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How to Clear Forehead Acne

By Shannon Marks ; Updated December 18, 2018

The forehead is one of the most common areas for acne to appear. Pimples form when oil, dead skin cells and bacteria clog the inside of the hair follicle. What results is a whitehead, blackhead, papule or pustule, according to the National Institutes of Health. A whitehead occurs when the oil and bacteria stay below the skin. Blackheads form when the surface of the pore opens and the contents change color. If the follicle wall breaks, a papule will develop, and a pustule occurs when white blood cells enter the follicle.

  1. Wash your hair every day. While shampooing your hair so often may dry it out, it’s likely that an oily scalp is causing your forehead breakouts. Your pimples may even worsen if your hair rests on your forehead. If you pull your hair back into a ponytail, you could see an improvement. Avoid using greasy hair gels, mousse and other products, because they can clog pores.

  2. Cleanse your face twice a day with a gentle, foaming soap. Avoid scrubbing because this could irritate your skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

  3. Apply a thin film of 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide over your entire forehead. Benzoyl peroxide works by killing the bacteria, known as P. acnes, that causes pimples to form. Only use a higher formulation of this medication if you do not see results after about four to six weeks.

  4. Use lactic or glycolic acid as a spot-on treatment. Daniel Kern of Acne.org says that alpha hydroxy acid helps the surface of the pimple dry, peel and slough off. It also reduces inflammation. Start with the 10 percent formulation before using a stronger dose.

  5. Cleanse your forehead two or three times a week with an exfoliator containing salicylic acid. An exfoliator is an abrasive agent used to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Salicylic acid will penetrate the hair follicle and help prevent clogs from forming.

  6. Tip

    If you do not see an improvement in your complexion in about four to six weeks, talk to your dermatologist about taking a prescription medication like an antibiotic or an oral contraceptive. Be sure to avoid touching your forehead with your hands. The American Academy of Dermatology website can help you find a dermatologist in your area.

    Warnings

    Picking and popping pimples can cause permanent scarring. Only use oil-free skin products, including moisturizers and sunscreen.

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