Acne anywhere on the face can be uncomfortable, itchy and unsightly, but it brings a special level of irritation when positioned along the jawline. The skin is pulled taut, and anytime you try to rest your face on your hand, you're reminded of your acne by the painful sting of pressure on a blemish. You can work to eliminate your jaw acne, however, once you come to understand what causes it.
Acne along the jaw, just as with anywhere else on the face, can come in a variety of forms. On the mild end of the spectrum, there are whiteheads and blackheads. Nodules or cysts can also form, however, which often require the intervention of a dermatologist to remove in order to prevent or minimize scarring.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition caused by the accumulation of cysts on the ovaries. This can lead to too much testosterone in the body, which can cause excess hair, irregular periods and acne along the jawline. If you have acne only on your jaw and nowhere else, you might wish to seek out the advice of your OB/GYN.
For the most part, irritants are what cause acne to sprout up on the jawline. Your hair brushing against your face day in and day out is a prime cause of breakouts in this area, especially if you use a lot of products or have oily hair. Likewise, the simple act of leaning on your hand while in thought can introduce a whole host of bacteria into your pores and lead to new blemishes. Finally, friction from clothing, helmets, chin straps or even a violin chin-rest can cause you to break out along the jaw.
You can treat acne along the jaw just as you do acne on any other part of your face. Cleansers and creams that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are some of the most common over-the-counter acne products. If your breakouts are severe and don't clear up within two months of using mild treatments, you should seek the advice of a dermatologist, who may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to kill the underlying bacteria. A doctor may also prescribe treatments such as Retin-A or Accutane to help your skin slough off dead cells faster and open up your pores.
Not all acne along the jawline can be prevented, but in those cases that are caused by irritation, you can do yourself a favor by not leaning on your hands or wearing confining turtlenecks or jackets that rub your face. Make sure helmets or other gear are heavily padded and that you replace the pads with clean ones regularly. Wash your face with a mild cleanser after sweating and wash your hair every day if it's oily. These measures can reduce the number of breakouts you experience along the jaw and help your current blemishes heal faster.