If you suffer from acne, you may feel like there’s no rhyme
or reason to where breakouts occur. However, different areas of the face
may be more susceptible to breakouts than others. The skin does not act
in isolation from the rest of the body; in fact, what surfaces on the
skin is often a direct reflection of what’s going on inside the body.
The forehead, nose and chin (known as the t-zone) are often oilier
than the rest of the face and more apt to develop pimples, blackheads
and clogged pores, whereas the skin around the eyes lacks oil glands and
therefore is less breakout-prone.
The American Academy of Dermatology cites hormonal factors as primary causes of adult acne
especially in women. The chin, jaw and neck are typically more
susceptible to these hormonally charged breakouts, which occur when the
production of male hormones called androgens cause an increase in sebum
and/or p. acnes
bacteria. These fluctuations often occur during menopause, when estrogen levels decrease.
Many skin care professionals also support the connection between
the foods we consume and their effect on our skin. Certain foods like
meat, milk and other dairy products contain hormones that are thought to
increase inflammation in the skin. In fact, recent studies confirm the
role of dairy products in cases of hormonal acne.
If breakouts appear primarily on the lower half of your face, try
switching to organic dairy products, which contain fewer artificial
hormones; even better, reduce the amount of dairy products in your diet.
Alternative forms of medicine rely on a traditional face mapping
technique to determine the source of many medical conditions, including
acne. According to this system, the face is divided into regions that
are affected by various dietary and lifestyle habits.
For example, eating fresh fruits and vegetables may alleviate
breakouts around the lips, while acne on the cheeks can be improved
through the inclusion of “cooling foods” such as winter melons,
cucumbers and green beans in the diet. Other regions of the face, like
the forehead, are purportedly affected by improper sleeping habits or
Often, basic changes in daily habits can improve breakouts in
certain areas of the face. For instance, if you tend to break out on
your forehead, consider the fact that comedogenic hair products may be
clogging pores when hair touches the skin.
Cell phones or headsets—along with your hands—can easily transfer
bacteria to your face. If you are prone to breakouts on the side of your
face or around the chin, clean your phone with rubbing alcohol
regularly and avoid touching your face or resting your face in your
When in doubt, analyze the source of breakouts with guidance from
your doctor—severe or persistent breakouts are best left to a
dermatologist or skin care professional.