What Causes Acne on the Jawline? Everything to Know

Medically Reviewed By Reema Patel, MPA, PA-C
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Acne occurs when hair follicles clog up. Numerous factors can contribute to acne on the jawline, including genetics, certain conditions, and some medications. You may be able to treat jawline acne with over-the-counter medications. However, for more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe medication. Depending on the type of treatment and severity of the acne, it can take several weeks to notice an improvement.

This article explains the causes and risk factors for jawline acne in more detail. It also discusses treatment opinions, when to contact a doctor, and more.

What causes jawline acne?

A person is applying cream to their jawline.
ByLorena/Stocksy United

Your skin lubricates itself with naturally occurring oils from the sebaceous glands. The sebaceous glands channel these oils to the skin surface via the hair follicle pores.

Excess dirt, hair, and dead skin cells can clog these pores. Bacteria living on the skin surface may also grow into clogged pores, causing inflammation.

This can ultimately lead to pimples or acne forming.

Many factors can contribute to the appearance of acne on the chin and jawline, including:

Other contributory factors include:

  • Hormonal changes: Pregnancy, menstruation, and the use of birth control pills can cause hormonal changes. These changes can lead to acne formation.
  • Shaving: Excessive shaving may irritate sensitive skin. Old or dirty razors may also introduce bacteria onto the skin surface and cause acne breakouts. 
  • Face beauty products: Oil-based face cosmetics may clog the pores and contribute to breakouts.
  • Diet: Foods with a high glycemic index may make acne more severe. Examples of these foods include sugary drinks, starchy foods, and highly processed foods.
  • Stress: Stress hormones may stimulate the oil glands to produce more oil. This may consequently cause acne flares.

Learn more about acne causes and risk factors.

How do I know if my acne is hormonal or bacterial?

The National Health Service explains that acne may be a symptom of a hormonal imbalance if it occurs with certain symptoms. These symptoms include hirsutism or excessive body hair and irregular or light periods.

Acne that occurs during puberty may also be a symptom of a hormonal imbalance. This is because hormone levels change naturally during puberty.

Learn more about hormonal acne.

What are the symptoms of jawline acne?

Jawline acne may present in different ways, including:

Different skin types may show various acne types.

Learn more about the different types of acne pimples.

What are the treatments for jawline acne?

You may be able to treat jawline acne with home remedies. They include:

If these remedies do not bring improvement, stronger treatment may be necessary. Your doctor may recommend:

  • lasers, which use light to clean out pores
  • chemical peels, which are a procedure that exfoliates the skin
  • topical or oral antibiotics
  • benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
  • topical or oral retinoids
  • oral contraceptives

Your doctor may recommend oral isotretinoin for severe, extensive acne. They may also recommend spironolactone for people assigned female at birth.

When should I see a doctor?

Contact your doctor if your jawline acne is widespread, painful, or persistent. Your doctor can make a diagnosis and advise on treatment.

How do doctors diagnose jawline acne?

Visual inspection is often enough to diagnose jawline acne. Your doctor will carry out a physical examination and ask you questions about your symptoms.

Depending on any other symptoms you present, your doctor may order tests to rule out a medical condition that may be causing the acne. Your doctor can explain any tests they request and answer any questions you may have beforehand.

What are the risk factors for jawline acne?

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) says that jawline acne may occur more frequently in people:

  • having a family history of acne
  • using corticosteroids and other hormone treatments
  • experiencing adolescence

The following may also worsen acne, according to NIAMS:

  • pressure from tight sports helmets
  • environmental factors, such as pollution and high humidity
  • excessively scrubbing the skin
  • pimple squeezing or picking

Can I prevent jawline acne?

You may be able to lower your chances of getting jawline acne. Steps you can take include avoiding:

  • wearing tight sports helmets that might irritate your jawline
  • getting exposure to excess sunlight
  • using dirty or old razors
  • applying irritants on sensitive skin
  • popping a pimple
  • touching your face with dirty hands

Using oil-free and noncomedogenic cosmetics and regularly washing to reduce oils and dirt on your skin can also decrease your chances of getting jawline acne.


Jawline acne occurs when excess dirt, hair, and dead skin cells clog the hair follicles of the jawline. Symptoms include closed white bumps, open black bumps, or large, solid lesions.

Many factors can contribute to jawline acne. They include hormonal changes, shaving, and genetics.

Doctors often diagnose the condition with a visual inspection. They may recommend creams containing aloe vera, tea tree oil, and topical or oral antibiotics. Other options are benzoyl peroxide and retinoids.

You can take some steps to reduce your risk of jawline acne. They include washing regularly and using oil-free face cosmetics.

Contact your doctor for advice if you have severe or persistent symptoms of jawline acne.

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Medical Reviewer: Reema Patel, MPA, PA-C
Last Review Date: 2022 Dec 8
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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