6 Ways to Cure Red, Angry Jawline Acne, According to Dermatologists

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Jawline acne is a telltale sign for many women that their time of the month is near (*raises hand*). And anyone who’s dealt with the painful spots knows they’re pretty resistant to treatment. Pimple patches, tea tree oil and drying lotion? Yeah, don’t bother. So we decided it was time to call in the professionals: actual dermatologists. Here’s what they had to say about jawline acne and exactly how to cure it.

“Jawline acne, like other acne, is caused by oil trapped within the pores, along with skin inflammation that results in the red, angry bumps that typically occur here,” explains dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. “But unlike other acne, jawline acne tends to be extremely responsive to fluctuations in hormones.” That’s why you’re more likely to see it pop up around your period and clear up after it ends.

In terms of treating it and preventing future flare-ups, Dr. Zeichner and his colleague dermatologist Shari Marchbein, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine, have a few tips.

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1. exfoliate During The First Half Of Your Menstrual Cycle To Keep Pores Clear

“The best way to address jawline acne is to prevent it from developing to begin with,” explains Dr. Zeichner. “If you tend to break out, exfoliating cleansers can help keep the pores clear. Use them during the first half of the menstrual cycle.” Dr. Zeichner recommends the Dove Gentle Exfoliating Beauty Bar because it’s gentle and effective (a win-win in our book). The exfoliating beads work to prevent buildup in your pores, which means it’ll be harder for breakouts to form.

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2. add A Salicylic Acid Cleanser To Your Skincare Routine Mid-cycle

Dr. Zeichner recommends this ingredient to remove excess oil and dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, which will help keep your pores clear. And as mentioned in the previous tip, cleaner pores mean less jawline acne. He suggests Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser for this step. Unlike some harsh cleansers, this unscented formula is gentle enough for sensitive skin and was created specifically for those with acne-prone complexions.

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3. use A Leave-on Salicylic Acid Treatment To Dry Out Pimples

Another trusty method to get rid of stubborn jawline pimples is to dry them out with a topical treatment, says Dr. Zeichner. His product of choice? Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment. Believe us, today’s version is much better than the one you used in high school. This spot treatment contains witch hazel and 2 percent salicylic acid, which work to reduce the size, redness and swelling of blemishes. Dab it onto your breakouts before bed and you’ll likely wake up with clearer skin.

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4. or Try A Benzoyl Peroxide Leave-on Treatment Instead

Not a fan of salicylic acid because it hasn’t worked for your skin in the past? Dr. Zeichner explains that a leave-on benzoyl peroxide spot treatment can also be effective in reducing the size and redness of resistant pimples. He backs Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel for its maximum-strength 10 percent benzoyl peroxide—this product doesn’t mess around. According to the brand, it’s also the acne medication that derms recommend most for clearer skin without a prescription.

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5. consider Taking Birth Control Pills

Dr. Marchbein explains that oral contraceptive pills can be effective in treating adult female acne. In fact, she notes that four types of pills are actually FDA-approved to treat it. If you’re thinking about going this route, consult your gynecologist about which option might work best for you.

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6. when In Doubt, See Your Dermatologist

“Acne treatments are not one size fits all,” Dr. Marchbein points out. “If you are breaking out, make sure to see your dermatologist for a comprehensive acne routine.” You won’t necessarily find a total cure, she notes, but your derm can prescribe you creams and topical antibiotics that will treat existing breakouts and prevent new ones from forming.

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