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This is what acne on the jawline and chin can mean

The prevalence of adult patients with hormonal acne is increasing.

Written by
Kate Evans
Medically reviewed by
Last updated
May 15, 2024
min read
This is what acne on the jawline and chin can mean
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It's safe to say that no one ever has a particularly fun time going through puberty. And, chances are, your experience with puberty included acne. Not only is acne one of the most common skin disorders worldwide, but during puberty, acne vulgaris occurs with a prevalence of almost 95% [1].

Except, if you're reading this, you might have realised that unlike the other joys of puberty which you mostly grew out of — acne can come back. Or, for some of you, it might rear its head for the first time.

In fact, the prevalence of adult patients with hormonal acne is increasing. So if you're reading this and wondering how to find effective treatments for your current skin, know you're not the only one experiencing this. And Pilot's clinical customised acne treatment can help you out.

Let's get started.

Types of jawline and chin acne in men

Firstly, there are 2 types of acne you get as an adult. If you had acne-prone skin (acne vulgaris) as a teen, and it has persisted beyond your 25th birthday — you have what is aptly named persistent adult acne.

Acne that only occurs after age 25 is known as adult-onset acne. [2] The "classical presentation" of adult acne — regardless of type — is on the chin and the jawline. [3]

Acne clinical profiles

  • Hyperseborrhea and non-inflammatory lesions with abundant open or closed small comedones
  • Predominant inflammatory lesions, long-lasting nodules, and cysts [1].


  • Sebaceous glands overproduce sebum, leading to excess oil production; blackheads and whiteheads
  • Warm, painful bumps on the skin that can be filled with white pus, are longer-lasting and can cause permanent acne scarring [4].

Acne severity types

There's one more way that acne on the jawline and chin can be categorised — by severity, according to the Global Acne Grading System, also known as GAGS [1].

There's "mild acne", which peer-reviewed studies have found is the most frequent form of hormonal acne in adult women and adult men (92% and 82% respectively).

Moderate acne is slightly higher in adult men than women (15% and 7%); severe acne is seen in 3% of the men surveyed, and only 1% in women. [1]

What causes acne on the chin and jawline in men?

So, your face is covered with pores — those tiny little dots on your skin, each the opening to a follicle made up of a hair and sebaceous oil gland. Oil, dead skin cells and bacterial growth can result in clogged follicles [5] — and that's when you clog pores.

And when you clog pores? Well, that's when you can get acne. As for why acne occurs? It's multifactorial.

Genetic predisposition

Sensitive skin, or overzealous oil glands? Blame your parents. Studies have shown those with chin breakouts and jawline acne declared a family history of the skin condition; it represents one of the main risk factors at 70% [1].

The weather

Less "there's a 30% chance it's already raining", more "a hot climate sees sebaceous glands produce more of (oily) sebum" — which may cause that case of stubborn acne you're trying to treat [4].

High humidity can result in an inflammatory response (swelling) of the skin.

Skincare and haircare

Sorry guys, but it turns out what you're putting on your skin could be causing that skin infection. We're not saying to stop that skincare routine you just picked up, more that if it's greasy or not oil-free, that could be why your breakouts happen.

This is especially true for any facial hair care you've got going on; beard oils and waxes could plug those hair follicles [6].

Medication and treatments

Sometimes, the meds you're taking for other health conditions can be the reason for the acne you're currently experiencing. This includes things like steroids for anti-inflammatory conditions or testosterone treatment. [5]

Chin strap

Are you a cyclist, motorcyclist, baseball player, or violinist? It turns out, that pressure from these items can cause skin irritation, and block those ever-important follicles [7].

Hormone levels

Adult acne is more common in women and is often associated with their menstrual cycle, but hormonal fluctuations can also happen in men [8].

Hormonal acne is caused by excess activity of male hormones (think your old pal, testosterone), which leads to excess oil production, clogged follicles, inflammation...you get the rest.

And, while women can stabilise hormone levels with birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or spironolactone. While spironolactone works by basically blocking the effect of testosterone on the hair follicle in women, men don't have the same hormonal therapy options.

Good thing Pilot has treatment options for you, instead.

How do you know if acne is hormonal?

If you're finding you have lesions on your cheek (the most common site, at 81%), your chin (67%) or your jawline area (58.3%) — that may be a sign you have hormonal acne [9].

The best way to tell if you have hormonal acne, however, is by talking to a healthcare provider — like an online consult with one of our Australian practitioners, who will recommend a customised treatment.

What is the best way to get rid of jawline and chin acne?

The best way to begin to treat acne is with topical treatments — something you apply straight to your skin.


And yes, this does include washing your face, regardless of what misconceptions you may have heard about cleansers exacerbating the condition. It's generally recommended to use a gentle cleanser on your skin [10].

This can include cleansers with salicylic acid (you can get these over-the-counter products at your local pharmacy). Removing the top layer of damaged skin, salicylic acid dissolves dead skin cells to prevent hair follicles from clogging.

Another ingredient to look for is benzoyl peroxide. Also available over the counter, benzoyl peroxide works by targeting surface bacteria — something that aggravates acne.

As it turns out, it can actually be the discontinuation of cleansing that exacerbates hormonal acne [10].

Green tea

We're not saying to slap a teabag on your face to treat hormonal acne, but peer-reviewed studies have found that green tea extract can be beneficial for acne vulgaris.

Why? It's said to be "significantly effective" in reducing total acne lesions (both inflammatory and non-inflammatory), without causing serious adverse effects [11].


Retinoids can control excess sebum production and secretion (oil on your face). Not only will a topical retinoid break up blackheads and whiteheads, but it also helps to prevent clogged pores [12].

Depending on the severity of your acne — or any potential scarring you may have — retinoids might be one of your treatment recommendations.


This might be another one you've heard about from skincare devotees — and one of the science-backed ingredients one of our practitioners may recommend for your acne treatment options.

Niacinamide helps target sebum production (yep, the old oil glands) and is also an "effective anti-inflammatory agent" [13].


Oral antibiotics may be recommended for cases of acne that are considered to be moderate to severe (classification: 10 or more inflammatory lesions) [7]. Our helpful Pilot practitioners can order a course of antibiotics for you, if necessary.

This oral medication works by reducing the bacteria that trigger an inflammatory response from your skin [7].

Azelaic acid

When it comes to treatment options for hormonal acne, you might not have heard of this one. Azelaic acid, also known as AzA, targets multiple causes of acne and has "profound anti-inflammatory, antioxidative effects" [14].

Using it topically can help significantly reduce inflammatory papules (red inflamed bumps) and pustules (red inflamed bumps with pus) [14].

It can also be used to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation — dark spots left behind after acne heals, more commonly seen on darker skin [15].

Preventing jawline acne and chin acne from returning

During hormonal shifts, it's not always possible to prevent breakouts or prevent acne altogether. But, with a little help from our practitioners and your personalised treatment plan, it can be managed — very effectively.

If you stick to your treatment plan — along with sleeping better, eating better and stressing less — you could find your acne is kept at bay.

The more you keep on keeping on with your treatment, the more you reduce the risk of breakouts occurring.

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