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What Causes Chin Acne?

By Chris Sherwood ; Updated July 18, 2017

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, about 80 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 will experience acne at some point during their lives. One common place that acne occurs is on the chin. Chin acne can be caused by several contributing factors.


Glands called sebaceous glands are located in the skin of your face. These glands produce a naturally protective oil called sebum. Sebum is an important part of keeping the skin from drying out, but can also be produced in excess leading to acne comedone formation. Acne comedones are plugs that block the follicles of your skin, and are commonly referred to as blackheads or whiteheads.

Skin Cells

For sebum to form acne in the follicles of your chin, it must first combine with sloughed skin cells from your body to form a soft plug. Old skin cells are sloughed (shed) to make room for the younger skin cells beneath. This shedding process is constantly occurring all over your body, which allows acne to form at anytime. Regular skin cell shedding can cause periodic outbreaks of acne, while consistent irregular skin cells shedding can contribute to chronic acne problems on the chin.


Bacteria, more specifically the Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria also play a role in the formation of acne on the chin. When P. acnes bacteria is introduced into an acne comedone, the body responds by sending white blood cells to the area of infection. This can cause a mild blackhead or whitehead to form into a more serious form of acne, such as a papule or pustule, as white blood cells build up and form pus inside the lesion.


As white blood cells continue to build up inside the acne lesion on the chin, bacteria, sebum and pus can burst out into the surrounding tissue causing inflammation. This progresses the acne into a more severe and painful form such as an acne cyst or nodule. As inflammation grows, pressure can build up behind the acne lesion, causing the cyst or nodule to burst. This results in acne scar tissue forming.

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