Forehead Acne: Types, Causes & 7 Actionable Ways To Get Rid of It

Bidding farewell to forehead flare-ups, one pimple at a time!
Fact-Checker: Samantha Ward
This article was last updated on: April 9, 2023
In this article, you'll find out the possible causes of acne on the forehead and uncover some practical tips to help you show those pesky pimples the door. Get ready to dive into the world of skincare and say goodbye to forehead acne for good!
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Oh, forehead acne, the uninvited guest that shows up when you least expect it. It’s like the party crasher that’s always making an entrance when you’re trying to look your best. But don’t worry, there’s a way to tame this beast and send it packing.

Types Of Forehead Acne

When it comes to forehead breakouts, there are actually a few different types you can get:


The sneaky culprits known as comedones come in two varieties: open and closed. Open comedones, commonly called blackheads, form when dead skin cells and sebum clog your pores, exposing the darkened gunk to the air. Closed comedones, AKA whiteheads, are pretty much the same, but they have a thin layer of skin over them, keeping the plug under wraps. They might seem harmless, but leaving them untreated could invite other troublemakers to the party.

Pustules and Papules

When acne decides to level up, it transforms into pustules and papules. These inflamed bumps are the result of bacteria joining the pore-clogging party. Pustules are like small, angry balloons filled with pus, while papules are solid, reddish bumps that don’t have any visible pus. Both of them can be pretty stubborn, so resist the urge to pick or pop them. Instead, give them a little TLC with some gentle skincare.


Even though milia look like tiny whiteheads, they’re a different story altogether. These small, keratin-filled cysts form when skin cells get trapped under the surface of the skin. While not technically acne, they can still be a nuisance on your forehead. Don’t worry, though – with a bit of patience and the right skincare approach, you can show them the exit.

Nodules and Cysts

These deep, painful lumps can cause scarring if not treated properly. They’re not here to mess around, so it’s important to tackle them with the help of a dermatologist. They’ll guide you on the best course of action to send these unwelcome guests packing.

Acne Mechanica

Acne mechanica occurs due to friction or pressure on the skin from things like helmets or tight hats. It’s like a protest from your skin for being squished, and it’s not afraid to show its displeasure in the form of pesky breakouts. To keep acne mechanica at bay, make sure your headgear is clean and fits properly – your forehead will thank you for it.

The Main Reasons You Get Forehead Acne

Understanding the root causes can help you in your quest for clear skin. Let’s delve into the main reasons behind forehead acne and learn how to tackle them head-on:

Hormonal Changes

One major player in the acne game is hormonal changes. Fluctuations in hormones like androgens can lead to increased oil production, setting the stage for breakouts. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and even certain medications can all contribute to hormonal shifts, making your forehead a prime target for acne.

Excess Oil and Dead Skin Cells

When your skin produces too much oil, or sebum, it can mix with dead skin cells and clog your pores. This pore-blocking party can result in various types of acne, including those annoying forehead breakouts. Keeping your skin clean and exfoliated can help prevent this buildup and keep acne at bay.

Hair Products

Sometimes, your hair products can be the sneaky saboteurs behind your forehead acne. Ingredients in shampoos, conditioners, and styling products can seep onto your skin, clogging pores and causing breakouts. To avoid this, keep an eye on the ingredients in your haircare products and try to choose non-comedogenic options.


Believe it or not, stress can be a major contributor to forehead acne. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that can increase oil production and inflammation. Finding ways to de-stress, like yoga or meditation, can help keep both your mind and your skin in check.

Touching Your Face

It’s hard to resist the temptation, but touching your face can transport dirt, oil, and bacteria from your hands to your skin. This can lead to clogged pores and breakouts on your forehead. Make a conscious effort to keep your hands off your face.

Poor Diet

While it’s not the sole cause, a poor diet can contribute to acne breakouts. Diets high in sugar and unhealthy fats can increase inflammation and oil production. On the other hand, a balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, and whole grains can help keep your skin in tip-top shape. So, treat your body right, and your skin will follow suit.

How To Treat & Prevent Forehead Acne

Kicking forehead acne to the curb might seem like a challenge, but with the right strategies and a little patience, you can achieve the clear skin you’ve been dreaming of. Here are some tips to help you treat and prevent those stubborn forehead breakouts:

1. Cleanse Gently

Washing your face twice a day with a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser is an essential step in your skincare routine. It helps remove excess oil, dirt, and makeup that can contribute to acne. Don’t forget to cleanse your hairline, where oil and hair products can build up and cause breakouts. When cleansing, use lukewarm water and massage the cleanser onto your face in circular motions for about a minute. Remember to be gentle – scrubbing too hard can irritate your skin and make acne worse. Always follow up with a hydrating toner or essence to keep your skin balanced.

2. Exfoliate Regularly

Exfoliating your skin a few times a week can work wonders in unclogging pores and removing dead skin cells that can lead to acne. Opt for a gentle, chemical exfoliant like an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) to avoid irritating your skin. AHAs, like glycolic or lactic acid, work on the skin’s surface, while BHAs, like salicylic acid, penetrate deeper into the pores. Just don’t overdo it – too much exfoliation can strip your skin of its natural oils and lead to more breakouts. Listen to your skin and adjust the frequency of exfoliation as needed.

3. Moisturize and Hydrate

Even if your skin is oily, it still needs hydration. Skipping moisturizer can cause your skin to produce even more oil to compensate, leading to breakouts. Use a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and balanced. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, or aloe vera, which can provide hydration without clogging pores. Apply the moisturizer after cleansing and toning, gently patting it onto your skin to help it absorb better.

4. Choose Hair Products Wisely

Be mindful of the hair products you use and avoid ingredients that can clog pores, like silicones and heavy oils. Opt for non-comedogenic, oil-free haircare products, and consider using a gentle clarifying shampoo once a week to remove product buildup. Make sure to wash your hair regularly, especially if it’s oily, as this can contribute to forehead acne. Keep your hair off your face when possible to prevent transferring oils and products to your skin.

5. Mind Your Diet

Fueling your body with a balanced, nutritious diet can help keep your skin in check. Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while minimizing processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals can help support your skin’s health and reduce inflammation. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, which can help flush out toxins and keep your skin looking its best.

6. De-stress

Carve out some time in your day to relax and unwind. Activities like yoga, meditation, and exercise can help reduce stress and keep your cortisol levels in check, which may help prevent acne breakouts. Prioritize self-care and find activities that bring you joy and relaxation. By managing stress, you can support not only your skin’s health but also your overall well-being.

7. Know When It’s Time To Seek Professional Help

If your forehead acne persists or becomes severe, it might be time to consult a dermatologist. They can assess your skin and recommend the most appropriate treatments, such as topical medications, oral antibiotics, or even hormonal therapy. Don’t hesitate to seek help when needed – a professional’s guidance can make all the difference in achieving clear, healthy skin.


So there you have it – the lowdown on forehead acne and how to show it the door. By understanding the different types of acne and the main reasons behind those pesky breakouts, you’ll be better equipped to tackle them head-on. Remember to be patient, consistent, and gentle with your skincare routine, and make some lifestyle changes to support your journey to clear skin!

If things get tough, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a dermatologist. With persistence and a little TLC, you’ll soon be waving goodbye to forehead acne and saying hello to a more confident you!

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