Skip to main content

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

  1. blog
  2. > Skin Concerns

What causes chin acne, and how can you get rid of it?

A dermatology provider explains what you need to know about treating these frustrating blemishes.

headshot of Corinne Currier, PA-C
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
featuring Corinne Currier
Updated on Jan 26, 2024 • 11 min read
Medically reviewed by Erin Pate, NP-C
Woman with Chin Acne
headshot of Corinne Currier, PA-C
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
featuring Corinne Currier
Updated on Jan 26, 2024 • 11 min read
Medically reviewed by Erin Pate, NP-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

In this article

What causes chin acne?
More

Chin acne can be stubborn and confusing to treat. To help us better understand and tackle this type of acne, we consulted with one of our experts, Corinne Currier, PA-C, a physician assistant specializing in dermatology. With years of experience in the field, Currier brings a wealth of knowledge in skin health and acne treatment. 

So, let’s dive into the science behind chin acne and look at her practical tips and solutions to help you combat these unwelcome visitors!

What causes chin acne?

Chin acne can be a real puzzle—these pimples aren't just a result of the products you put on your skin. Acne on this part of your body results from hormones. They’re big players here! Androgenic hormones like testosterone ramp up your skin's oil production, which can lead to acne, especially around the chin area.¹ This is even more noticeable at certain times, like just before your period, during pregnancy, or with specific birth control. 

Genetics also play a role, so if your family has a history of acne, you might be more likely to get it, too.² 

Stress is another factor that can make your skin produce more oil, leading to breakouts.³ As our specialist explains, “Fluctuations in hormones, including testosterone, can influence hormonal acne which can lead to an overproduction of sebum (oil), which can cause clogged pores and inflamed acne lesions. 

Hormonal acne often appears around the lower cheeks, jawline, and chin and can be episodic, flaring up during menstrual cycles and hormonal changes like puberty, pregnancy, and even menopause. Factors like diet, stress, medications, and lifestyle can exacerbate these breakouts.”

So, chin acne is a complex mix of internal factors like hormones and external triggers that clog your pores.

How common is chin acne?

Corinne Currier, PA-C, sheds light on the prevalence of chin acne, mainly linked to hormonal changes. She explains that hormonal acne is quite common, particularly among adolescents and women in their 20s and 30s. Interestingly, it’s not just limited to younger age groups; women in their 40s and 50s can also experience it. People undergoing hormone replacement therapy are another group commonly affected by this type of acne.

It isn’t just hormonal changes that cause these age groups to experience chin acne. 

She explains: “The main contributing factor to the development of hormonal acne is fluctuations in hormone levels, especially an increase in androgens, such as testosterone. However, other factors that can play a part in hormonal acne include menstrual cycles, certain medical conditions, genetics, medications, diet, lifestyle, and stress.”

How do doctors know if your chin acne is hormonal or not?

When it comes to figuring out if chin acne is hormonal, doctors have a specific approach. Currier explains: “Hormonal acne is mainly diagnosed through a combination of reviewing the patient’s medical history, performing a physical examination, and analyzing the pattern and location of the breakout. Blood tests that look at various hormone levels can also assist in making the diagnosis.”

For women, the process often involves specific blood tests to measure hormone levels, including testosterone, DHEA, LH, and FSH.⁴ These tests are beneficial if there’s a suspicion of conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and sometimes an ultrasound might be done to check the ovaries. Timing is important for these tests; they’re most effective during the first five days of the menstrual cycle, ideally between 8-10am, to ensure accurate results.⁵

Interestingly, most patients with hormonal acne don’t have hormone changes noted in their labwork.⁶ However, these tests are essential in identifying subtle hormonal imbalances contributing to the acne. This comprehensive approach helps diagnose hormonal acne accurately, ensuring that patients receive the most appropriate treatment.⁷

Treatments for chin acne 

Treating chin acne, mainly when it’s hormonal, can be a bit more complex due to its deep-rooted causes. Currier tells us: “Since the underlying cause of hormonal acne takes place deep within our bodies, it may not respond to typical topical medications and could require treatment that specifically targets hormones, such as birth control, spironolactone, and diet modifications.”

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best researched-backed treatments for chin acne on the market today.

Medication

When it comes to medications for treating hormonal chin acne, there are several effective options. 

Currier says, “One of the best medications for treating hormonal acne is spironolactone, which is available both topically and orally. Certain birth control pills can also help with hormonal breakouts. Another beneficial topical medication is tretinoin, which aids in cellular turnover.”

Also, antibiotics can help treat adult women’s acne, particularly when combined with topical products for a synergistic effect.⁸ Tetracycline antibiotics are commonly prescribed for this purpose. 

In cases where acne is driven by hormonal imbalances, such as severe seborrhea, premenstrual worsening, changes during the endocrine cycle, or persistent inflammatory acne, hormone-based treatments are an effective treatment. These treatments work by regulating excess sebum production, tackling one of the root causes of acne.⁹

Topicals

When it comes to topicals for chin acne, there’s quite a variety to choose from, each with its own effects. 

These are some of the best topicals you can opt for.¹⁰

Retinoids: These are one of the most common acne treatments. Retinoids like adapalene and tretinoin help with acne spots, including red, inflamed ones, and minor bumps. In one study, when tretinoin was paired with spironolactone, there was an increase in the efficacy of treating adult female acne. The two make a powerful duo.

Benzoyl peroxide: A classic, but it can be a bit drying. So, if you have dry skin, it might be a better idea to use a lower concentration, 5% or less.

Azelaic acidThis one’s a triple threat—it reduces acne, is effective in reducing post-inflammatory pigmentation, and overall, improves the quality of your skin.

Good skincare: Don’t forget your skincare basics! Moisturizers and sunscreens are your best friends. They help deal with the dryness and sensitivity that may be caused by acne treatments.

Glycolic acid: If you’re dealing with rough texture or dark marks left by old acne, this might become your go-to. It’s great for smoothing things out and brightening up your skin.

While dealing with chin acne might seem daunting, these topical treatments offer a range of solutions to tackle different aspects of acne, from reducing inflammation to improving your skin’s appearance.

Diet

Making a few changes to your diet may make a difference. According to our expert, tweaking what you eat and drink can be beneficial. She suggests, “Diet changes, such as reducing or avoiding simple sugars/carbohydrates and dairy have been shown to significantly reduce hormonal breakouts.”

With that said, if you're struggling with hormonal acne, it might be worth giving these dietary adjustments a try. It’s all about finding the right balance and seeing what works for your body and skin.

A good skincare routine

Dealing with acne, especially the hormonal kind, definitely calls for a solid skincare routine. As Currier points out, “Acne is multifactorial, so having good skincare that can help with controlling excess oil production, reducing inflammation, and helping with cell turnover is important. When managing hormonal acne, you want to ensure that your skincare products are non-comedogenic and non-irritating. A couple of great skincare ingredients that can help assist in reducing hormonal acne include niacinamide, prescription retinoids, and AHAs.”

What does this mean for your daily skincare? First off, you want to pick products that won’t clog your pores or irritate your skin. Niacinamide may help reduce inflammation.¹¹ Retinoids are superstars for cell turnover, which helps keep your pores clear and your skin smooth.¹² And AHAs? They're great for gently exfoliating the skin.¹³

A great place to start is the Curology 3-step routine. It’s straightforward and designed to be gentle yet effective for acne-prone skin. The key is consistency and choosing products that support your skin’s health without causing further irritation. 

Keeping your skin clean and clear

You can help ensure your skin stays clean and clear by following some essential skincare habits. Here are 6 key practices for effective acne management:

  • Gentle cleansing: This is crucial. Use a mild cleanser to keep your skin clean without over-drying or irritating it.

  • Avoid alcohol-based products: These can be too harsh and drying, especially on acne-prone skin.

  • Regular shampooing for oily hair: If you have oily hair, keeping it clean may also help reduce oil on your face.

  • Patience with treatments: Acne treatments can take time to work, so patience is key. Don't give up too soon!

  • Don’t touch your face: It’s tempting, we know, but touching your face can spread bacteria and worsen acne.

  • Protect your skin from the sun: Sun exposure can make acne worse. Always use a non-comedogenic sunscreen before stepping outside.* Consistent sunscreen use can help prevent post-acne marks from worsening.

Remember, if your acne persists despite these efforts, consider seeing a licensed dermatology provider. They can offer personalized advice and treatments to help prevent scarring and manage your acne more effectively. 

Consistency and the right skincare habits can make a huge difference in maintaining clear, healthy skin!

The key takeaways

  • Chin acne is often linked to hormonal fluctuations, making it common among teenagers and adults. 

  • A family history of chin acne may increase your likelihood of experiencing it, indicating a genetic predisposition.

  • Effective treatment for hormonal chin acne requires a multi-therapeutic approach. This includes topical treatments (like retinoids and benzoyl peroxide), oral medications (such as spironolactone and birth control pills), and lifestyle adjustments, including diet modifications.

  • Maintaining a good skincare routine is crucial. This involves using non-comedogenic and non-irritating products, and ingredients like niacinamide, prescription retinoids, and AHAs can be particularly beneficial in managing hormonal acne.

  • For a more tailored approach to acne treatment, Curology offers custom-formulated skincare products. Our personalized solutions target specific skin concerns, providing an effective way to manage chin acne and achieve clearer skin. 

Clear your skin with Curology 

Tackling chin acne can be quite the journey involving understanding its causes, exploring treatment options, and adopting a skincare routine that works for you. From dietary changes to the right topical treatments and good skincare habits, managing chin acne effectively often requires a personalized approach.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

curology bottle
curology bottle

If you're looking for a tailored solution to help clear your skin, Curology can help. We offer customized formulas designed to target your specific skin concerns, including acne. Why not take the first step towards clearer skin today? Check out our Custom FormulaRx for acne* and see the difference personalized skincare can make. Clear your skin with the help of Curology today!**

Explore Curology’s Custom FormulaRx for acne

FAQs

What causes acne on the chin?

Chin acne is often due to hormonal fluctuations which are common in both teenagers and adults.¹⁴ Factors like stress, poor diet, and improper skincare can worsen it. Genetics and hormonal changes such as those during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or certain birth controls also play a role.¹⁵

How do you get rid of hormonal chin acne?

To treat hormonal chin acne, a combination of methods works best: topical treatments like retinoids and benzoyl peroxide, oral medications like spironolactone or birth control pills,¹⁶ diet modifications, and lifestyle changes. A comprehensive approach targeting both the symptoms and underlying causes is essential. Most importantly, connect with a dermatology provider for expert assistance with your acne journey.

Is chin acne stress acne?

Yes, stress can have an important impact on chin acne.¹⁷ It can lead to hormonal changes that increase oil production in the skin, leading to breakouts. Managing stress through lifestyle changes and relaxation techniques can help reduce its impact on your skin. Easier said than done! 

Is chin acne always hormonal?

While chin acne is often hormonal, it’s not always the case. Factors like genetics, skincare habits, diet, and external environmental factors also contribute. However, hormonal imbalances are a common trigger, especially in adults.

What’s the best way to keep my skin clear?

The best way to keep skin clear includes maintaining a good skincare routine with gentle cleansing, using non-comedogenic products, avoiding harsh chemicals, protecting skin from the sun, and being patient with treatments. Additionally, addressing dietary and lifestyle factors is crucial. Always speak with a dermatology provider if you have questions regarding your skin.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. (January-February 2019).

  2. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  3. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  4. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  5. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  6. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  7. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  8. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  9. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  10. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  11. Madaan, P., et al. Cosmeceutical Aptitudes of Niacinamide: A Review. Recent Adv Antiinfect Drug Discov. (2021, December 16).

  12. Zasada, M. and Budzisz, E. Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. (2019, August 30).

  13. Tang, S.C. and Yang, J.H. Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin. Molecules. (2018, April 10).

  14. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  15. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  16. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

  17. Bagatin, E., et al. Adult female acne: a guide to clinical practice. An Bras Dermatol. Ibid.

Corinne Currier is a certified physician assistant at Curology. She received her Master of Medical Science in physician assistant studies from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA

Erin Pate is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Curology. She earned her Masters of Science in Nursing at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.

**Restrictions apply. See website for full details and important safety information.

***Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our thoughts on sun protection: *Sunscreen is only one part of UV protection—cute sun hats and shades are also recommended.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Erin Pate Nurse Practitioner, NP-C

Erin Pate, NP-C

Related Articles

The best liquid blush for acne-prone skin, according to dermatology providersHow to choose the best moisturizer for acne-prone skinPimple on your stomach? Here’s what you need to knowWhat are those red bumps under your eyes?Acne face mapping: What your skin is trying to tell you

Popular Articles

Ask Curology: Is my cold breaking me out?Slugging: The dermatologist-approved skincare hack going viral on TikTokTretinoin vs retinol: What’s the difference?How to create a self-care routine that actually sticksYour 2023 skincare horoscope
Try prescription skincare
30-day trial. Subject to consultation. Cancel anytime.
Get routine essentials
A display of Curology Custom Formula bottles on a white shelf.

Good skin days ahead

Join the 1M+ patients who’ve tackled everything from acne, to fine lines, to hair thinning with prescription-powered treatments, personalized by a Licensed Dermatology Provider.
Ingredients proven to tackle
  • Breakouts
  • Redness
  • Fine lines
  • Dark spots
  • Hair thinning
$29.95/month
*Subject to consultation. Cancel anytime.
Get StartedShop ProductsWhy CurologyHow It WorksOur StoryCommunity
SupportBlogReviewsCareersContact Us
Follow @curology
Terms of ServicePrivacy Notice
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
All Rights Reserved © 2024 Curology