I am sure you agree with me on this…
“That pimples on your forehead are the ugliest form of all types of acne as even a rash or tiny bumps on your forehead is enough to ruin your charming face and self-esteem.
How much you try to conceal your forehead acne with layers of foundation, it is bound to disappoint your makeup efforts with no possible solution in sight.”
But that does not mean you should lose hope upon noticing cystic acne on your forehead as there are solid OTC & home remedies that can effectively treat and prevent your frustrating forehead acne.
So, are you ready to learn why are you breaking out on your head? Then don’t miss out on a wealth of information – A to Z – about dealing with those ugly pimples on your forehead given below.
What causes forehead acne?
Acne, a chronic skin condition, whether, in the form of Whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts or nodules, the underlying cause is the same – oil called sebum, produced naturally from tiny glands called sebaceous glands to protect the skin from getting dry.
However, due to some external factors like dirt, excess oil, and dead skin cells, the pores – the passage of this oil up toward the skin surface gets clogged triggering the growth of bacteria inside it creating swollen bumps which you call pimples or forehead acne.
So, in short, according to medicalnewstoday, any factor messing with the production of oil/sebum is the primary cause of any type of acne.
But what are those factors that lead to abnormal production of this sebum/oil? Let’s find below.
1. Hormonal imbalance
An expected imbalance in hormone levels in individuals reaching puberty is the primary reason behind common acne on the face or other body parts like chin, nose, neck, etc.
2. Certain medications
If you frequently use certain medications like anticonvulsants, lithium or steroids, you can potentially develop acne on your forehead.
3. Hair products (pomade acne)
Frequently using certain harsh hair products like gels, oils, or waxes can potentially lead to a particular type of acne called pomade acne – acne due to hair products. Particularly, hair styling and hair straightening are notorious for causing acne.
4. Allergic skin
Also called Contact dermatitis which develops when you have a relatively allergic/easily-irritated skin, just a normal makeup on your forehead, wearing a hat or frequent picking of your forehead tiny bumps or rashes can aggravate to serious acne.
5. Skin conditions
If you have certain skin conditions like Ringworm, Rosacea, and Folliculitis (an infection of the hair follicle), you have a good chance of developing those ugly pimples on your forehead.
6. High processed carbs – rich diet
Recent studies have shown that poor quality carbs-rich diets like skimmed milk, bread, bagel, and chips can aggravate acne.
7. Poor hygiene
If you don’t wash your face and hair on a daily basis, there are strong chances of you developing those pimples on your forehead as unwashed/uncleaned oil gets deposited on your forehead and clogs pores.
8. Stress & anxiety
Recent studies have uncovered an elusive link between stress and outbreaks but things remain unclear as to why this happens.
Treating Forehead Acne
Just like acne on other body parts, acne on your forehead is equally treatable. However, the type of treatment would depend entirely upon the severity of acne.
For a milder type of acne, just a routine use of some topical OTC treatments can help but for more serious type of acne, you need to look for some medicated prescription treatments.
Whichever anti-acne you treatment you employ, each works primarily by inhibiting sebum production, shrinking bacterial growth space or assisting in unclogging of pores by triggering the shedding of dead skin cells.
A) Topical treatments for forehead acne
If you have a milder type of forehead acne, then this type of OTC topical treatment should be your first way to go according to webmd.
1. Gentle cleansing with soap and water
For a milder type of acne on your forehead, just a gentle cleaning of the face with water and soap for a couple of times in a day is enough to help with those ugly pimples on your forehead.
However, don’t do aggressive scrubbing as it can lead to other potential skin problems.
2. Cleansers rich in benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, salicylic acid or sulfur.
Cleansers rich in these ingredients are another good option against treating those ugly bumps on your forehead. Why these compounds are effective? Let’s look at each of them.
- Benzoyl peroxide – benzoyl peroxide treats acne by damaging the bacteria underlying the acne on your forehead. However, it works only when it is regularly used and does not affect the normal sebum production or the normal shedding process of skin cells.It is available in the market in different forms like lotions, gels, washes, foam, etc.
- Salicylic acid – Unlike benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid does not affect normal sebum production and does not destroy the acne bacteria but it does treat the abnormal shedding of cells which helps with the unclogging of pores to treat acne.
However, just like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid should also be used regularly to have some impact on your ongoing acne problem (it effects stop when you don’t use regularly).
It is available in the market various acne products in the form of lotions, creams, or pads.
- Sulfur – Being a part of a lot of acne treatment medications like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, it has been known to work against acne but the exact way it benefits against acne is yet to be clarified by experts
A topical retinol gel works by disabling the pimples to form in the first place. Moreover, it helps to increase the cell turnover of skin cells to impair the growth of cells which leads to unblocking of pores and hence curing acne.
That’s why you would find your acne getting worse before you witness any improvement.
Finally, just like other acne treatments mentioned above, it must be used regularly to see encouraging results, typically about 2-3 months.
Note please: Differin Gel is the only approved topical retinoid anti-acne treatment.
4. Alcohol & acetone
Although generally not recommended for acne but the antibacterial properties of alcohol & acetone can help cleaning up oil the skin surface to help control acne. However, they can also dry out the skin and not research-proven to actually work for acne.
B) Prescription treatment for forehead acne
If you have a serious type of acne on your forehead, professionally recommended prescription treatment is the best option for those ugly pimples on your forehead according to Webmd.
But what these prescription treatments include in them, let’s find out.
Antibiotics taken orally or topically, help against your acne by cleaning up the skin from any potential acne-causing bacteria which directly reduces their inflammation. They are generally found in the form of creams, gels, solutions, pads, foams or lotions.
Examples of topical antibiotics are in the form of clindamycin and erythromycin. Examples of oral antibiotics are found in the form of doxycycline, minocycline, and tetracycline.
2. Retinoids (vitamin A)
Available both as topical or oral drugs, retinoids can help clear up acne by improving the shedding and growing of skin cells.
A good treatment for severe cystic acne on the forehead is isotretinoin but there are certain side effects of retinoids too like they can cause, redness, dryness and itchy skin.
However, they also can be a serious problem for pregnant women as they can lead to serious birth defects and should never be used during this time period.
Other side effects are
- Dry skin
- Joint pain
- High cholesterol levels
- Temporary hair fall
With that being said, most people can tolerate these side effects and you should not give up your regular acne treatment until you don’t see a real problem for quite some time.
3. Azelaic acid
Generally used for treating a skin condition called rosacea, but when used in the form of cream or a gel, Azelaic acid’s strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can cure a mild type of acne.
A topical gel that has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties for treating acne.
5. Oral contraceptives (only for women)
As the name suggests, these birth control pills can easily counter the effects of male hormones on acne which can cure it to some extent. But that being said, you can see its results in 3-4 months on your acne at most, and if it doesn’t seem to work, you can switch over for other treatments.
Finally, like other treatments, they have their side effects in the form of
- weight gain,
- breast tenderness,
- and blood clots.
C) How to naturally treat forehead acne?
While the conventional OTC treatments for acne are effective but they can be expensive and could have some serious side effects like dryness, redness, and irritation. So, why not look out for some natural treatment that is equally effective and has no serious side effects.
So, what are some of the best natural treatments for acne? Are they research supported? Let’s have a look at them.
Best Home remedies for forehead acne
Below are some of the best home remedies that deserved to be tried at once according to Healthline.
1. Apple cider vinegar for acne
Apple cider vinegar is an unfiltered juice made from apples.
How it can help acne?
- Much like other vinegar, it has been supported by research to have excellent antibacterial efficacy to combat a number of harmful bacteria and viruses types.
- A number of organic acids found in it have been found to kill P.acnes, especially succinic acid has been found to fight inflammation caused by it and potential scarring.
- Finally, apple cider vinegar acid has been found to fight excessive oil secretion by drying it up and lactic acid found in it can reduce scars due to acne.
How to use it for acne treatment?
- Take water and apple cider vinegar in a 1:3 ratio.
- Now using a cotton ball, apply the mixture on the clean body surface and leave it for about 1 minute.
- After this much time, simply rinse off the mixture and let it dry.
Use this remedy for at least 1-2 times a day for best results.
It is important to note that applying apple cider vinegar to your skin can cause burns and irritation, so it should always be used in small amounts and diluted with water.
2. Zinc supplement for acne
While zinc is a critical nutrient for a number of crucial body functions like hormone production, immune functioning, and metabolic activity, but it has great benefits for acne too.
- Recent research has found that people with acne have a low quantity of zinc in their bodies than those who don’t have acne.
- According to another research study, it was found that patients who were administered oral zinc supplements 2-3 times a day for 8 weeks, were found to have a whopping 80-100% reduction of pimples.
Recommended intake – The optimal safe dosage of zinc has been found to be about 35-45 mg as per various studies as exceeding this limit could lead to potentially harmful effects like digestive disorders and gut irritation.
It is also important to note that applying zinc to the skin has not been shown to be effective. This may be because zinc is not effectively absorbed through the skin.
3. Honey – Cinnamon mask for acne
How it benefits forehead acne?
- Both honey and cinnamon rich in powerful antioxidants that are very effective against minimizing ance than other treatments like benzoyl peroxide & retinoids.
- Both Honey and Cinnamon have been found to suppress triggering factors of acne – bacteria & inflammation
How to make this mask?
- Simply mix about 2-3 tbsp of honey with 1-2 tbsp of cinnamon and get a unique post
- On a cleansed face, simply layer the mask on your face and leave it for 10-20 minutes.
- After this much time, simply rinse off with water and let it dry out
4. Tea tree oil for acne
- The essential oil extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, has been found to have great abilities for combating bacteria & skin inflammation – the underlying causes of acne.
- A number of research studies have found that regularly applying about 4-5% of tea tree oil can significantly benefit against acne as compared to the same quantity of benzoyl peroxide when used over a period of 3 months.
Moreover, It didn’t lead to serious side effects like dryness, irritation or burning sensation as compared to benzoyl peroxide.
How to use it?
- Simply mix tea tree oil and water in 1:9 ratio
- Now, on a cleansed face, using a cotton swab, gently layer over your forehead and use a good moisturizer after it (optional).
- Use this for twice daily for good results.
5. Green tea for acne
Rich in good quality antioxidants, Green tea, when applied topically has been shown to help with acne (drinking it can promote good health too).
Essentially, according to research, green tea is rich antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents called flavonoids & tennis, which directly benefits against acne.
Particularly, a major antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) inhibits the production of sebum and P.acnes – and acne-causing bacteria which directly benefit acne-prone people.
In short, according to a number of studies, just an application of about 2 – 4% topical green tea extract can greatly control sebum production which suppresses pimples. While you get some green tea containing lotions & creams, but you can conveniently make your own green tea remedy at home.
How to use it?
- Simply put the green tea leaves in hot boiling water for 2-4 minutes and let the mixture to cool down.
- Now on a cleansed ance area, simply apply it with a cotton ball.
- After 10-15 minutes, once it has dried, rinse it off with water.
6. Lemon (lemon juice ) for acne
Lemon juice of lemon, rich in vitamin C, has strong antibacterial & antiinflammatory properties which can produce great results for acne and other skin issues.
What do you need?
- About 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice
- About 2-3 tbsp of water
- Plain cotton bails
How to use it for treating your forehead pimples?
- Simply mix lemon juice and water in 1: 3 ration and shake well.
- Now, with a dipped cotton ball, simply apply all over your forehead area and leave it for 20-25 minutes.
- After this much time, simply rinse it off.
- You can drink lemon juice twice a day for added benefits for your health
Use this lemon juice mask for 3-4 times a week safely
7. Try out witch hazel for acne.
Extracted from the bark and leaves of witch hazel shrub, Hamamelis virginiana, witch hazel has some powerful antibacterial & anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its component called ‘tennis’.
Thanks to its powerful antibacterial properties, it is effective against a number of other skin conditions like dandruff, eczema, varicose veins, burns, bruises, and of course, acne.
However, Unfortunately, there aren’t any studies on the ability of witch hazel to treat acne specifically.
How to Use It?
- Simply mix about 1 tbsp of witch hazel bark & about 1 cup of water.
- Now, soak up witch hazel for about half an hour and after taking out, let it boil up
- After this, reduce the heat and let it be covered for 10-15 minutes further.
- Now, simply let it cool down and strain it in a clean, sealed container
- Finally, Apply to clean skin using a cotton ball 1–2 times per day, or as desired.
8. Deep Aloe Vera moisturizing for acne
- A tropical plant producing a clear gel is a common ingredient in a variety of OTC lotions, creams, ointments, soaps to treat a number of concerns like rashes, burns and other serious skin conditions.
- Salicylic acid and Sulphur found in Aloe Vera, are commonly used for treating acne, healing wounds, treating burns and fighting inflammation.
While research shows great promise, the anti-acne benefits of aloe vera itself require further scientific evidence.
How to use it?
- Simply scrap the gel from the aloe vera plant by using a spoon.
- Now, layer this gel directly on a cleansed skin just like you would use a normal moisturizer.
- After 10-15 minutes, simply rinse it off with lukewarm water and let it dry.
- Use this remedy for 1-2 times per day for maximum results.
You can also buy aloe vera gel from the store, but make sure it is pure aloe without any added ingredients.
9. Fish oil supplement for acne
- Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fats, found in fish have a multitude of a multitude of health benefits.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) & DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) found in fish oil are found to be beneficial for skin by controlling excess oil production and keeping adequate hydration which directly helps in treating acne.
- Moreover, high levels of both EPA & DHA are good anti-inflammatory agents, which directly helps to treat acne. This has been validated by research too.
In a study done, about 45 people were administered diet rich in omega-3 supplements containing both EPA & DHA each day up to 10 weeks. As expected, acne was cured to a great extent.
How much daily to take?
While there is not a specific daily dosage recommended for these fatty acids, but professionals generally consume about 300-500 mg of fish oil rich in both DHA & EPA.
Other goods sources of omega – 3 fatty acids are.
- Chia seeds
10. Exfoliate Regularly for acne
Exfoliation – the process of removing away the topmost layer of dead skin cells accomplished both by a mechanical ( with a brush/scrub) and chemical ( e.g salicylic acid) which dissolves the top skin layer causing acne.
Moreover, by removing the topmost layer of skin, it allows for the effective penetration of other acne treatments i.e exfoliation offers dual benefits.
Finally, exfoliation in itself has not been found to directly help acne, rather, microdermabrasion, a type of exfoliation is found to reasonable improve the acne-prone skin surface. Unfortunately, the research on exfoliation and its ability to treat acne is limited.
Some studies show that microdermabrasion, which is a method of exfoliation, can improve the skin’s appearance, including some cases of acne scarring
In a small study involving about 25 people suffering from acne, when treated with microdermabrasion weekly for a period of time, significantly helped against acne. Yet while these results indicate that exfoliation may improve acne, more research is needed.
How to make a homemade exfoliating scrub?
- Take about equal quantities of sugar & coconut oil and mix them well to get a uniform mixture.
- Now, simply scrub this mask on your affected skin and rinse it off after 5-10 minutes.
- Try this daily for up to 1 week to see good results.
Or as a good alternative, buy some good readymade facial scrubs to avoid all the above hassles.
11. Ditch High-glycemic diet
While the effect of diet on aggravating or treating acne is a controversial issue but recent evidence does point that the hormonal level of insulin affecting glycemic might affect acne, according to a nutritional study.
Glycemic index (GI) of food which is how quickly a food can raise your blood sugar level is very closely related to acne.
Actually, A food high in GI foods leads to high levels of insulin in the blood which is known for directly increasing the production levels of sebum – a factor which directly concerns acne, thus high GI foods can aggravate acne.
Similarly, foods high in GI can lower insulin levels in the blood which directly helps to ease the severity of acne to an extent.
According to one study involving more than 40 people who consumed either of the two types of diet for 12 weeks, the people who consumed a low GI index diet witnessed better results against acne as compared to people who consumed high GI ( carbs rich foods).
Foods with a high GI are:
- white bread,
- sugary soft drinks,
- sugary breakfast cereals and other processed foods.
Foods with a low GI are:
- nuts and whole
- minimally processed grains.
12. Beware of dairy products
While there is no direct evidence of dairy and acne but according to some research studies, consumption of dairy products and milk can trigger the hormonal imbalance which can lead to potential aggravation of acne.
According to the other few studies, high consumption of milk can increase the risk of acne.
However, since the participants were not being supervised for appropriate actions, this data is unreliable and hence more research is required to establish a causal link between dairy and aggravated-acne.
13. Manage your stress to manage stress acne
While this might be surprising for your stress is actually a potential acne aggravating source.
Essentially, when you are stressed, the hormonal secretion caused by it leads to a drastic increase in sebum production & skin-inflammation which directly affects acne to make it worse according to various studies.
In fact, there are many other studies that have witnessed a direct link between stress levels and an increase in acne severity. What’s worse about stress is that it can slow the normal rate of healing of wounds (up to 40%), a lot of them could be potential acne wounds.
So, what should you do then? Well, there are good stress-reduction treatments but there are simple DIY ways to too like.
- Get more sleep
- Engage in physical activity
- Practice yoga
- Take deep breaths
13. Follow an exercising routine
Regular exercising can help against acne due to the following important reasons.
- Exercises allow healthy daily blood circulation to help increase the supply of nutrient-rich newer blood cells to skin cells which helps in healing acne.
- Exercise can help by regulating hormonal level to normal levels which keeps acne control in check
- Finally, regular exercises can greatly help with stress and anxiety which are known to directly contribute towards acne.
How to do it?
For best anti-acne effects, do about 25-30 minutes of daily exercise 4-5 times per week involving a mix of exercise types like walking, hiking, running, and weightlifting.
Do’s & Don’ts for forehead acne
The following are a few things that you must abide by if you want to quickly recover from that ugly pimples on your forehead.
- Give your forehead acne treatment at least 4 weeks to work
- Properly checkout the real cause of acne before treatment.
- Always wash face after an exercise to avoid acne due to sweating
- Always try to use Non-comedogenic, Non-acnegenic, Oil-free skin products
- Regularly wash your pillowcases, hats, and other things that touch your acne-prone skin
- Avoid touching, picking, and popping your acne pimples on your forehead.
- Don’t treat severe acne without a professional intervention so always follow the treatment directions strictly.
Forehead acne prevention: How to never allow acne to come back?
If you don’t want to go through the pains of treating your ugly pimples on the forehead, then strictly adhere to the saying ‘Prevention is better than cure”.
The following are some of the best preventative tips to keep any ugly pimples at bay.
- Always avoid wearing tight-fitting headwears that rub against your forehead.
- Throw out harsh skin products from your regimen.
- Never touch or poop your lonely pimples on your forehead. This could help them spread over all over your forehead and face.
- Don’t leave your makeup on face throughout the night.
- Always cleanse your face after physical activity as sweating can clog your pores.
- Don’t stay for long in the sun without a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
- Don’t use makeup, cleansers and other skincare products labeled as ‘comedogenic’ or ‘pomade’ as this means they will clog your pores and cause acne.
- Don’t use products that can irritate the skin, like cleansers that contain alcohol.
Face mapping acne: what those pimples on your face mean?
So you just read everything about your forehead acne, what it happens and how it can be treated. But this begets a few other questions about acne spots on different parts of the face and you are like.
What acne spots on my cheeks tell my skincare? OR What about those on my hairline and do they have something to do with my hair care? OR Are those pimples on my jawline due to hormonal imbalance? And much more.
Let’s try to sort each of these face areas and uncover what you need to rectify whether it is your lifestyle or your regular body care.
1. Acne around your hairline – pomade acne
As the name indicates, pomade acne is due to pomades which are thick, mineral-based products that block the normal secretion of sebum from hair follicles resulting in clogging of pores and hence acne.
How to treat it?
- Always use non-comedogenic products without having cocoa butter, coloring, tar, etc.
- Once a week, do use a good clarifying shampoo to cleanse your pores and remove any product buildup.
2. Acne on cheeks
Acne/pimples on your cheeks primarily due to these two factors
- Your cell phone: traces of E.coli bacteria on your phone spread over your cheeks as you hold to your face.
- Dirty pillows – Long sleeping hours on dirty pillows can lead to potential pimples if not taken care of.
How to treat it?
- Clean up your phone with a soft issue every time you get on a call.
- Swap/wash up your pillowcases at least once a week
3. Acne on jawline – chin acne
Hormonal imbalance during puberty or in menstrual cycle in women can lead to overestimation of oil glands which clogs pores resulting in acne. Now, this hormonal imbalance could also be due to diet ( a high Glycemic index diet, GI, for instance).
How to treat it?
- Check out your diet and see if you are eating highly processed foods (carbs rich)
- Get some professionally recommended topical acne treatments
While this type of modern version of face mapping can be helpful in quickly determining the underlying causes of breakouts, but you should never consider it a one-size-fits-all solution.
Moreover, If the above-mentioned lifestyle changes do not seem to work, then it’s time for an appointment for a professional dermatologist who can help you in creating a treatment regimen to calm down acne.
4. Acne on T-zone – It’s Oil
If you’re getting breakouts in the T-zone area, think oil and stress immediately in this case of forehead acne pimples.
A large-scale study involving 160 male high school students in Singapore found that high stress doesn’t have any direct effect on oil production, but it can aggravate already acne.
Another study, published in the Acta Dermato, found that people who woke up tired were more likely to have acne as well.
How to treat it effectively?
So, it seems that stress and sleep have a direct effect on acne. If you notice a pattern, try meditating before bed or practicing good sleep hygiene, or even listening to music or exercising (even for a few minutes) are good natural ways to relieve stress.
Furthermore, Also, never forget to avoid touching your forehead frequently because an average person touches their face hundreds of times per day, thus spreading oils and dirt directly into the pores potentially aggravating acne chances.
Q: What is the reason for acne on the forehead?
Ans: The following are the common reasons for acne on your forehead.
High processed carbs-rich diet
Poor personal hygiene
Stress & anxiety
Q: Why is my forehead randomly breaking out?
Ans: Your forehead is breaking out due to the following potential reasons.
High processed carbs-rich diet
Poor personal hygiene
Stress & anxiety
Q: Do hats cause forehead acne?
Ans: Yes, it is called acne mechanica. Actually anything which can rub off with your head could be a potential acne trigger. Since hat/helmets fit tightly on the head, it can lead to forehead easily.
Q: What foods cause forehead acne?
Foods having a high Glycemic Index (GI) – highly processed foods can cause forehead acne.
These foods are
sugary soft drinks,
sugary breakfast cereals and other processed foods.
Q: Why am I breaking out?
Ans: The reason you are breaking out is the following
High processed carbs-rich diet
Poor personal hygiene
Stress & anxiety
Q: Why is my face breaking out?
Ans: Your face could be breaking out because of the following potential reasons.
High processed carbs-rich diet
Poor personal hygiene
Stress & anxiety