Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

How to Treat Stubborn Chin Acne

By Dr. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC, Double board-certified dermatologist

One of the most common places for acne is the chin. This is for all kinds of reasons: sports, shaving, even lip balm can lead to chin acne. There aren’t any products specially designed to treat the chin, but that’s because you don’t need a chin-specific product. Some minor changes to your daily personal care routine could actually do the trick. This article will explain the reasons for chin acne, explore some minor changes that could make a big difference, provide do-it-yourself treatment options, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about chin acne.

You can reduce the amount of acne on your chin with a few simple changes to your daily routine.


  • Your chin is part of the U-zone, an area of the face prone to increased acne
  • You could have acne mechanica, acne caused by the friction of 🏋️🎻 sports equipment and musical instruments
  • Resting your chin in your hand is natural, but often leads to acne
  • When shaving your chin, be careful to use a sharp razor
  • Lip balm can cause breakouts around the mouth, 👄 but it can also contribute to chin acne
  • If your toothpaste label says “sodium lauryl sulfate,” “sodium dodecyl sulfate,” or “SLS,” you may want to consider other products
  • Hormones from puberty, menstruation, stress, and testosterone therapy can all lead to chin acne breakouts
  • Chin acne is usually best treated 👌 with a cleanser that won’t dry out your skin

You’ve Heard Of The T-Zone, But What About The U-Zone?

Most of us with acne have heard of the T-zone—the area encompassing your forehead and nose which typically produces more oil and thus, more acne. The natural complement to the T-zone is the U-zone—the area encompassing your cheeks, jawline, and chin. Unlike the T-zone, this area does not produce an excessive amount of sebum (natural skin oil) unless you have an oily skin type. In people with normal, dry, or combination skin, the U-zone is usually dry which can make pores tight.

You probably know that extra oil leads to pimples, but did you know that dry skin can also produce acne? Although many cosmetic products boast that they “shrink pores,” tight pores can actually trap bacteria, sebum, and dead skin cells under the skin’s surface, creating pimples. Acne can be tricky that way; you don’t want your pores to be too open because then they can easily get clogged, but you also don’t want your pores to be totally closed because then they can trap acne-causing agents beneath the surface of your skin.

If your T-zone is very oily and your U-zone is very dry, using only one acne product probably won’t be the most effective approach. 🌱 Instead, try a full treatment system that cleanses, treats, and moisturizes your skin, like Exposed Skincare.

Many Sports And Musical Instruments Could Be Responsible For Chin Acne

There is a specific kind of acne that can appear anywhere on the face or body called acne mechanica. This particular acne isn’t necessarily caused by oil or bacteria, although they play a part. Instead, this acne is caused by excessive friction.

Friction is definitely not good for acne. Friction irritates the skin, and when the skin is irritated two things happen: it produces extra sebum, and it becomes inflamed.

The extra sebum obviously isn’t great for acne, but it’s especially problematic when combined with inflammation. When the skin is inflamed, it swells slightly and closes pores. This traps all that excess sebum (along with dead skin cells and acne-causing bacteria) under the skin and leads to increased acne.

Certain sports or musical instruments 🏈🎵 have an element that is continuously pressed against the chin, like the chin strap on football helmets or the lip plate of a flute. The constant pressure presses acne-causing agents like sebum, perspiration, and acne-causing bacteria into your pores, and leads to acne.

The two best ways to prevent sports or music-related chin acne are cleansing your skin right after practice, a game, or a performance, and keeping your equipment or instrument clean.

After playing your instrument or your sport, gently wash your chin. Don’t scrub, as that will create even more irritation. You just want to open the pores slightly and clear away extra oil, perspiration, and bacteria. It will also help to keep your instrument or sport equipment clean. They collect sebum and bacteria from your face, and if left uncleaned, that bacteria will grow and the next time you play, they will be transferred directly to your skin. Some instruments have specific cleaning cloths and oils you should use, but most sports chin straps can be cleaned with plain water.

Daydreaming: Healthy For The Mind, Bad For The Skin?

One of the best pieces of acne advice is to avoid touching your face whenever possible. Our hands touch all kinds of germy things, so you want to avoid transferring that bacteria to your face where it could get trapped in pores and cause pimples. But if we’re feeling sleepy or letting our minds wander, we might prop our elbow on the table and rest our chin in our palm. We often don’t even notice that we’ve moved to this position, it’s so natural, but it can cause acne. Partially because of the bacteria, but it also applies constant pressure, like with acne mechanica. It seems perfectly harmless, but if possible, you want to avoid resting your chin in your palm.

If you’re a daydreamer, try sitting on your hands or crossing your arms when you notice your mind wandering. This will prevent your body from naturally falling into the chin-palm position.

Razor Burn Isn’t The Only Thing To Worry About When Shaving

Most people have experienced razor burn 🪒🔥 at some point: small red bumps around the hair follicles following shaving, usually with a dull razor. It can be itchy and uncomfortable, but it isn’t acne, so why are we mentioning it? Because similar to acne mechanica, razor burn irritates the skin and could lead to increased acne. If you shave your chin and have chin acne, you may want to change up your shaving routine.

Shaving with a dull razor can cause razor burn, acne, and more serious skin conditions.

One way to avoid razor burn and chin acne is to shave using a fragrance-free shaving gel, rather than shaving cream. Fragrance chemicals and the chemicals in shaving cream that cause it to fluff up can sink into pores and irritate the skin, so a scentless gel is a gentler option.

The best way to keep your chin healthy when shaving is to use a sharp razor. Dull razors don’t cut the hair very well. Instead they fold them over, and the hair starts to grow back into the follicle. Your immune system thinks the hair is an outside invasion and this can cause your body to attack itself. The immune system initiates the inflammation response to try and eject the hair, which causes slight swelling and redness around the hair follicle. This creates razor burn, but it can also lead to a more serious condition: acne keloidalis nuchae (AKN).

AKN is a chronic skin condition that occurs when the skin quickly grows over a hair that has been folded back into the hair follicle. This creates a raised keloid scar and requires medical treatment. AKN is most common in young men with dark skin, and even with treatment it can leave significant scars. If your chin acne is larger than normal or raised more than normal, 👩‍⚕️👨🏽‍⚕️ talk to your dermatologist.

Opt For A Fragrance-Free Lip Balm

If your lips get chapped easily, you probably apply lip balm two or three times a day, maybe even more. The wax protects and hydrates your lips, but it can clog the pores surrounding your mouth, or even the pores on your chin.

Lip balms today come in any scent you could possibly imagine, from something as simple as strawberry, to something as strange as dill pickle. These scents make lip balm fun, but they can also cause breakouts.

All fragrances are created with chemicals that can irritate your skin and clog your pores.

If you’re an avid lip balm user and you can’t seem to get rid of your stubborn chin acne, you may want to consider changing to a fragrance-free lip balm.

Check Your Toothpaste Label

Toothpaste is commonly used as a DIY acne treatment, but it could actually be contributing to your chin acne. Some toothpaste products contain baking soda, which is a harsh acne spot treatment chemical, but others contain sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS.

SLS is the chemical that makes toothpaste foam up, and much like shaving cream, it can settle in the pores and irritate the skin. In the process of brushing, rinsing, and spitting, it’s not unusual for a little bit of the toothpaste foam to find its way to the chin, where it can irritate the skin, close pores, and lead to acne. If you take good care of your skin but can’t seem to get rid of your chin acne, a simple daily product like lip balm or toothpaste could be to blame.

✔️ Check your toothpaste label and if you see “sodium lauryl sulfate,” “sodium dodecyl sulfate,” or “SLS,” you might want to try another brand.

Hormones Of All Kinds Can Lead To Chin Acne

Teenage acne is very common because most people undergo extreme fluctuations in hormone levels at that time, but puberty is not the only time hormones can cause acne. Hormones related to stress, menstruation, or testosterone therapy can all cause an increase in acne.

Stress is more than just an uncomfortable feeling, it is your body entering into fight, flight, or freeze mode. When you have an important deadline coming up, your body perceives that stressor as a threat, and it responds as if a big presentation is a lion, eyeing you, ready to pounce. 🦁 Your hypothalamus sends a message to your adrenal gland, which then releases adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline increases your heart rate and blood pressure, while cortisol releases more sugars into your bloodstream to give your body more energy. These hormones are vital when faced with an actual lion, but not very helpful when you’re sitting at your desk staring at an exam. Extended exposure to stress hormones can cause a wide variety of mental and physical conditions, including acne. Adrenaline and cortisol can increase inflammation, which can close pores and encourage pimples.

Hormone levels can fluctuate significantly throughout the menstrual cycle, which can lead to monthly acne flare-ups.

During ovulation and just before menstruation, the body releases more androgens, including testosterone. The body always produces these hormones, but when they rise above their typical level they can cause acne because they promote increased sebum production, which then clogs pores.

Because increased androgens can cause an increase in acne, it is possible that trans men undergoing testosterone (T) therapy could experience more acne. There are relatively few studies currently published about the subject, but if you notice more acne after starting T therapy, try a gentle, consistent acne treatment system and consider speaking with your doctor or consulting a dermatologist.

Chin Acne Treatment: What Works?

Whether you have acne on your chin from playing sports, using the wrong toothpaste, or just being a teenager, there are solutions. When looking for a good treatment for chin acne, it helps to remember three things. 🎗️ First of all, your chin is naturally dry, so look for a moisturizing product. Second, your chin can easily accumulate oil and bacteria, so a cleansing product can help. Third and most importantly, remember that chin acne is very normal, so try not to worry.

Exposed Skincare is gentle enough to take care of your skin, but strong enough to clear it too.

If you have acne only on your chin, you may benefit most from our DIY spot treatments listed below, but if your acne is more widespread, the best treatment is a gentle, consistent acne treatment system. The best approach to acne treatment is a skincare routine you can follow every day, and treats your skin gently while still taking care of business. We recommend Exposed Skincare because of their affordable cost, one-year money-back guarantee, and carefully designed formula.

Unlike many other acne treatment systems, Exposed doesn’t use high concentrations of active ingredients that will dry out your skin and cause more acne.

Instead, they combine low concentrations of active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid along with a variety of natural ingredients like green tea extract and aloe vera. This combination is gentle, but effective, perfect for treating chin acne.


Tea Tree Oil:

You may have heard of tea tree oil for acne treatment before, because it’s a very effective natural solution. It is an essential oil that is antimicrobial, meaning it can kill acne-causing bacteria. And it breaks up sebum and dead skin cells that can clog pores. But use caution, especially when treating dry areas of your skin, like your chin. Tea tree oil is a powerful ingredient that can dry out skin if not used correctly. If you have dry or sensitive skin, honey or aloe vera DIY treatments will produce better results.

The following recipe is meant to be a spot treatment only; do not apply to your full face.


  • 10 drops of tea tree oil
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
  • ½ teaspoon of 🥥 coconut oil

Step 1: Combine all three ingredients in a small container that has a lid (this will make enough to last one to two weeks if stored in a cool place with a lid).
Step 2: Gently wash skin with facewash and pat dry.
Step 3: Before bed, dip a cotton ball into the mixture, then dab onto affected area only. Do not rub, do not apply all over.
Step 4: Remove by gently washing skin with facewash.

Note: Do not apply in the morning, essential oils can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and cause burning, even when mixed with aloe vera.


Honey may be the only product that can genuinely call itself a “cure-all.” Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties combined with how gently it interacts with the skin make it an excellent healing agent. Hospitals use honey-soaked dressings when treating wounds, and you can use it at home for everything from a canker sore to chin acne. The recipe below combines honey and cinnamon, another antimicrobial agent, to really cleanse the chin of any bacteria. The quantity should make enough to cover the whole face, but if you want to use honey as a spot treatment, you can cut the recipe in half.


  • 1 tablespoon of pure honey 🍯🐝 (ingredient list should only say “honey,” no glucose or fructose added)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Step 1: Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
Step 2: Gently wash skin with facewash and pat dry.
Step 3: Apply mixture to face and let sit for 15 minutes.
Step 4: Rinse gently with water. Do not scrub, simply splash the face with lukewarm water and rub gently until honey is removed. This may take a while, but scrubbing will only irritate the skin.

Aloe Vera

If you’ve ever had a bad sunburn, you know how relieving aloe vera can be. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and it soothes the skin. If you have particularly inflamed or painful acne, an aloe vera mask may be the perfect solution for you. There are plenty of recipes that combine aloe vera with tea tree oil or lemon juice, but for painful acne you should apply plain aloe vera to the affected area.

📌 Avoid any products with a fragrance—remember, those chemicals can irritate the skin. Aloe vera straight from the plant is usually the most effective option, but it requires more maintenance and is usually more expensive than simply buying a gel from the store. But if you’re looking for a hardy houseplant and a solution to your acne, getting an aloe vera plant could kill two birds with one stone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I’m over the age of 25 and I’ve never had acne before, but recently I’ve been breaking out, especially on my chin. What’s going on?

A. You may be experiencing something called adult-onset acne. This is generally defined as acne that presents after age 25, without significant acne prior. Unlike teenage acne, which occurs mostly in the T-zone, adult acne is more likely to appear in the U-zone, which includes the chin.

Adult-onset acne is relatively common, especially in black, African-American, and Hispanic adults with dark skin. 👦🏿👧🏽 The best treatment for chin acne is the same at all ages: a gentle cleanser and moisturizer.

Q. Why are the pimples on my chin more sensitive and painful to pop?

A. There are two important things to address here: the sensitivity of chin pimples, and the effectiveness of pimple popping.

💡 First, pimples on your chin could be more sensitive because the skin there is usually drier and tighter than on your nose or forehead where more sebum is produced. Because your pores are so close together, when one gets clogged and expands, it creates pressure on all the pores around it, which could cause it to be more painful than other acne.

💡 Second, popping pimples usually isn’t the most effective way to handle them. Some website say you should never, ever, ever pop a pimple, but if a pimple is ready and you know what you’re doing, pimple popping doesn’t have to be a disaster. That being said, you should be wary of popping pimples on your chin. The skin there is tight, meaning even minor breaks in the skin could easily leave a scar.

Rather than popping those painful, potentially scarring pimples on your chin, follow your acne treatment system every single day. Additionally, try some of our DIY acne spot treatments, as shown above.

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julia woodman Reply

Hi i need advice plz,eversince iv had the merina coil inserted in my womb i hve been getting terrible acne around my chin when the 1subsides the nxt 2 pops up,im at my wits end i hve ugly scaring lft behind aswell,plz plz help

January 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm Reply
Shevanne Reply

I have the same problem what I did I went to my doctor and remove my merina and gave me a prescription a pills for acne like Yasmin after a month my acne under my chin was completely gone.

March 8, 2017 at 7:39 pm Reply
Lily Reply

Hi you can do what i did and steem your face for five minuets wash your face for two minuets exfoliate your skin aspeshaly where you have your chin acne for one minuet then wash your face again for two minuets then appply ice to the chin acne for ten to fifteen minuets to get rid of swelling and redness after that apply aloe vira gelly and then when you go to bed apply WHITE toothpast and sleep with it in the morrning your chin acne will be mostly gone do this one to two times a week for one to two months and ypur acne will be gone and it wont come back if it does iy wont be as bad . Hope this helps xx

April 17, 2017 at 6:08 pm Reply
Mamma G Reply

Get the depo shot and/or have him get a vasectomy.

April 3, 2015 at 10:12 pm Reply
Kk Reply

Depo is progesterone too

November 10, 2017 at 11:21 am Reply
Katie carriiee Reply

I have bad acne on my back, four head, near the chin, and around the mouth. I wear makeup and I want to not wear it anymore. So I want my acne to be gone please help me!!! I also have some scars on my chest. Any suggestions???

May 27, 2015 at 11:18 pm Reply
Santana Watts Reply

Use bio oil to get rid of the scars it takes a few months but after a while they start to fade if you use it on your face and notice you getting more acne stop using it, it also gets rid of stretch marks, I haven't found a remedy to get rid of my own pimples but the bio oil works.

September 17, 2015 at 2:25 am Reply
Pankhuri Reply

To get rid of acne, u need to buy some medicines. Apply sacilycilic or gycolic acid foam on your face daily. Apply benzoyl peroxide at night and clindanycim and nicotinamide gel in morning. Apply these both after washing your face. If u dont wanna buy anything and need an easy remedy, do hot and cold compressions by ice and hot water. Honey and turmeric is also a good remedy. Though these natural remedies may take time, they sure will work and you will see progress. Good day

April 30, 2018 at 8:04 am Reply
Tom Reply

Thanks for this article I'm fairly sure using a dull razor is the reason for my acne and I'm having to shave my chin at 14

July 21, 2016 at 11:46 am Reply
M Reply

Scrubbing with mixtures including baking soda works wonders! Mixed fresh with raw honey before bed. Gentle scrub, leave on as long as you can stand it and rinse. Beautiful results reasonably quickly

November 21, 2016 at 1:44 am Reply
Esther Reply

you can use dermalmd acne serum It works wonders for drying out pimples !

December 28, 2016 at 7:19 am Reply
Jennifer Sandoval Reply

The same problem I'm having is white heads and black heads I never had a pimple in my life but I turned 29 and omg I broke out tremendously so it took me a while to find a good skin care I have sensitive skin I can't use any creams with scent but I found a oatmeal soap from the grocery store it's a Latin brand plain oatmeal and used it along with witch hazel after I washed my face and splashed the chin area with peroxide and omg they were gone in about a week I also bought Mario badescu face cleanser and incorporated it in my nightly routine and stopped the witch hazel because they both have similar ingredients and now I found the solution and the dark spots are gone due to the peroxide it works as a bleaching

May 9, 2017 at 3:41 pm Reply
Dee Reply

I'm 29 and have never had such bad little white heads and some big pimples on my chin and jaw line ... Make up doesn't make it look better.. You can still see all the little bumps. I hate it so much it kills my confidence and sometimes I don't even want to go to work. I am a picker if it gets bad I try to pop them and of course it makes it worse with scabs and redness ... I just wish they would go away but I'm going to try some of these remedies

July 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm Reply
Julie Reply

I use dermalmd acne serum twice a day and I don't breakout anymore. It even cleared up my chin which was constantly breaking out and just getting worse.

July 9, 2017 at 5:28 am Reply
Stephanie Reply

I have acne on my chin and i only get them there because of my period. But the problem is that my acne isn't very forgiving and it doesn't go away as quick as it should. So i get acne on my period and by the next month the acne is still there so it's just accumulating and i've tried everything.

July 11, 2017 at 12:24 am Reply
sally Reply

hi i am only 13 and have the worse back acne ever i feel scared to wear a bathing suit during the summer because i fear that everyone will stare...please help and tell me how to get rid of this

July 16, 2017 at 3:20 am Reply
Crystal Reply

Hi there! I have an acne Instagram @sugarfree_skincare and I had terrible back acne as a teenager. I quit all dairy, even butter and yogurt, avoid soy products, and stopped eating a lot of sugar and That cleared up my back acne w/In a month. Dairy is the worst.

September 17, 2017 at 10:47 am Reply
Emily Reply

I have acne on my face, especially my chin and I feel like I have tried everything I possibly can do and nothing works any sugestions?!?!?

April 3, 2018 at 6:37 pm Reply