Some people may experience recurring acne pimples around the mouth. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications can help treat acne around the mouth.

Acne is a skin condition that usually needs treatment rather than lifestyle changes. However, there are some steps a person can take to help prevent or limit a breakout.

Sometimes, there is no obvious cause for acne. However, if pimples regularly appear in the same area of the body, such as around the mouth, there may be an identifiable reason.

Some common causes of acne around the mouth include wearing cosmetics and frequently touching the face. If acne does appear around the mouth, creams, ointments, and prescription medication can help.

Learn more about how to treat acne around the mouth in this article. It also covers potential causes and prevention techniques.

a close up of a woman's face showing Acne around the mouthShare on Pinterest
Hormonal changes are a possible cause of acne around the mouth.

The exact cause of acne is unknown.

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million people. It can affect people of any age but is most common during puberty.

Acne can appear around the mouth, but a person may get occasional pimples in this area even if they do not have acne.

Some potential causes of acne around the mouth include:

  • touching the face
  • holding a phone against the face
  • oily skin
  • bacteria building up on pillowcases
  • food and drink residue
  • sweat on the skin
  • hormonal changes

Clogged pores often result in pimples. Sweat, dirt, and makeup can all clog the pores.

Also, bacteria can transfer onto the skin from the hands, a phone, pillowcases, and makeup brushes. Different areas of the face can be vulnerable to bacteria transferred from a phone or by touching the skin.

Hair products, cosmetics, and shaving products can also clog the pores and lead to breakouts.

Acne has no proven link to stress, diet, or hygiene.

Learn more about the potential causes of acne in specific areas of the face here.

There are different types of pimple.

Blackheads and whiteheads do not inflame the skin and tend not to cause swelling or pain. They are common in people with or without acne. They are usually treatable with over-the-counter (OTC) medication.

Papules, pustules, cysts, and nodules tend to cause inflammation and discomfort. These are common in people who have acne, and they may need treatment with OTC or prescription medication.

Learn more about different acne types and symptoms here.

People can take steps to prevent and manage acne around the mouth. The sections below will outline some of these steps.

Avoid certain cosmetics

Some cosmetics, such as foundation and concealer, can lead to clogged pores. Look for makeup with a noncomedogenic label. This means that it does not usually contain oil and will not clog the pores.

Lipstick and lip balm can cause breakouts around the mouth. Take care to remove any product that goes on the skin instead of the lips.

Wipe the mouth after eating

Small food particles around the mouth can also clog the pores. Wipe the area around the mouth after eating, and try to avoid greasy foods. The oil from these foods could increase the likelihood of pimples.

Sugary drinks may also aggravate the skin.

Adopt a good shaving regimen

Shaving can irritate the skin and clog the pores, potentially leading to breakouts. Change razor blades regularly, as old blades can harbor bacteria. Rinse the razor after every stroke, and allow the razor to dry after use to prevent a buildup of bacteria.

Also, choose a gentle shaving foam or gel to reduce the risk of irritating the skin.

Cleaning the face before and after shaving can reduce the chance of bacteria getting into the pores.

Cleanse the skin

Wash the face twice per day, especially after sweating, and always remove makeup before bed. Choose a gentle cleanser and moisturize afterward.

Clean any makeup brushes frequently to prevent transferring bacteria onto the face, where it could clog the pores. Washing towels and facecloths regularly can also help keep the skin clean.

Other tips

Touching the face is one of the main ways to transfer bacteria onto it. This can cause acne breakouts. Avoid touching the area around the mouth to reduce this risk.

Changing sheets and pillowcases regularly can also help prevent bacteria from coming into contact with the face.

Treating acne around the mouth will depend on the severity and recurrence of the breakouts.

The following sections will discuss some short- and long-term treatment options.

Short-term treatments

For minor acne breakouts around the mouth, keep the face clean using gentle skin care products, and avoid touching it.

Do not squeeze or pick at pimples, as this can damage the skin and introduce bacteria. Squeezing pimples can also increase the risk of acne scarring.

Check for improvement after a few weeks. Maintaining a daily skin care routine can help improve skin health in the long term.

If making these changes does not resolve breakouts, OTC remedies may help. Products containing sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid can help get rid of minor pimples.

These products work by killing bacteria, breaking down whiteheads and blackheads, or reducing the amount of oil the skin produces.

Learn more about acne treatments here.

Long-term treatments

Someone with persistent acne may need advice from a dermatologist. Prescription medication can help resolve acne if OTC medication and lifestyle changes have not worked.

Antibiotics can help stop or slow the growth of bacteria. Retinoids can break down blackheads and whiteheads and may help prevent them from forming.

Hormonal changes in the body can also affect the skin. Taking birth control pills may help some females who experience acne breakouts around their period. Learn more about taking birth control pills for acne here.

Minor acne breakouts around the mouth can occur due to bacteria transferring onto the face. To prevent this, try not to touch the face.

It also helps to wipe away any food and drink quickly, wash facecloths regularly, and choose noncomedogenic makeup to reduce pimples.

Preventing pores from becoming clogged is easier than treating a breakout. However, OTC treatments can be effective in clearing up pimples. Choose products with active ingredients, and seek advice from a dermatologist for specialized information and advice.

Acne is a skin condition that may need medical treatment. Anyone with concerns about acne around the mouth should speak to a doctor or dermatologist for advice on effective treatment and management.