Pro Tips For Preventing Chin & Jawline Breakouts Long After Your Teen Years

As many of us are well aware, breakout concerns don't disappear by the time we exit adolescence. Since hormonal fluctuations continue to affect us in our 30s, 40s, and beyond, many of us are prone to acne flareups — often in the form of sore, cystic blemishes that appear along the chin and jawline.

These blemishes are, unfortunately, tremendously difficult to treat as they do not respond well to traditional spot treatments. Lasting anywhere from two to four weeks, cystic pimples may also leave behind dark, red, scars that like to linger. The best thing you can do is learn how to prevent these pesky (and often painful) pimples from popping up in the first place. Ahead, my pro tips for dealing with adult acne along the chin and jawline.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
You probably don't even realize how often you touch your face throughout the day, but it's a dirty habit and one that you should stop immediately. From resting your hand on your chin while sitting at your desk to picking and messing with your skin while deep in thought, all of these seemingly harmless actions may actually be contributing to breakouts. It’s important to keep hands off the face and, at the very least, be sure to wash your hands often throughout the day and clean skin very well at night, which will remove acne-causing surface bacteria.
Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Your cell phone screen picks up germs and dirt throughout the day, and when you touch it to your face, you're only displacing all that grime onto your skin. Be sure to wipe down your phone daily to avoid unnecessary bacteria from getting onto your skin and exacerbating breakouts. And, if you can, avoid allowing it to touch your face too often or for long periods of time, no matter how diligent you are about keeping it clean.
Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
If you notice that you are only getting breakouts in one area of the face like the chin or jawline, be careful to only use acne cleansers, masks, or serums on that part of your face. Using these treatment-type products all over your face will dry out the breakout-free areas of the skin, and then you'll not only have annoying jaw acne but also dry patches elsewhere. While it may seem tedious to allocate certain products for use on the chin or breakout-prone area, it is exactly what you want to do; use a few products exclusively on the blemished areas and apply others to the rest of your face.
For some added salicylic acid, you can try a treatment oil. This Sunday Riley U.F.O oil has salicylic acid and beta hydroxy acid, which helps increase cell turnover and prevent breakouts. And thanks to hydrating cucumber seed oil, it won't dry you out.

Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil, $80, available at Sephora.
Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
The goal is to prevent chin acne in the first place. Start with a non-drying, alcohol-free acne serum that contains salicylic acid (a known blemish fighter), which penetrates the pore lining and reduces acne-causing bacteria. Serums are most effective because they are formulated for use under a moisturizer at night and they work over the course of many hours to get deep within the pores. A cleanser or mask with salicylic acid isn’t going to be as effective because it only stays on the skin for a brief period.
This serum is alcohol-free and has salicylic acid to reduce blackheads and fade post-acne scars.

Renée Rouleau BHA Clarifying Serum, $48.50, available at Renee Rouleau.
Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
If you do spot a blemish, treat it as quickly as possible for a speedy recovery. If it is a blemish where the infection will surface with a yellowish whitehead, the best course of action is to not act the minute you feel it coming on. Instead, wait a day or two for the infection to appear on the surface. Waiting will allow you to effectively control the blemish without damaging the skin. Once the whitehead is truly visible, gently squeeze out the infection with your fingers wrapped in a tissue, then apply a spot-drying treatment, as it will work its way into the skin and eradicate any infection. If you apply a drying treatment before the whitehead is on the surface, it will simply dry out the surface of the skin and keep the infection trapped underneath for longer.

If you’re unsure of the type of blemish it is or if it’s a painful, cystic blemish, start treating the infection with an anti-cyst treatment immediately, as this can prevent it from becoming a full-blown blemish. As with any skin-care concern, it is crucial to know what you are dealing with so that you can take the best steps to better skin.
This spot-drying and anti-cyst treatment will stop painful cystic pimples before they become a problem.

Renée Rouleau Night Time Spot Lotion, $30.50, available at Renee Rouleau.
Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
New blemishes can form when older blemishes are not purged correctly, leaving you with small little white-ish bumps all over the chin. These are known as closed comedones or clogged pores. The area can continue to get reinfected until you get your pores cleaned out — preferably in a facial performed by a professional.
If your hands or a washcloth aren't getting the job done, the Clarisonic is a great tool that adds a little oomph to your cleansing routine. (Just make sure you're changing the brush head as recommended, since a dirty one will do way more harm than good.)

Clarisonic Mia 2 Skin Cleansing System, $169, available at Sephora.
This French cleanser's specifically designed to treat acne on oily and problematic skin. With soothing botanicals like calendula, lavender, and rosemary, it won't leave your face flaky and irritated, just soft and glowy. And — bonus — it just makes the TSA cut for travel.

Votre Vu Peau Équilibrée Balancing Cleanser, $36, available at Votre Vu.
Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Skin acts as an excretory system to get rid of substances that don’t agree with your body. Dairy, which is a mucus-forming food, can be difficult for the body to digest. Some anecdotal evidence has shown that it can play a part in acne outbreaks, including cystic acne on the chin and jawline area.

If this sounds like something you may be experiencing, consider cutting out all forms of dairy (yogurt, milk, ice cream, and all cheeses) for three weeks to see if any new breakouts appear. If you don’t develop any new cysts, then you may be able to label too much dairy as the underlying cause of chin breakouts.

But this doesn’t mean that you have to stop eating dairy altogether! Pay attention to what you're putting in your body, and see if you notice a connection with how your skin is behaving.
Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Perhaps you’re on the birth control pill, and you're noticing monthly breakouts. Speak to your gynecologist about switching pills to one that will help keep your skin clear.

Because every person’s body chemistry is different, determining the cause of your breakouts may not happen overnight, but these tips should help you deal with that frustrating adult chin and jawline acne. If you have any specific questions for me, please don’t hesitate to post a comment and I’ll get back with you offering my expert skin advice.
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