Why You Get Chin Acne—and How to Clear It Up

Updated: Nov. 02, 2019

Chin up! You don't have to suffer from adult acne forever.

As an adult, you have the privilege of voting, legally drinking alcohol, and renting a car. And yet, you’re still battling chin acne like a teenager. Actually, acne isn’t just for sullen teens. About 80 percent of youths and adults between the ages of 11 and 30 suffer acne outbreaks; there are even some people in their forties and fifties unlucky enough to see spots. Chin acne especially targets adults, but you don’t have to suffer.

What does chin acne mean?

According to Doris Day, MD, a dermatologist who specializes in laser, cosmetic and surgical dermatology in New York, NY, chin breakouts are usually the result of a hormonal pattern. “Sometimes it’s women who stopped taking hormonal contraceptives, or it sometimes develops after the teen years as an adult form of acne,” she says.

Day recommends going to a dermatologist to gain a better understanding of your specific skin type, and how it might react to different types of treatments. “A variety of treatments can work, including hormonal contraceptives, aldactone, and topical medications such as benzoyl peroxide, topical or oral antibiotics, and retinoids,” she says. Meeting with an expert ensures you get the right meds for your skin—otherwise treatment can be a guessing game that leads to further irritation.

What’s causing your chin acne?

“There is much active research on acne, looking at possible food effects, hormonal imbalance, different types of bacteria, as well as treatments to help avoid flares and treat outbreaks,” says Day. Nutrition and diet can also play a role. Some research on diet and acne suggests that omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fish oil, can help fight inflammation and ease acne, while high-glycemic foods like white bread, potato chips, and sugary breakfast cereals can cause an imbalance of hormones and lead to more breakouts.

Omega 3 fatty acid capsules on a wooden surface.R Szatkowski/ShutterstockAnother potential solution is probiotics, according to Whitney Bowe, MD, a dermatologist in New York, NY, who specializes in skin rejuvenation, cutting edge laser therapies, and nutritional dermatology. Similar to the way antibiotics can combat acne, probiotics can help fight harmful bugs from triggering inflammation. Bowe says that researchers are currently studying how healthy bacteria can be used topically on the skin or taken orally to benefit these skin conditions. You can also give your skin a probiotic boost by including more probiotic-rich foods (such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut) in your diet.

Another helpful tip? Work out! “Try to break a sweat a few times a week,” Bowe suggests. Exercise helps combat stress, which can trigger acne-flare-ups.