Acne Around Mouth: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Discover the reasons behind acne around the mouth and learn effective prevention tips and treatment methods for clear skin.

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Author Mads Timmermann

Mads has 14+ years of experience as a skin expert and has written/read this article.


Acne around the mouth is a common skin condition that affects many people at various stages of their lives. Often referred to as perioral acne, it can be characterized by the presence of inflamed, painful, or pus-filled bumps around the edges of the lips and the nearby skin area. This type of acne can be both frustrating and bothersome, as it can lead to discomfort and even impact an individualโ€™s self-confidence.

Understanding the causes, prevention strategies, and treatment options for acne around the mouth is crucial to effectively manage and overcome this skin issue. By educating ourselves on the factors that contribute to the development of perioral acne, as well as the best practices to prevent and treat it, we can make informed decisions about our skincare routines and overall skin health.

Key Takeaways

  • Acne around the mouth has various causes, including hormone fluctuations, skin irritation, and bacteria.
  • Prevention strategies involve maintaining good hygiene, avoiding harsh skincare products, and reducing stress.
  • Treatment options include over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as lifestyle modifications for better skin health.

What Is Acne Around the Mouth?

Acne around the mouth is a common skin condition that affects many people. Just like acne on other parts of the face, it is characterized by the formation of inflamed and often painful bumps or breakouts on the skin surrounding the mouth. These breakouts can appear on the chin, along the jawline, or near the corners of the mouth. They can be caused by various factors, some of which we will discuss in this section.

One of the primary causes of acne around the mouth is hormonal changes. Hormonal fluctuations can lead to an increase in the production of sebum, causing pores to become clogged and inflamed. This is particularly common during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy. Another factor that may contribute to the development of acne around the mouth is the use of makeup or skincare products that are comedogenic (pore-clogging). These products can contribute to the formation of breakouts if they are not used properly or removed thoroughly.

Moreover, acne around the mouth can also be related to lifestyle choices and habits. Touching the face frequently, resting your chin in your hands, or using unclean items near the mouth area, such as dirty cell phones or dirty pillowcases, can introduce oil, dirt, and bacteria onto the skin. This, in turn, can create an environment conducive to the development of acne.

In terms of prevention and treatment, it is essential to maintain proper skincare habits. This includes gently cleansing the skin twice a day with a non-comedogenic cleanser, regular exfoliation, and using oil-free, non-comedogenic makeup and skincare products. Additionally, using over-the-counter spot treatments containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or tea tree oil can help reduce inflammation and unclog pores.

For more persistent or severe cases of acne around the mouth, we recommend consulting with a dermatologist, who may prescribe stronger treatments, such as oral medications or topical retinoids. The key to effectively addressing acne around the mouth is understanding the underlying cause and adopting a consistent skincare routine tailored to your skinโ€™s needs.

Common Causes of Acne Around the Mouth

Improper Hygiene and Make-Up Use

One of the most common causes of acne around the mouth is improper hygiene and the use of make-up products that can clog pores. It is essential to keep the skin around the mouth clean and free of bacteria and excess oils by washing it regularly with a gentle cleanser. Additionally, be cautious when selecting make-up products, as some can contain ingredients that contribute to acne formation. Choose non-comedogenic products that will not block the pores and always remember to remove make-up before bedtime to avoid further irritation and breakouts.

Diet and Lifestyle Factors

Diet and lifestyle factors can also play a role in the development of acne around the mouth. Consuming a diet high in processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats may contribute to increased inflammation and acne flare-ups. To maintain healthy skin, incorporate a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help flush toxins from the body.

Moreover, managing stress is crucial for maintaining overall skin health, as stress can trigger hormonal imbalances that may worsen acne breakouts. Incorporate stress-reducing activities such as exercise, yoga, meditation, or deep breathing techniques into your daily routine to help combat these imbalances.

By paying close attention to your hygiene practices, making informed decisions about your make-up products, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can minimize the risk of developing acne around the mouth and enjoy clearer, healthier skin.

Prevention Strategies

Skin Care Regimen

Maintaining a proper skin care routine is essential in preventing acne around the mouth. First and foremost, we recommend cleansing your face at least twice a day, using a gentle cleanser that wonโ€™t irritate or strip your skin. Next, it is important to keep your skin moisturized as dryness can lead to increased oil production, which can contribute to acne formation.

Additionally, be mindful of the products you use on your face. Opt for non-comedogenic makeup and skincare products that wonโ€™t clog your pores. Finally, avoid touching your face, especially around the mouth, to prevent transfer of bacteria and dirt that can cause breakouts.

Dietary Adjustments

What we consume can have an impact on our skin health. To help prevent acne around the mouth, we recommend incorporating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. In particular, aim to consume foods high in vitamins A, E, and C, as these nutrients are vital for healthy skin.

Moreover, it is important to stay hydrated โ€“ drink enough water throughout the day and avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, as these can dehydrate your skin, leading to increased oil production. Additionally, consider limiting your intake of high glycemic index foods, such as sugary snacks and processed foods, as these have been associated with increased acne formation.

Stress Management

High levels of stress can exacerbate acne, as stress hormones can stimulate oil production and contribute to inflammation. Thus, managing stress can be a useful strategy in preventing acne around the mouth. We suggest finding healthy ways to cope with stress, such as practicing breathing exercises, engaging in regular physical activity, spending time outdoors, or partaking in hobbies you enjoy.

Furthermore, ensure that you get adequate sleep each night, as lack of sleep can heighten stress and negatively impact your skin health. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine can help improve sleep quality and contribute to better overall skin health.

By maintaining a proper skin care regimen, adjusting your diet, and managing stress effectively, we are confident that you can successfully prevent acne around the mouth and enjoy healthier, clearer skin.

Treatment Options

Over-the-Counter Products

There are various over-the-counter (OTC) products that can help treat acne around the mouth. These products often contain active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids. We recommend trying a gentle Skin Care Kit to keep the skin clean and clear. It is essential to use products that are specifically formulated for acne-prone skin, as they can effectively target the problem without causing further irritation.

Prescription Medications

If OTC products arenโ€™t providing the desired results, it might be time to consult a dermatologist for prescription medications. These medications include topical treatments like antibiotics, retinoids, or combination therapies. Another option is oral medications, such as antibiotics, hormonal treatments (for women), or isotretinoin, which is reserved for severe cases of acne.

Remember to follow your dermatologistโ€™s recommendations regarding the use of prescription medications, as they can provide a more personalized treatment plan according to your specific needs and skin type.

Lifestyle Modifications

Apart from using products, making certain lifestyle modifications can aid in accomplishing clearer skin. Here are some lifestyle changes you can implement:

  • Maintain good hygiene: Regularly cleanse your face, particularly around the mouth area, to remove bacteria, oils, and makeup.
  • Choose gentle, non-comedogenic makeup and skincare products to prevent acne formation.
  • Avoid touching your face and mouth frequently, as this can spread bacteria, oils, and dirt.
  • Limit exposure to common facial irritants, such as tobacco smoke or excessive sun.
  • Manage stress levels, as increased stress can exacerbate acne breakouts.
  • Maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated.

Incorporating these lifestyle modifications in conjunction with using appropriate skincare products can drastically improve acne around the mouth and help you achieve clearer skin.

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