The Causes of Eyebrow Acne
So, it’s happened again. You’re staring down a fresh pimple right between your eyebrows and weighing the options: Pop it? (No!) Walk around all week with a huge zit smack in the middle of your face, and hope everyone is polite enough to ignore it? Get bangs? Never leave the house again? Or maybe, you think, there’s an easy way to get rid of acne between the eyebrows at home. It turns out, there is. But before you buy anything else that promises to finally clear up your skin (you’ve heard that one before) it’s a good idea to figure out why your brows are breaking out in the first place.
The Causes of Eyebrow Acne
Acne between the eyebrows is a common (and frustrating) concern. You don’t need to suffer from breakouts elsewhere on the face to experience the occasional pimple between brows. In fact, there are lots of reasons why acne shows up between the eyebrows and nowhere else. Here are some of the most common reasons that pimples form between the brows:
Acne happens when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and dirt. Pimples, cysts, and pustules are the infections that result from those plugged follicles. Acne can form anywhere on the body that hair follicles are present, but it only makes sense that places where hair is removed are more susceptible to infection. Whether it’s tweezing, waxing, threading, or shaving, all hair removal methods create a vulnerability to irritation and ingrown hairs. If you’re regularly grooming your brows (and many of us do) it’s possible that the acne you’re experiencing is related to your hair removal method.
To reduce the likelihood of eyebrow acne from maintaining your eyebrows, make sure your hair removal method is done on clean skin, with sanitized tools. Select a method that suits your skin type and minimizes irritation, and apply a hypochlorus acid spray (like this one) after grooming to soothe the skin and prevent infection.
You might have heard the term “T-zone” thrown around in reference to skin types, and all it means is that there is a T-shaped area of the face (the T-zone) that tends to produce more oil than the rest of the face. The T-zone includes the forehead/eyebrows and the nose. Not everyone experiences oilier skin in this area of the face, but if pimples have been popping up between your brows, it’s possible that oily skin could be clogging the hair follicles and leading to infection.
If you suspect an oily T-zone is contributing to your breakouts, a chemical exfoliant like salicylic acid (applied as a face wash) can help increase skin cell turnover, reducing the likelihood of clogged hair follicles. Selecting an appropriate moisturizer that’s formulated specifically for oily skin can help, too.
Most of us have experimented with our makeup and skincare routines in order to find products that won’t cause breakouts, but you might have forgotten about the products you use in your brows. Pomades, waxes, pencils, and powders applied to the eyebrows still come in contact with your skin even if you use them directly on or in the hairs of your brows. Makeup brushes can also harbor acne-causing bacteria if they aren’t cleaned regularly, so take the time to disinfect your tools. It might take some experimentation, but it’s worth switching your makeup routine if you’re breaking out frequently.
Pimples between the eyebrows might tempt you into getting bangs to hide behind, but before reaching for scissors, consider that the oils in your hair can actually make brow and forehead acne worse. If you already have bangs, or any hair that falls over the face, the natural oils from your hair can contribute to the formation of pimples. Hair products used in bangs or near the face are also sometimes the cause of acne, so take a look at your hair cut and routine and consider making a switch.
If bangs are an essential part of your personal style, don’t worry! Make sure to wash them frequently to remove excess oil and pin them out of the way when you exercise to keep them from absorbing sweat. If you’re struggling to keep your brows and forehead clear, consider using an anti-microbial hypochlorous acid spray throughout the day (like this one from PurClarity Skincare) to keep acne-causing bacteria at bay.
Touching your face
Just like the oils and products from hair touching your face can cause acne, constantly touching your eyebrows with your hands is an obvious (but often-overlooked) reason that pimples form between the brows. If you fidget with your glasses, pick at your eyebrows, or rest your head in your hands while you work or watch TV, pay attention! The oil and bacteria from your hands might be the cause of eyebrow breakouts.
The best solution is to simply stop touching your face, but that’s easier said than done. If you just can’t break the habit, work to improve your hand-washing habits and consider misting a hypochlorous acid spray (to kill off the bacteria you’re spreading) on your face a few times a day. This one from PurClarity Skincare is a great option.
For some, eyebrow pimples are part of a hormonal acne issue that’s caused by menstruation, pregnancy, puberty, or medications (like birth control) that affect hormones. In these cases, it’s important to understand the root cause and address any underlying issues with a physician. You might find your monthly zit upsetting, but remember that mild, transient hormonal acne isn’t necessarily indicative of a health problem. For hormonal pimples between the eyebrows, over-the-counter remedies like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and hypochlorous acid are usually sufficient.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has popularized a way of identifying the causes of acne called “face mapping.” According to this technique, the location on the face of a breakout indicates the underlying cause. In TCM, eyebrow acne corresponds to the liver and the body’s detoxification processes. This might make you anxious that the zit on your eyebrow means that something is terribly wrong with your internal organs, but so far this theory hasn’t been scientifically proven. While the concept of face mapping remains popular because acne on some areas of the face does correlate to certain medical issues (PCOS is a disease known to cause jawline acne) there’s no evidence to suggest that your eyebrow pimples have anything to do with your liver function.
Eliminating Eyebrow Acne for Good
It’s possible that correctly identifying the cause of your eyebrow acne and properly addressing it will be enough to keep future breakouts at bay. Minor lifestyle changes can completely change your skin with consistency and patience. But what about the painful, unmissable pimple that’s already sprouted between your brows? It turns out that one of the best strategies for preventing eyebrow acne also works to treat it: PurClarity Skincare’s Revitalizing Skin Mist (a hypochlorous acid spray) has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that fight breakouts. It’s the same product that’s been used in surgical and hospital wound care settings for years, now available for home use— a worthy match for even your most aggravating acne. Learn more about the science of hypochlorous acid here.