acne on forehead

Forehead Acne: Top Causes & Natural Solutions to Eliminate It

Are you hiding behind bangs or layers of makeup, attempting to cover up your losing battle against forehead acne?

Even worse, have you been frustrated by expensive products that strip away your natural oils and dry out your skin, yet do nothing to stop the breakouts?

While acne anywhere is frustrating, forehead acne can be especially troubling as it’s often on full display. So let’s look at what causes acne on your forehead and how you can use DIY home remedies to tackle it gently and without irritation.


What Causes Acne on Your Forehead?

Whether you have acne on your forehead, your cheeks, your back, or anywhere else on your body the mechanism behind it is the same (although the causes are often not).

Acne forms when your sebaceous glands become clogged. These tiny glands below the surface of your skin produce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum acts as a natural cleanser and helps shield you from dirt and bacteria.

However, if your glands over-produce sebum, or they become clogged with dirt or dead skin cells, bacteria grow inside your pores and acne develops.

As we noted though, while the mechanism for all acne may be the same, there is a myriad of different causes. These include genetic factors, hormonal imbalances, diet, and environmental factors, and they can impact where acne appears.

For example, acne along your chin and jawline is typically caused by hormones, while acne on your cheeks is often caused by dirty makeup brushes, pillows, and phones touching your skin.

Here are the most common causes of acne on your forehead.

1. Touching Your Face

It’s not pleasant to think about but your hands come into contact with all sorts of germs and grime throughout the day. And every time you reach up to sweep back your bangs, scratch your forehead, or melodramatically rest your temples on your fingertips, you’re spreading bacteria.

Most of us are far more guilty of this than we’d like to admit. In fact, one observational study found that people touch their face more than 15 times per hour on average. That’s a lot of opportunities to transfer dirt and bacteria to your forehead!

2. Hair Products that Clog Pores

Have you ever heard the term “pomade acne”? I know, it sounds a bit old fashioned, but it goes to show how common breakouts caused by hair products actually are.

Oils, gels, and waxes can be particularly problematic as they can leave your surrounding skin oily and are the most likely to clog your pores.

Botaneri “Level Up” Tip

Try this Witch Hazel, Rosemary, and Tea Tree Acne-Blasting Gel to blast away acne over a few days. Thanks to the addition of xanthan gum (or your thickener of choice) it stays in place to fight acne all day long.

3. Not Washing Your Hair Enough

If you have acne below your bangs or right along your hairline, it could be a sign your hair itself is oily or you aren’t washing it enough.

Going longer between washes has become increasingly popular in the last several years, thanks to the rise of dry shampoo and the realization that overwashing your hair can lead to problems of its own.

However, if your hair becomes too oily between washes it can lead to clogged pores and acne. Then, of course, there’s the bacteria hanging out on your locks that can make their way to your forehead.

4. Stress

Last but not least, we can’t forget about stress. When you experience stress, your body produces hormones, including cortisol and androgens, that actually increase the production of sebum. As you can imagine, this can lead to clogged pores and an increase in breakouts.

Interestingly, stress can also increase the nerve signaling that causes itching, leading you to scratch and touch your face more and further contributing to breakouts.

If you had a lightbulb moment reading any of the causes above (or perhaps multiple of them), step number one is to address them with lifestyle. 

Use mindfulness to stop touching your face as often, try washing your hair more frequently, switch to clean hair products such as this DIY Sea Salt Spray, and implement regular stress relief practices. These lifestyle strategies can all help you reduce the occurrence of forehead acne in the long run. 

In the meantime, you can help turn your complexion around with a natural skincare routine designed to clear and refresh your skin.

4 DIY Skincare Strategies to Combat Forehead Acne Naturally

No matter which factors or combinations of factors above are at play in your own forehead acne, you can help diminish breakouts and soothe your skin naturally with a DIY skincare routine.

We’ve found that homemade skincare is often more effective than store-bought products, and this is especially true when it comes to acne-fighting formulas.

One reason for this is that many big brand products use harsh ingredients that dry out your skin and strip away natural oils. This causes your sebaceous glands to actually increase oil production and perpetuates the acne cycle.

Instead, you can make your own DIY skincare products with ingredients like honey, willow bark, avocado, green tea, and cinnamon. They contain powerful compounds to fight bacteria and calm inflammation, without drying out or irritating your skin.

We covered our top tips for creating a natural acne-fighting skincare routine in this article, and below are a few of the key takeaways. 

1. Use Raw Honey as a Gentle Cleanser

Washing your face with raw honey gently penetrates deep into pores to break up and wash away grime, dirt, and dead skin cells without disrupting your natural oils. 

Also, its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties help calm acne while preventing future breakouts. 

2. Exfoliate with Willow Bark Extract

Another common pitfall in anti-acne skincare regimens is using harsh physical exfoliants like scrubs to remove dirt, oil, and skin cells. This can lead to irritation and even cause micro-tears in your skin.

Try using natural chemical exfoliants, such as willow bark, which helps slough off dead skin cells and clear pores.

3. Moisturize with Raw Avocado, Jojoba Oil, or Evening Primrose Oil

Just because your skin is broken out or oily does not mean you should skip the moisturizer! While you do want to avoid heavy creams or serums, you should absolutely use a mild moisturizer to help balance your oil production.

Avocado is one of our top picks for acne-fighting moisturizers because it is anti-inflammatory and rich in both fatty acids and oleic acids to promote collagen synthesis and scar healing.

Give this DIY Acne-Fighting Face Mask a try for a dose of moisturizing avocado, along with 3 other natural skin-clearing ingredients – honey, green tea, and cinnamon.

Jojoba oil and evening primrose oil are also great anti-acne mask choices for moisturizing acne-prone skin because they are high in linoleic acid.  

Studies have found that people struggling with acne tend to have lower levels of linoleic and gamma linoleic acids, which are derived from oils and are naturally anti-inflammatory. One study also found that rubbing 2.5% linoleic acid on the skin helped relieve mild acne in patients.

And don’t worry, using facial oils won’t make your skin more oily, quite the opposite! Learn more about why and see our favorite basic facial oil for shiny skin.

4. Try Multi-Masking if You Have Multiple Skin Concerns to Tackle

If you only struggle with acne on your forehead while battling issues such as dry, red, or aging skin on other areas of your face, multi-masking may be a great choice for you. 

This strategy allows you to target each area of your face with the natural therapeutic ingredients it needs most. That way you can moisturize the dry areas, soothe the sensitive ones, and clean up the acne-prone zones, all at one time.

You can learn more about the process and see our favorite masks for each skin concern in this guide to multi-masking.

DIY Beauty Guide

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About the author

I’m Drew, creator of Botaneri and an artisanal skincare formulator and certified aromatherapist who is here to help take the mystery out of DIY natural beauty. I started creating my own plant-based skin and body care products at home to deal with my own skin issues.

What I love most is helping people create luxurious and effective self-care products right in their own kitchens. It’s a lot easier than you think. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you.

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