Breakouts—they come and go, and unfortunately, sometimes the peskiest of pimples will last longer than others. Since there’s only so much a great concealer can do to mask blemishes, we’re getting to the root of acne causes with the help of Annie Tevelin, the founder of results-driven skincare brand, SkinOwl.
“Figuring out why we break out is one of the most frustrating things to navigate. Many times, people question the skincare and makeup products they’re using, but overlook the messages our organs and hormones send us. With so many environmental factors, such as stress, weather, dehydration, and processed food, it’s overwhelming to think that our whole life needs an overhaul in order to get to the bottom of our breakouts. It’s important to have all the information so that we can go after our breakouts with knowledge and consistency. Below, I’m mapping out the main causes of acne for different areas of the face.
1. Brow Line
Excess makeup, such as brow pencil and concealer, that isn’t properly washed off at night can result in breakouts above the eyebrows. Additionally, acne can occur from waxing the brows, as this can inflame the skin. This is also a hotbed for hormonal flare-ups during puberty. Hormonal imbalances and poor regulation can spark brow blemishes.
The most common cause of forehead breakouts is hair products, such as conditioner, hairspray, and hair dye. Bladder and digestive system issues, such as dehydration and over-consumption of processed food, also trigger forehead acne. So do anxiety and nervous system irregularities, which can prompt a spike in cortisol. Insufficient sleep and poor diet are also culprits with forehead spots.
3. In Between Brows
This area is heavy in oil glands and is the foundation of the T-zone. An overproduction of sebum can set off eyebrow breakouts, as can hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, menses, and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Make sure to drink a lot of water if you find yourself breaking out in this area. The gallbladder is also linked to the eyebrows, so I’d recommend a deeper look if the acne persists.
Your ears and temples contain oil glands that are usually compromised by hair products and dirt, thus clogging pores and sebaceous glands. They are also prone to eczema breakouts. Ear pimples are usually clogged comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) or milia, both of which are examples of clogged pores.
Blame dirty pillowcases and cellphones, especially if you only see breakouts on one side of the face. This is also where dirty makeup sponges and brushes leave their trail of terror. The upper cheek area is linked to the lungs, whereas the lower cheek is linked to the mouth. Gingivitis, smoking, halitosis, and bronchitis all show up on the cheeks.
Sleep, sleep, sleep. Breakouts in this area are caused by a lack of sleep and water intake. Keep an eye on an over-productive tear gland, rubbing your eyes, leftover makeup, and allergies. This is also where a lot of eye cream allergies show up, as well as food allergies.
Poor circulation, indigestion, and high blood pressure all show on the nose, either atop or close to the nostrils. Matters of the heart usually show themselves in these areas too, so keep an eye on blood pressure, blood flow, secondhand smoke, and stress. If you use foundation or mineral powder, make sure to wash your sponges and brushes, as this area is prone to blackheads and congestion. Also, spicy foods can show up on your nostrils!
Malabsorption of nutrients, overeating, and liver issues appear on the jawline. Practice clean eating and elimination of inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, caffeine, and sugar to combat breakouts around the jawline. Also, if you are experiencing an unusually high increase in estrogen, keep an eye out for keloids (pimples you can’t pop) around the jawline.
Chin breakouts correspond to the small and large intestine. If you’re not digesting a certain food properly, it can show up on the chin. Keep an eye on alcohol and caffeine as well, as these can both lead to dehydration, another culprit of chin acne.
Liver, (high) progesterone levels, and ovaries. The neck can also be a hotbed for hyperpigmentation during pregnancy and sunlight exposure. This can also be due to an inflammatory response to detergent, pillowcases, or animal allergies.”