washed frequently
  • avoiding skin products containing oils that can clog the pores
  • keeping hair away from the chin and cleaning it frequently

To prevent ingrown hairs, people who shave should:

  • use a moisturizing shaving cream
  • use a sharp razor
  • consider trying a less irritating hair removal process

A person should also avoid certain behaviors to help treat and prevent pimples from forming on the chin. For example, a person should try not to:

  • pop pimples
  • sleep with makeup on
  • allow the skin to dry out
  • switch treatments frequently
  • use harsh cleaning agents and scrubs

Summary

Chin pimples are a common occurrence that can happen throughout adulthood, especially in females. Hormones are typically responsible for stimulating the production of extra oil on the chin, which can trap skin cells or dirt and bacteria, which causes pimples to form. A person can often prevent the development of pimples by practicing good skin hygiene and self-care. If pimples form, treatments usually start with topical creams and ointments. However, in severe cases, they may require more aggressive treatments from a dermatologist.