What Does It Mean When Acne Is on Certain Areas of Your Face?
Acne can be annoying for adults and teens alike. Learn how you can get it under control with some helpful tips from a dermatologist.
When you have a breakout, it can feel like you’re walking around with a flashing neon sign on your face that says, “ZIT ALERT!!” How can you banish those blemishes (and turn off that annoying imaginary sign)?
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As dermatologist Amy Kassouf, MD, explains, “Acne is common, so it seems like it should be easy to treat. But so many factors play into it, including genetics, hormones and the natural flora [aka healthy bacteria] of your skin.”
One clue to what’s going on? Location, location, location. “Where on your face you have the acne helps determine how to treat it,” Dr. Kassouf says. This is called acne face mapping. In some cases, acne in a specific area of the face can be linked to a deeper issue. In other cases, acne might just be coincidental or genetic. Keep reading to learn more about common places for facial acne and how you can stop it in its tracks.
If you’ve ever read a beauty blog or magazine, you know about the T-zone. Dr. Kassouf says the T-shaped area across your forehead and down the nose is a prime locale for classic blackheads and whiteheads. That’s because this area tends to have more oil glands than other parts of the face.
To treat T-zone acne, try:
The jawline and chin are sensitive to hormones, Dr. Kassouf says. Teen boys often get acne along the jawline during growth spurts. Girls and women may see their chins erupt as hormones ebb and flow during their menstrual cycles. Compared to typical T-zone pimples, acne here is likely to be deeper, bigger and more inflamed, she says.
Unlike breakouts on your chin or T-zone, spots on your cheeks don’t necessarily reveal much about the underlying cause. Could be genetic, could be a fluke …
“Cheeks don’t tell us much,” Dr. Kassouf admits. Still, there are some things to keep in mind when treating blemishes here.
The skin on your cheeks tends to get dry and irritated more easily than the skin on the rest of your face, so don’t go crazy with acne treatments, she says. You can treat cheeks with the same products you use elsewhere, including salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and retinoids.
But instead of applying it daily, go for every other day on your cheeks. “You’ll still get the benefits without the irritation,” she says.
Wherever your breakouts tend to erupt, these general skincare tips can help:
We all have to take our lumps sometimes. But if you can read the clues in your breakouts, those lumps will hopefully be few and far between.