Dealing with acne can be a real confidence dampener, especially when it pops up around the mouth area. As someone who’s battled with acne myself, I understand the frustration and the desire to find effective solutions. This article explores acne around the mouth—causes, prevention, and treatment—to guide you towards clear, healthy skin.
Acne around the mouth, known as perioral acne, is a common concern, particularly among adolescents and young adults.Perioral acne typically manifests as small, red bumps or pustules around the mouth, chin, and jawline, occasionally extending to the cheeks and nose. Though not as prevalent as facial acne, perioral acne can still cause distress and self-consciousness in affected individuals.
Let’s break down what causes acne around the mouth
To achieve clear and radiant skin, it’s imperative to identify and tackle the underlying factors contributing to acne around the mouth. Scientifically implicated causes include subpar oral hygiene or the use of harsh dental products, an ineffective skincare routine featuring irritating products, poor dietary and nutritional habits, hormonal fluctuations or imbalances, and stress and anxiety.
Now that we’ve acquainted ourselves with these culprits behind mouth acne, let’s delve into each cause, offering valuable tips to not only prevent further irritation but also promote the healing of acne in this specific area.
Poor oral hygiene or harsh dental products
Neglecting oral hygiene can worsen acne near the mouth due to the presence of harmful bacteria thriving without proper care. Inadequate oral hygiene leads to inflammation, infections, and the spread of bacteria from the mouth to the skin, particularly around the mouth and chin when hands come into contact with these areas. The mouth and skin are interconnected, making oral health crucial for skin health.
It’s also important to note that some toothpaste and mouthwash can aggravate the skin around the mouth, worsening acne breakouts. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), often found in toothpaste for effective cleaning, can harm the skin and strip away natural moisture. Toothpaste contact can cause dryness, redness, and irritation, particularly for those with perioral acne, potentially worsening inflammation and acne appearance.
If you think this might be the cause of the acne around your mouth area, let’s dive into some effective tips to combat poor-oral hygiene related acne:
2. Avoid Harsh Toothpaste Ingredients: Choose toothpaste that is free from harsh ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and opt for milder formulations to reduce the risk of skin irritation. If your looking for a natural toothpaste, I would recommend my favourite, Boka Natural Toothpaste. Click here to check prices on Amazon
3. Be Mindful of Mouthwash: If using mouthwash, opt for alcohol-free and gentle formulations to avoid skin dryness and irritation. If your looking for an alcohol-free and gentle mouthwash, I would recommend TheraBreath Fresh Breath Oral Rinse. Click here to check prices on Amazon
4. Floss Daily: Regular flossing helps remove food particles and plaque between the teeth and along the gum line, reducing the chances of bacterial growth and inflammation.
6. Clean Orthodontic Appliances: If you wear braces, aligners, or retainers, clean them regularly as they can trap bacteria and contribute to skin issues.
8. Use Lip Balm Carefully: Avoid getting lip balm or other products with potentially comedogenic ingredients on the skin around the mouth.
9. Replace Toothbrush Regularly: Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles appear frayed to ensure optimal cleaning.
10. Visit the Dentist Regularly: Regular dental check-ups can help identify any oral health issues that may contribute to skin problems and ensure overall oral hygiene.
Skincare products containing comedogenic ingredients or heavy oils can block pores and exacerbate acne around the mouth, leading to whiteheads, blackheads, and inflamed pimples. These ingredients can trap sebum and dead skin cells, while certain products like facial oils can create a barrier that fosters bacterial growth, worsening perioral acne. To mitigate this, individuals prone to such acne should choose non-comedogenic or oil-free skincare options, which are less likely to clog pores and trigger breakouts.
Reviewing and adjusting your skincare routine is essential for preventing acne around the mouth. By incorporating appropriate products and practices, you can maintain clear and healthy skin in this area.
Let’s look into some ways we can adjust our skincare routine to help clear our skin rather than further irritate it.
1. Gentle Cleansing: Use a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser to wash your face twice a day, paying extra attention to the skin around the mouth to remove impurities without causing irritation.
2. Avoid Heavy Cosmetics: Opt for oil-free, non-comedogenic makeup and skincare products to minimize pore clogging and reduce the risk of acne breakouts.
3. Exfoliate Regularly: Incorporate a gentle exfoliant into your routine to slough off dead skin cells, unclog pores, and promote skin renewal. Be cautious not to over-exfoliate, as this can irritate the skin. I recommend using Paulas Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Exfoliant as a regular exfoliant. It’s gentle enough not to cause any irritation or burning sensation on my sensitive skin. Click here to check prices on Amazon
4. Consider Topical Treatments: Choose topical treatments with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, which can target acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation.
6. Hydrate Your Skin: Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated and maintain its natural barrier function.
9. Wash Pillowcases and Towels Regularly: Change your pillowcases and towels frequently to reduce the accumulation of bacteria and oil that can aggravate acne. If you’re looking for Anti-Acne pillowcases, I use ALASKA BEAR Silk Pillowcases. These pillow cases are specially made for acne-prone skin meaning they are hypoallergenic and made from mulberry silk, a natural fiber that is soft and smooth on skin. Click here to check prices on Amazon
Looking to build an effective skincare routine for acne-prone skin? Check out the articles below for meticulously researched and effective products for your unique skin!
- For cleansers: ‘The 10 Best Cleansers for Acne-Prone Skin’ Click here
- For moisturizers: ‘The 10 Best Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin’ Click here
- For serums: ‘The 10 Best Serums for Acne-Prone Skin’ Click here
- For exfoliants: ‘The 10 Best Exfoliants for Acne-Prone Skin’ Click here
Poor diet and nutrition habits
Diet greatly influences skin health, and consuming too many greasy and sugary foods can harm the skin, possibly causing acne, especially around the mouth. Such a diet can boost insulin levels, leading to increased androgens production. These hormones can prompt excess sebum production, which might clog pores and result in acne, particularly near the mouth.
Additionally, high-glycemic foods can trigger inflammation due to rapid blood sugar spikes, aggravating existing acne and fostering new lesions. Moreover, nutritional imbalances, like lacking vital vitamins and minerals, can also worsen acne – for example, low vitamin A can increase sebum, and insufficient zinc can hinder inflammation control.
1. Eat a Balanced Diet: Focus on a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These nutrients provide essential vitamins and minerals for skin health.
2. Reduce Greasy and Sugary Foods: Limit the consumption of greasy, fried foods, and sugary snacks, as they can increase sebum production and inflammation, contributing to acne breakouts.
3. Watch Your Dairy Intake: Some studies suggest that dairy products may be linked to acne breakouts in certain individuals. Consider reducing dairy consumption and opt for dairy alternatives if necessary.
4. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep the skin hydrated and support its natural detoxification processes. If you want a simple way to stay on top of daily hydration, I use the Hyeta Motivational Water Bottle. Click here to check prices on Amazon
5. Avoid High Glycemic Index Foods: Foods with a high glycemic index can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, leading to increased inflammation. Choose low-glycemic foods to help manage blood sugar levels and minimize acne triggers.
6. Include Foods Rich in Antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries, leafy greens, and nuts, can help protect the skin from oxidative stress and support its overall health.
7. Consider Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Foods like fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, have anti-inflammatory properties and may aid in managing acne-prone skin. Another way to get your Omega 3s is through supplements like Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega which is made from fish oil. This is a great way to get your essential fatty acids if you don’t like the taste of fish! Click here to check prices on Amazon
8. Monitor Caffeine and Alcohol Intake: Excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate the skin and potentially worsen acne breakouts. Moderation is key.
9. Avoid Trigger Foods: Pay attention to foods that may trigger acne breakouts in your individual case. Common trigger foods include chocolate, spicy foods, and processed snacks.
10. Maintain a Food Diary: Keeping a food diary can help you identify any patterns between your diet and acne breakouts, allowing you to make targeted changes to your eating habits. If you are looking for a food diary/journal, I recommend Legend Wellness Planner & Food Journal. This journal includes 6 months of goal-setting, planning, and strategizing tools to help you improve your nutrition and overall well-being. Click here to check prices on Amazon
Hormonal fluctuations or imbalances
Hormonal changes, particularly during the menstrual cycle, have a significant impact on skin, often causing acne around the mouth. Heightened androgens prompt sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, which, when combined with dead skin cells and bacteria, can block pores and lead to acne formation. In the premenstrual phase, increased progesterone levels lead to water retention, swelling, and skin inflammation, contributing to acne breakouts. Such hormonal shifts disrupt skin equilibrium, making some individuals more prone to breakouts, especially in the mouth region.
For men, hormone-related acne in men can occur when there is an imbalance in androgen hormones, such as testosterone, leading to increased oil production in the skin’s sebaceous glands. This excess oil, combined with dead skin cells, can clog pores and contribute to the development of acne.
The key to balancing hormones and regulating hormone fluctuations lies in an overall healthy lifestyle. This includes regular exercise, water intake, regulating stress, healthy eating habits. Let’s break down each factor in the context of hormone regulation:
1. Balanced Diet: Consume a diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Include foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and flaxseeds, which can help regulate hormones.
2. Hydration: Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Limit the intake of sugary and caffeinated beverages, as they can potentially affect hormone levels.
3. Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity to promote overall hormonal balance. Include both aerobic exercises and strength training in your routine.
4. Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get enough quality sleep each night (7-9 hours) to support hormone regulation. Establish a consistent sleep schedule to optimize hormonal functions.
5. Stress Management: Practice stress-reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. Prioritize self-care and make time for activities that bring you relaxation and joy.
6. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Moderate your consumption of caffeine and alcohol, as excessive intake may impact hormone levels.
7. Avoid Hormone Disruptors: Minimize exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in certain plastics, cosmetics, and household products.
8. Healthy Fats: Include sources of healthy fats in your diet, such as avocados and nuts, to support hormone production.
9. Manage Blood Sugar Levels: Choose complex carbohydrates over refined sugars to help regulate blood sugar levels. Eat smaller, balanced meals throughout the day to prevent spikes and crashes.
10. Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you suspect hormonal imbalances, consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and potential hormonal testing.
Explore our article on ‘The 10 Best Hormonal Acne Supplements‘ to discover how specific supplements hold the potential to balance hormones and effectively clear hormonal acne breakouts!
Stress and anxiety
Elevated stress levels have a significant impact on the body, especially the hormonal system, which can result in widespread effects. Intense or chronic stress can disturb hormonal equilibrium, leading to exacerbated acne breakouts, particularly around the mouth area.
During stress, the body releases cortisol and adrenaline, preparing for “fight or flight” situations. Yet, ongoing stress can disrupt normal hormone levels, prompting sebaceous glands to produce more skin oil (sebum). Excessive sebum can block pores and create an environment for acne-causing bacteria, ultimately causing acne lesions, even near the mouth.
1. Engage in Regular Exercise: Incorporate regular physical activity, such as walking, jogging, or yoga, to release endorphins and reduce stress hormones, which can contribute to acne breakouts.
2. Practice Mindfulness: Try meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness practices to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels.
3. Get Sufficient Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, as restful sleep helps the body recover from stress and supports overall skin health.
4. Identify Stress Triggers: Recognize stress triggers and work on finding healthy coping mechanisms to deal with them effectively.
5. Set Realistic Goals: Avoid overwhelming yourself with too many tasks and set achievable goals to reduce stress and anxiety.
6. Seek Support: Talk to friends, family, or a professional counselor to share your feelings and find support during stressful times.
7. Take Breaks: Incorporate regular breaks during busy or stressful periods to relax and recharge.
8. Limit Caffeine and Stimulants: Reduce the consumption of caffeine and other stimulants, as they can exacerbate stress and anxiety.
9. Engage in Relaxing Activities: Participate in activities you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature, to alleviate stress.
10. Practice Time Management: Organize your schedule and prioritize tasks to reduce stress related to time constraints.
My top 3 product recommendations for acne around the mouth
Best spot treatment: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Oh, let me share my love for the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion! This has been a game-changer for significantly reducing pimples overnight. Its powerful blend of Calamine and Zinc Oxide targets and dries out blemishes, visibly reducing their size and appearance quickly. Click here to check prices on Amazon
Best pimple patch: Mighty Patch Original from Hero Cosmetics
Pimple patches create a protective barrier, aiding in faster healing by preventing bacteria and dirt from entering the pimple. Moreover, these patches absorb excess fluids, reducing inflammation and promoting faster pimple recovery without scarring risks! I love the ‘Mighty Patch’—transparent and virtually invisible on the skin—and it significantly improves my pimple healing process. Click here to check prices on Amazon
Best concealer for pimples: Neutrogena SkinClearing Blemish Concealer
Let me tell you, the Neutrogena SkinClearing Blemish Concealer is my go-to solution for acne coverage. It offers great coverage for blemishes and contains acne-fighting ingredients to treat and prevent breakouts, a true multitasker for flawless skin.The only downside is that it lacks a diverse shade range. Click here to check prices on Amazon
If the acne around your mouth persists after trying these methods, consider professional help
Seeking professional help can be beneficial in preventing acne around the mouth. A dermatologist or healthcare professional can offer personalized guidance and treatments for perioral acne and prevention strategies.
1. Schedule a Dermatologist Consultation: A dermatologist specializes in skin health and can evaluate your specific skin concerns, including perioral acne. They can provide expert advice and recommend suitable treatments.
2. Identify Underlying Causes: Dermatologists identify factors like hormonal imbalances and medical conditions contributing to perioral acne, creating personalized treatment plans.
3. Receive Personalized Treatment: Professional help provides personalized treatment plans considering skin type, acne severity, and overall health, enhancing successful prevention.
4. Explore Prescription Medications: Dermatologists prescribe medications for acne control and inflammation reduction if OTC treatments fail or in severe cases.
5. Learn Proper Skincare Routine: Dermatologists suggest non-comedogenic products and skincare routines to maintain clear and healthy skin around the mouth.
6. Consider Professional Treatments: Dermatologists may offer various in-office treatments like chemical peels, laser therapy, or extractions to address existing acne and prevent future breakouts.
7. Monitor Progress and Adjust: Regular follow-ups with a dermatologist allow for progress evaluation and adjustments to the treatment plan as needed.
8. Address Acne Scarring: If acne around the mouth has resulted in scarring, a dermatologist can suggest suitable treatments to minimize their appearance. Check out our article: Chemical Peels For Acne Scars: The Ultimate Guide to learn about this common acne scar treatment!
9. Seek Nutritional Advice: A dermatologist can also provide guidance on dietary modifications that may help in preventing acne flare-ups.
10. Maintain Long-Term Skin Health: Establishing a relationship with a dermatologist ensures ongoing support for maintaining healthy skin and preventing future acne issues.
Considering professional help can significantly enhance efforts to prevent acne around the mouth. With expert guidance and personalized treatments, individuals can achieve clearer, healthier skin in the perioral region. Despite trying all the mentioned remedies for acne around the mouth, some individuals may find that it persists stubbornly. In such cases, there are alternative options available for those of us dealing with more persistent acne.
Remember, healing your acne takes patience and persistence
Sometimes, acne around the mouth can be stubborn and require additional care. If you find that home remedies and lifestyle changes aren’t providing sufficient relief, don’t lose hope. Consult a dermatologist for personalized treatment options, including prescription-strength creams, oral medications, or specialized acne procedures.
Clearing acne around the mouth is challenging, but the right approach can lead to achieving clear and healthy skin. By adopting good oral hygiene practices, being mindful of skincare choices, and addressing lifestyle factors, you can effectively prevent and manage acne breakouts in this area. Remember, everyone’s skin is unique, so it’s essential to find a routine and treatment plan that works best for you!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can wearing masks contribute to acne around the mouth?
Wearing masks can create a humid environment, trapping moisture and bacteria, which may contribute to acne breakouts. Ensure you’re using clean masks and practicing good skincare habits to minimize the impact.
Is it safe to use acne spot treatments around the mouth?
While spot treatments can be effective, be cautious when applying them around the mouth area to avoid potential irritation. Consider consulting with a dermatologist for appropriate recommendations.
Can hormonal birth control help with acne around the mouth?
Hormonal birth control may help regulate hormonal imbalances that contribute to acne. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it’s suitable for you.
Are natural remedies effective in treating acne around the mouth?
Natural remedies like tea tree oil or witch hazel can have anti-inflammatory properties, but their effectiveness varies for different individuals. It’s best to consult with a dermatologist for personalized advice.
How long does it take to see improvements in acne around the mouth?
Results can vary depending on the severity of acne and individual factors. With consistent care and adherence to a proper skincare routine, you can expect to see improvements within a few weeks to months.