Acne usually develops in areas where there are many oil glands, such as the face, back, and chest. However, some people have breakouts along the jawline.

A person may be at risk of developing acne in this area if they use heavy cosmetic products, or wear a chinstrap or another type of sports gear on the face. Hormonal changes can also cause jawline acne.

In this article, we will take a close look at jawline acne, examining causes, treatments, and ways to prevent breakouts.

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Sports equipment, shaving, medications, and cosmetic products may cause acne on the jawline.

Acne occurs when hair follicles in the skin become clogged with dead cells and excess oil. Clogged follicles trap dirt, producing blackheads and whiteheads.

Bacteria living on the skin can also infect blocked follicles. This can cause pimples, cysts, and nodules, which may become red and inflamed.

Common causes of acne along the jawline include:

  • Cosmetic products: Moisturizers, makeup, and hair products that contain heavy oils tend to clog pores and cause breakouts.
  • Sports equipment: Wearing a helmet with a chin-strap, thick shoulder pads, or other equipment close to the face can trap heat and sweat in the area.
  • Musical instruments: Instruments that come into contact with the jawline, such as the violin, may also cause breakouts.
  • Shaving: Shaving can irritate the skin, especially in men prone to acne. Using old razor blades can also lead to infection and aggravate breakouts.
  • Medications: Some drugs, including steroid medications and those used to treat depression and bipolar disorder, list acne as a side effect.

Studies show that acne is more common in women than men. Adult-onset acne can be caused by:

  • Fluctuating hormone levels: Some women get facial acne just before menstruation, during pregnancy, in perimenopause, or after stopping or starting to take birth control pills.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome: This disorder of the endocrine system can lead to acne and weight gain. It can also cause small cysts to form inside the ovaries.

While there is no cure for acne, there are several safe and effective treatments.

People with mild blemishes, such as a few blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples, can often treat their acne with over-the-counter gels or creams.

These products usually contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. It may take 6 to 8 weeks before the acne begins to clear.

See a dermatologist if acne does not respond to over-the-counter products, or becomes severe, inflamed, or painful.

After an examination, the dermatologist may suggest the following treatment options:

  • Topical treatments: People can apply these products directly to the skin. They may have a higher concentration of benzoyl peroxide and retinoids than over-the-counter medications.
  • Oral antibiotics: People may need to take these for several months, usually in combination with a topical treatment.
  • Birth control pills: Contraceptive pills can reduce acne.
  • Spironolactone: This prescription diuretic is sometimes used to treat acne and excess hair growth in women.
  • Isotretinoin: This is a highly effective medication for severe cases of acne. However, isotretinoin can cause birth abnormalities, depression, and suicidal feelings. Take it only under a doctor's supervision.
  • Non-drug treatments: These include laser and light therapies, chemical peels, and acne removal.

Alternative treatments for jawline acne may involve:

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Washing the face twice a day may help to prevent acne.

There are several ways to prevent and treat breakouts of jawline acne. These can include:

  • washing the face twice a day with a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser, then rinsing with lukewarm water
  • avoiding scrubbing the skin, which can make acne worse
  • resisting the urge to pick or pop acne, which can lead to scarring and infection
  • choosing skin care products that are oil-free and non-comedogenic
  • avoiding products that may irritate the skin, such as astringents, toners, and exfoliants
  • shaving the face lightly, keeping razors clean, and changing them regularly
  • washing the face after wearing a helmet or other equipment to remove sweat and bacteria
  • avoiding touching the face, which can spread bacteria and worsen outbreaks

Acne is not the only condition that can develop along the jawline. Others include:

  • Rosacea, which causes redness, swelling, and bumpy skin
  • Cellulitis, a common bacterial infection that causes redness and swelling
  • Boils, a skin infection that forms pus-filled and painful red bumps
  • Folliculitis, in which ingrown hairs form infected and sometimes pus-filled sores

Dermatologists recommend treating acne early to prevent mild breakouts from getting worse.

Keeping acne under control from a young age can reduce the occurrence of outbreaks in later life. It can also diminish the risk of scarring and the need for medical treatment.

Adult women with persistent jawline acne should see a dermatologist to explore additional treatments, such as hormone therapy.

Acne has been found to harm self-esteem and is linked to depression. Seeking early treatment can boost confidence and overall well-being.