acne around mouth

Suffering from acne around the mouth?

You’re not alone. Acne around the mouth area is common.

Confused about why it’s there or just looking for a solution?

We break down potential causes of acne around the mouth, as well as some treatments and preventative actions for clearer skin.

Keep reading to find out more about mouth acne, and find a treatment that works for you!

Makeup Scholar

Adult Acne Around The Mouth – Is It Normal?!

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition. It can have a long lasting impact – not just physically in the form of scarring (we’ve previously given some tips on how to get rid of scars), but also psychologically.

Although, we associate acne with teenagers, it’s very common in adults too. Over 40 million people in the US are affected by acne every year. More than half of those with acne are are older than 25.

Adults in particular tend to deal with acne near the mouth area. Adult acne is most common around the mouth, jawline, and chin.

Why Do I have Acne Around My Mouth?

There’s not just one single cause of acne – it’s caused by a variety of different issues.

Face Mapping is commonly used to isolate areas of the face and analyze the causes of acne in that area in particular.

There are a variety of different face maps. Most agree that acne around the sides of the mouth is primarily related to stress and hormone changes/imbalances. Acne around the chin/under the mouth is believed to be the result of a build up of toxins, and diet related issues (particularly a deficiency in fibre).

acne around the mouth

Hormonal Causes – Period Acne And Constant Hormonal Acne

Mouth area acne is frequently linked to hormonal changes and imbalances.

It’s normal to develop breakouts around your time of the month. Hormonal acne is common when you’re ovulating, when you start or just before you start your period, or two weeks after your period started. One study found 40% of female subjects with acne had menstrual irregularities.

Sometimes hormonal acne is always present. Acne is connected to hormonal imbalance conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. An endocrine disorder is a possible cause, but this is rare. If you’re concerned that you may be suffering from hormone related acne, please consult your doctor.

Possible treatments for hormonal acne include androgen receptor (or production) blockers. The combined oral contraceptive pill and spironolactone are the most popular treatment, however they’re only suitable for certain patients. Always seek advice from your doctor.

Diet Related Causes – Not Enough Fibre?

A high fibre diet potentially has an impact on the prevalence of acne around them mouth. Adding 13g to breakfast cereal everyday lead to a considerable reduction in acne, according to one 1983 study. High fibre and low fat diets are possibly linked to a reduction of androgens in the urine and plasma of adults (acne is androgen dependent).

In addition to hormonal and diet issues, acne around the mouth are can be caused by certain cosmetic products and ineffective facial cleansing.

 Ineffective Cleansing or Touching Your Face

Sometimes we get lazy and don’t remove our makeup properly after a long day. If you’re noticing acne around the mouth and chin area, be sure you’re properly removing the build up of makeup and dirt from the lower half of your face everyday.

One face wipe is not enough!

Use a cleanser with acne fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide (or our natural options below).

Benzoyl peroxide is antibacterial, as well as mildy comedolytic and anti-inflamatory. It works well on inflammatory pimples and cysts. Salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory with keratolytic effects. It helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles, freckles, as well as acne.

If you want to ensure a deep clean, considering investing in a facial cleansing brush like the Clarisonic Mia 2.

A toner works well after cleansing to help prevent oil and dirt from seeping into your pores. Finish off with a hydrating moisturizer because benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can dry out your skin.

Sometimes when we’re bored at work or school we rest our hands on our chin or cheek area. Your hands can easily transfer bacteria to your face, leading to breakouts in those area. Try to consciously avoid touching your face throughout the day.

Using Comedogenic Cosmetic Products

Acne cosmetica (acne associated with using comedogenic makeup) is fairly common. It’s typically found in women aged 20-40.

A lot of comedogenic makeup can clog up your pores and cause breakouts. Are you applying heavy coverage concealer and foundation to the area around your mouth to cover up the acne? It can just make the problem worse.

Does Fluoride Cause Acne?

There’s a possible link between acne around the mouth area and fluoridated toothpaste (particularly the corners of the mouth and chin area). But the research on this is disputed and outdated. There’s a contentious debate over whether or not fluoride is safe.

If you’re concerned that your fluoridated toothpaste is the cause of your acne problem, try switching to fluoride free formula and see if it makes a difference.

How to Treat The Problem

Switch To Non-Comedogenic Makeup

Don’t worry – you do not need to give up on makeup entirely to help treat your acne! Just try switching to non-comedogenic products.  Non-comedogenic products are formulated without certain ingredients that can clog pores and increase the chances of developing acne.

Try out products with less ingredients (like a mineral foundation), and be sure to stick to foundations that work well for sensitive skin if you’ve ever experienced flare ups.

Just start using non-comedogenic makeup and use less product around the mouth – you could see a reduction in your acne from that small change alone!

Natural Treatments

Benzoyl peroxide can irritate the skin – stick to concentrations less than 5% to avoid strong irritation. High concentrations of salicylic acid can also cause burning, redness, and stinging.

Want to avoid potentially harsh chemicals? Check out more natural acne busting ingredients like green tea and tea tree oil below. You can also use green tea and tea tree oil to make your own DIY makeup setting spray.

Green Tea

Green tea is one of the most popular natural treatments for acne. At the time of writing, it has 4.4/5 stars based on 542 reviews on

I don’t know about you, but I love drinking a nice, hot cup of green tea in the winter time. Green tea is also linked to a possibly faster metabolism and possible reduction in the risk of certain cancers!

Some acne creams and lotions on the market contain green tea. A study found a lotion containing topical (2%) green tea reduced the appearance of mild to moderate acne. Total legions reduced by 58%, and the mean severity index (SI) fell by 39%.

One research paper found that green tea catechins help to inhibit the production of sebum in men’s foreheads.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil can help heal the acne around your mouth.

One study found 5% tropical tea tree oil helped treat mild to moderate acne. Another compared the efficacy of tea tree oil vs benzoyl peroxide as treatments for acne. Both were effective. While tea tree oil took longer to take effect, it resulted in fewer side effects than benzoyl peroxide.

Many acne fighting lotions include tea tree oil. Alternatively, you can buy a small bottle of liquid tea tree oil – just use a Q-Tip to apply to your acne.  Apply it on the acne area only. It could irritate the skin if applied all over.

One To Skip?! – Baking Soda

Some people like to use baking soda as an acne treatment.

However, we recommend avoiding baking soda if you can. Especially if you have sensitive skin.

While baking soda is great for teeth whitening, it can be too harsh on the skin. It’s a 9 on the PH scale (your skin is at 5) – it’s better to use products at a similar PH level to that of your skin.

Want more advice for clearer skin? We asked 15 different skincare experts and bloggers to share their tips for flawless looking skin.

Clearer skin will take some time. Some academic research suggests wearing makeup can often have a positive impact on the quality of live of those suffering with acne. Invest in a good blemish concealer to improve the appearance of your day-to-day skin right now.