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How to Clear Away Forehead Acne Once and For All

Forehead acne is usually caused by an overload of sebum, inflammation, and overgrowth of P. acnes bacteria. Let's examine the common causes and effective solutions to clear up those pesky forehead breakouts for a smooth, blemish-free complexion.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Acne in the T-zone may be an all too common problem, but this area is particularly prone to breakouts due to its heavier oil production and greater concentration of oil glands.

  • When it comes to forehead acne, there's no shortage of things that can cause irritation. Not only do common behaviors such as face touching and the use of cosmetics lead the charge - but several hair products have come under fire for their potential ability to clog pores or trigger inflammation.

  • Exposed Skin Care could be the answer to your forehead acne. Its unique combination of benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and tea tree oil works together in harmony to give you results - reducing inflammation, cleansing pores and killing off bacteria that cause breakouts. Best of all? You can have clear skin without a trip to the dermatologists office.

A man with acne scars on his forehead
Pimples on the forehead are very common, but they're also extremely frustrating to deal with.

To understand how to best treat whiteheads and blackheads on your forehead, you'll first need to get a feel for factors in your life that may be making it worse. From there, you can determine which products and solutions help you address those forehead-specific triggers contributing to your acne.

What Causes Forehead Acne?

Even though the forehead and surrounding areas may present their own challenges and be the home of more of your breakouts than not, the causes of forehead acne aren't any different than the causes of acne elsewhere.

It's important to distinguish between the causes of acne and things that trigger acne. The former is the physical processes and components that create a blemish, and the latter is things that jumpstart, accelerate, or otherwise impact these processes.

To prevent acne, learn about the causes of acne in general and also your particular triggers as an individual.

What Causes Acne in General?

In short, the same factors that cause all types of acne are also the culprits for acne on the forehead:

When these three factors combine, the immune system triggers an inflammatory response to prevent bacteria from spreading to other pores. The immune system also sends cells to kill the microbes, often killing off immune cells in the process, too.

An acne inforgraphic
Acne is a multi-part process; there are multiple causes, all of which must be addressed to fully treat the problem.

These dead skin and immune system cells generate pus, which is what gives most pimples their characteristic yellowish head.

What is The T-Zone?

The terminology "T-zone" is often used when discussing forehead acne due to this area's unique characteristics and tendency to cause acne concerns.

The T-zone is a T-shaped area of the face that includes the forehead and nose. This region is one of the most common places to get acne because of its higher oil production; in fact, this area has the highest concentration of oil glands in the body.

Too much oil (sebum) on the skin is one of the main causes of acne.

Acne Between the Eyebrows

When excess oil and skin cells linger on the skin, they can clog hair follicles between and around the eyebrows.

As a blocked follicle becomes infected or inflamed, your acne may evolve into a swollen, red, or pus-filled blemish.

It's common for people with oily or acne-prone skin to break out in this area simply because it's more likely to produce excess sebum (as is true for other parts of the T-zone) due to a larger number of sebaceous glands.

Coupled with common behaviors like face touching, using cosmetics, and exposing your skin to potentially irritating hair products may all contribute to a higher volume of acne between your eyebrows, which typically emerge as red bumps.

All About Forehead Acne Triggers

If the causes of acne are the same regardless of where it occurs, then what sets forehead acne apart from the rest? Aside from the area's natural tendency to produce more oil, there are other factors that may trigger breakouts.

Hair Products

Some hair products might exacerbate your skincare concerns by causing inflammation or introducing thick, oily substances that can clog the pores of your skin.

A teenage girl sits on her bed
For some, the products you use in your hair make a difference in the look and feel of your skin, too.

These types of ingredients are more likely than others to cause inflammation, swelling, and itchiness, all of which can make acne worse or cause a flare-up.

Some examples of problematic ingredients include:

  • Oils such as:

    • Argan oil (MoroccanOil)

    • Olive oil

    • Soybean oil

    • Wheat germ oil

    • Coconut oil

    • Palm oil

    • Hemp Seed oil

    • Grapeseed oil

  • Cocoa butter and shea butter

  • Algae extract

  • Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth-20 (in combination)

  • Ethylhexyl Palmitate

  • Glyceryl-3-diisostearate

  • Isocetyl Stearate

  • Isostearic Acid

  • Isostearyl Isostearate

  • Laureth-4

  • Octyl Dodecanol

  • Oleyl Alcohol

Fluctuating Hormones

Hormonal changes can change the amount of oil your skin produces, a phenomenon that, in turn, impacts how easy it is for you to break out.

During puberty, for instance, a teenager may begin to produce more oil than they had during childhood as they start their menstrual cycle and experience a sudden surge in the amount of acne they experience.

Hormone levels can also be greatly influenced by a condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

It causes an imbalance in hormone levels due to the production of excess testosterone, leading to oily skin which leads to acne breakouts.

Woman being attacked by hormones.
When hormones 'attack', big things can happen, including overproduction of oil from sebaceous glands


Similarly, birth control pills interfere with natural hormone balance by introducing additional hormones into the body causing symptoms such as increased risk of depression or weight gain; this hormonal change often results in mild-to moderate cases of inflammatory acne flareups.

Touching the Face

Frequently rubbing or touching your face can lead to heightened levels of inflammation in the area.

Do not pop or pick at pimples. If you tend to put your hand or fingers on your face frequently throughout the day or rub your skin, you may be inadvertently increasing how frequently you break out.

How Do I Get Rid of Forehead Acne?

The best way to stop forehead acne in its tracks is to develop a skincare routine that addresses all of the main causes of acne.

It's also a good idea to identify which triggers may be contributing to your forehead acne so that you can avoid them in the future.

We should point out that we recommend a consistent skincare routine, and not more vague results like diet changes or home remedies. The American Academy of Dermatology has said that there is still not sufficient evidence to support that diet changes can affect your acne in any way.

The causes of acne can't be fully remedied without products that are designed to control them. Managing inflammation levels, stabilizing oil production, and killing excessive bacteria are goals that your skincare routine should address if you want to see improvement in your forehead acne.

If you have tried various treatment plans and your acne isn't responsive, then you might be suffering from cystic acne and it could be helpful to seek out medical advice. But note that true cystic acne is actually quite rare, even though the word does get thrown around a lot. For a cystic acne treatment plan, read through our article on the subject

Cleanse Your Pores and Fight Inflammation

We recommend a salicylic acid product for treating forehead acne because of the way it can help break up the clogs in pores to treat and prevent blackhead and whitehead breakouts.

Exposed Skin Care’s three-step process involves several products containing salicylic acid, including our Facial CleanserClearing Toner, and Clear Pore Serum.

Exposed Basic Kit.
The Exposed Basic Kit contains the Facial Cleanser, Clearing Toner, Clear Pore Serum, and Acne Treatment Serum.

Manage Excess Bacteria

Dead skin cells and surface grime aren't the only obstacles to worry about when dealing with pimples on the forehead; you'll also want to make sure that the levels of bacteria on your skin are in balance.

Our Acne Treatment Serum kills excess acne-causing bacteria without drying out or irritating the skin. We created this formula by combining benzoyl peroxide and green tea, so while benzoyl peroxide kills excess bacteria on the surface of your skin, green tea extract ensures that your skin doesn't become too irritated or dry. Its ability to both disinfect and heal the skin makes it a great choice for forehead acne.

Bottle of Exposed Acne Treatment Serum.

Control Oil Production

Because the forehead is a prime spot for excess oil, it's a good idea to invest in spot treatment, cleanser, or other products that can help you manage sebum production.

Consider a sulfur-based product, like our Clarifying Mask. Sulfur absorbs extra oil, and at responsible concentrations, it will not dry out the skin. Our Clarifying Mask combines a low concentration of sulfur (3%), active charcoal, and resorcinol to get the job done. It is excellent at removing dead skin cells and excess oil.

Bottle of Exposed Clarifying Mask.


Exposed Skin Care has what you need to put your breakouts in the past. Our potent blend of benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and tea tree oil help combat sebum overloads, reduce inflammation and take care of P. acnes bacteria to get rid of those pesky pimples once and for all!

Additionally it's a good idea to be aware that behaviors such as touching your face or using irritating hair products can make matters worse - so keep them away if they're causing trouble on your forehead.

Forehead Acne FAQ

Will chemical peels get rid of forehead acne?

If you're considering a chemical peel to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum, you have the right idea, but the wrong tool. Chemical peels are harsh on the skin, and acne never responds well to inflammation or irritation of the skin.

Instead consider our clarifying mask or even better one of our kits for a proven and complete forehead acne treatment system.

How to prevent forehead acne?

If you want to prevent acne on your forehead and other parts of your face, here are some tips that are sure to help:

  • First, make sure to wash your face with a gentle cleanser twice a day and rinse with warm water, then pat dry - avoid scrubbing which can cause more irritation.

  • Additionally, wash your hair often to keep it from becoming greasy. If you have to use oils or pomade products on your hair, be sure to wipe off your forehead afterward with a damp washcloth.

  • Cutting bangs or using a hair tie to pull them away from the skin can also reduce the possibility of breakouts on the forehead as well.

  • If possible, refrain from wearing headbands or hats with brims that touch the forehead and keep your hands away from touching it - bacteria can get into the pores otherwise.

  • Lastly, when picking makeup and skin care products, look for ones labeled “noncomedogenic” – this means they won’t clog up the pores which causes the acne in the first place. It's important to avoid products that may irritate the skin like those containing alcohol as well.