If you have forehead acne, you aren’t alone. Quite the opposite—the forehead is part of something called the “T zone,” an area known for being particularly prone to acne in just about everyone. Even though the forehead is predisposed to acne, there are lots of ways to make it better—and worse. This article will explain the ins and outs of forehead acne, from how it happens to how to fight it, and answer some of the most popular questions about forehead acne.
Increased sebaceous glands in the “T zone” make your forehead more prone to acne.
- The forehead is part of the T zone, a particularly acne-prone area of the face.
- Your skin type affects the likelihood of forehead acne and how severe it could be
- Being mindful of what comes into contact with your forehead could reduce acne
- If your forehead acne is especially pronounced around your hairline, it might be time to switch up your hair products
- Hair that is pulled too tightly could contribute to forehead acne
- Your makeup routine could be causing more acne
- There are many over-the-counter acne treatments that could be effective for your forehead and T zone
- For severe acne, prescription strength acne products can improve skin
- Natural or DIY acne treatments provide an good alternative for treating forehead acne
Watch What Touches Your Forehead—Including Yourself
A surprising amount of products can touch your forehead throughout a typical day. When you wake up each morning, your face may have picked up extra dead skin cells and sebum that has collected on your pillowcase, which can clog pores which lead to acne.
Be careful to keep hair care products away from your forehead—they can clog pores and encourage acne.
Shampoos and conditioners you use in the shower can get rinsed onto your forehead and cling to pores. Gels, mousses, styling sprays, or hair sprays you might use when styling your hair can also coat your pores or touch your forehead at your hairline while you’re getting ready. These products can irritate your skin, encourage more sebum production, and clog pores, all leading to increased forehead acne.
Another acne-causing agent that touches your skin all day long is your own hands and fingers. If you’re tired or stressed, you might rest your forehead on the palm of your hand or between your index finger and thumb. Restlessness or boredom often lead people to scratch, rub, or pick at their skin, especially on the face.
The oils on your hands and fingers can contribute to excess sebum on the forehead, which can cause forehead acne, but it’s also important to consider what else your hands touch all day. Money, countertops, phones—these are all objects that typically have high levels of bacteria. And because you touch them all day long, you probably don’t wash your hands after each interaction. These bacteria can live on your hands and get transferred to your face. Even though acne is caused by a specific type of bacteria, called p. acnes, other bacteria can also create problems.
Any bacteria on your face pose a threat to your immune system, so it tries to fight off a potential infection with the inflammation response. In addition to sebum production and p. acnes, inflammation is a primary cause of acne.
Two of the best ways to prevent forehead acne are shielding it from products when showering or getting ready, and making an effort not to touch your face if you can help it.
Certain Hairstyles Can Cause Acne
There are several haircuts or hairdos that can contribute to forehead acne in a few different ways. One bad haircut for forehead acne is bangs. Some people, especially teenagers, get bangs to help hide forehead acne, but it may actually be making it worse. Many people don’t have to wash their hair every day, and the oils that build on our hair help protect it and keep it strong and healthy.
However, those oils can transfer to your forehead if you have bangs, adding to the forehead’s naturally excessive sebum, and leading to clogged pores and acne. If you want to reduce your acne but you like your bangs, you can try washing your hair more often, or wearing your bangs pulled back a few times a week.
Tight braids can pull skin tight across the forehead and close pores, increasing the likelihood of acne.
Another way your hair could potentially lead to more forehead acne is if the hair is pulled too tightly. This sometimes happens with tight braids or ill-fitting toupees. When braided hair is pulled back too tightly, it can close up the pores on your forehead because the skin is being pulled tightly along with the hair. The same idea applies to toupees that are too tight; they could be pulling your forehead skin back and closing up pores, which traps sebum and bacteria that cause blackheads, whiteheads, and other acne to arise.
This acne is not to be confused with friction alopecia, however. Friction alopecia is a skin condition most common in black or African-American people with tight braids. It presents with bumps that may look like acne, but this condition leads to hair loss. If you notice small bumps around your hairline and seem to be shedding more hair than normal, you should take out your braids as soon as possible.
Which Over-the-Counter Treatments Really Work?
Because the forehead is in the T zone, most people benefit from treatments that focus on exfoliation and oil suppression. Look for these active ingredients when choosing a forehead acne product:
Benzoyl Peroxide: This is a common acne treatment that works by fighting acne-causing bacteria and exfoliating skin.Some of the best benzoyl peroxide products include Exposed Skincare’s Acne Serum and Clean and Clear Advantage 3-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser.
Salicylic Acid: This treatment exfoliates the skin and clears away excess sebum. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties to prevent some (not all) of the irritation caused by exfoliation. Many products with the name “toner” or “cleanser” contain salicylic acid, such as Bioré Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser or Exposed Skincare’s Clearing Toner.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids: These acids, such as glycolic acid and citric acid, exfoliate pores and stimulate new skin growth, which can help with any scarring you may have due to forehead acne. Products that have alpha hydroxyl acids include most Neutrogena products and Exposed Skincare’s Clearing Toner.
Exposed Skincare combines active ingredients with natural ingredients, making it gentle and effective.
Combination Treatments: Combining active ingredients can do wonders for acne, since different ingredients treat different acne-causing agents, but it can also be disastrous. Many companies combine these active ingredients at very high concentrations that dry out skin and cause more acne.Exposed Skincare combines benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and other active ingredients with natural ingredients like green tea, sage extract, and aloe vera. This combination effectively treats forehead acne without irritating skin, so we can safely recommend it for all skin types. Its 3 step process and affordable cost make it a manageable option for most people, and their money-back guarantee gives you a full year to use the product to see if it works for you.
How to Get Rid of Forehead Acne with Topical Treatments and Medication
If your forehead acne is moderate to severe or it’s persistent, you should speak to your doctor or dermatologist about the stronger treatments that are available. They may also be able to help you pinpoint the root cause of your acne so you can start to change your lifestyle, medication, and so on to prevent future spots.
Image Title: Medication for Forehead Acne
Here are some of the different treatments that are available:
Topical Treatments for Forehead Acne
- Benzoyl peroxide – This reduces inflammation, kills bacteria, and helps unclog your pores. It’s best suited for mild acne but you will need to wear additional sunscreen as it can make your skin even more sensitive to the sun’s rays.
- Vitamin A cream or gel – Also known as topical retinoids, these help reduce how much oil your skin’s producing while also unblocking your pores. Perfect for combatting small spots, blackheads, and whiteheads. These also increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and they aren’t suitable if you’re pregnant.
- Antibiotic cream or gel – Applied directly onto the skin these are used to kill the bacteria that’s causing your acne. They’re best for inflamed spots and don’t irritate your skin as much as the other gels or creams available. They are, however, on some occasions, less effective on whiteheads and blackheads. And you can only use these for eight weeks due to the risk they pose to antibiotic resistance after this period.
- Azelaic acid gel – Azelaic acid kills bacteria and unblocks pores, which is why it’s effective for people who have mild acne or are struggling with the side effects of some of the other treatments available. It can take a month or more before you notice any improvements but doesn’t affect your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.
Medication for Forehead Acne
- Antibiotics – Typically used in conjunction with a cream or gel, these oral antibiotics are taken to kill bacteria. They’re effective when treating acne that’s mild to severe, with results being seen after around six weeks. They can only be used for six months due to the risk of you becoming resistant to antibiotics, and they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Other side effects include diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, and mild stomach pains.
- Co-cyprindiol – Used in women, this is a hormonal treatment that helps combat acne by tackling the hormonal condition that could be causing it, e.g. polycystic ovary syndrome. This treatment is effective for severe acne that hasn’t responded to the antibiotic treatment detailed above. This isn’t suitable if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant, with side effects including mood swings, sore breasts, headaches, bleeding in between periods, weight loss, weight gain, and loss of sex drive. There’s also a small risk that it can lead to breast cancer and blood clots later on in life.
- Isotretinoin – This medication is derived from Vitamin A and works like the retinoid creams or gels but provides a much more powerful solution. It’s effective for treating severe cases of acne and can only be prescribed by your doctor or dermatologist. Due to how strong this drug is there are a number of side effects, including blood in urine; joint, muscle, and bone pain; skin rashes; inflammation of the eyes or eyelids; headaches; nosebleeds; and dry and inflamed lips. It also poses a high risk of birth defects, which is why contraception has to be used before, during, and after taking this medication.
Causes of Forehead acne
Whenever you are going to treat any problem, it is important that you must note the causes. These will help you in staying away from the problem in future and in case that it happens again, you will be aware of why it is there once again. The causes of forehead acne include:
- Excessive stress: Taking a lot of stress is directly related to a lot of problems. It does a great deal of damage to your mental health. Moreover, it also triggers hormonal imbalance. This imbalance in hormones in the body of a person can lead to acne outbreaks.
- Oily scalp and skin: The skin of a person and scalp can be oily. Particularly, when you do not wash the hair on a regular basis, there is a huge chance that you will have acne breakouts on your skin. In this case, not only on the forehead but the scalp can also be under the influence of pimples.
- Hair products: Every hair product is not suitable for everybody. Each person has a different requirement in terms of skin, and a good dermatologist always considers it before making any recommendations. When you use products that are unsuitable, there are strong chances that the reaction will occur and as a result, the acne will be there on your forehead and scalp.
Keeping the things above aside, according to Chinese Face Map technique, acne on forehead means that there are issues with your digestive system. It also suggests that there may be some malfunctioning with your small intestine and liver. Other problems that this ancient technique associated with acne on the forehead is improper sleep and unhealthy diet.
How to prevent forehead acne?
Enough on how to get rid of acne, let’s talk about its prevention. There are certain steps that you can take in order to stay away from forehead acne. These include:
- Washing your hair often: In case that you are suffering from forehead acne, ensure that you wash your hair often. Particularly, people that have bangs or hair that fall on the forehead should pay attention to this point. The falling hair can transfer oil and impurities to your forehead that can cause acne.
- Avoid contact: If you are suffering from forehead acne and it often occurs on your skin, avoid making contact with this region often. If you are to touch it again and again, wash your hands properly with a good sanitizer.
- Do not use hats: Hats can cover the forehead of a person, and it will lead to pimples. The oil and impurities build up there and transfer from your hair to your hat and from the hat to your forehead. Thus, avoid using them. If you have to make use of hats, then make it certain that you wash them properly.
- Use clean pillows and bedsheets: As you sleep with your face on the pillows, using a dirty pillow can cause acne on your forehead. Try making use of clean pillows and sheets as much as possible as it will help in preventing breakouts.