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Tips for preventing and treating eyebrow acne

These pimples can be extremely frustrating! Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep them at bay.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 8 min read
Medically reviewed by Meredith Hartle, DO
Clear skin between eyebrows
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 8 min read
Medically reviewed by Meredith Hartle, DO
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Summary

Your face is tightly packed with oil-producing glands, especially in and around your eyebrows. When excess oil (sebum) and dead skin cells clog up your pores, this can lead to breakouts—most likely, to your immense frustration. 

Acne—and eyebrow acne—isn’t uncommon. And the good news is, there are ways to help prevent it and treat it if it does happen. Here, we’ll dive into the causes of acne between your eyebrows and what you can do to enjoy healthier and clearer skin. 

Why do I have acne between my eyebrows?

If you’re suffering from a breakout, you’re not alone. In America, up to 50 million cases of acne are reported annually.¹ Additionally, acne affects approximately 85% of adolescents and young adults.² 

You develop a pimple between your eyebrows when a combination of dead skin cells and sebum blocks your hair follicles in the area. Sebum naturally occurs on your skin and can help keep your skin hydrated. However, in some cases, your sebaceous glands may become hyperactive and trigger the overproduction of sebum, leading to clogged pores and acne.³ 

Other causes for eyebrow acne include:⁴

  • Using hair or skin products that clog your pores.

  • Taking certain medications (such as steroids).

  • Hormonal disorders (such as polycystic ovarian syndrome).

Your diet may also contribute to acne. Research shows that a western diet can contribute to causing acne because it often consists of foods with a high glycemic index, such as dairy products, sugary treats, and simple carbohydrates.⁵ 

One study found that reducing the consumption of foods with a high glycemic load improved the symptoms of acne, and reduced the rate of sebum excretion in young male patients.⁶

Types of acne between the eyebrows

Acne can be categorized as non-inflammatory acne (whiteheads and blackheads) or inflammatory acne (papules, pustules, or cysts). Let’s take a closer look at both so you know how to identify them.

Non-inflammatory acne: whiteheads and blackheads

If you have closed comedones, more commonly known as whiteheads, then you will notice a white bump whose contents remain below your skin. Blackheads can be identified by their dark color, which is due to a “plug” at the opening of a pore. This plug is made of dead skin cells and sebum (aka oil) as they exit the pore. The contents of the plug react with oxygen in the air and turn black through a chemical reaction called oxidation.

So, whiteheads and blackheads develop when your pores get clogged with dead skin cells and oil. Bacteria that usually lives on the skin grows in this environment, thus leading to inflammation and acne breakouts.⁷

Inflammatory acne

Inflammatory acne refers to red, painful bumps called papules, or pus-filled bumps called pustules. More severe forms of inflammatory acne include nodules or cysts.⁸

Preventing and treating acne breakouts between your eyebrows

If you’re experiencing either non-inflammatory or inflammatory acne between your eyebrows, you can take measures to help prevent future breakouts.

Prevention

Acne can be a frustrating skin condition, but there are steps you can take to help prevent it from occurring. First, it's important to keep your skin clean. This means washing your face gently up to twice daily, and after sweating. It's important to choose a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser and to apply it with your fingertips, as scrubbing with washcloths or sponges can irritate your skin. 

Additionally, it's important to keep your hands off your face and to avoid picking, popping, or squeezing your acne, as this can increase your risk for scarring.⁹

Reducing the consumption of animal proteins (such as dairy), fatty foods, and excess sugar may also help prevent future breakouts.¹⁰

Topical treatments 

If your acne is persistent, your medical provider may recommend several topical treatments to help you get your skin under control. Some of the most common acne treatments include:

Retinoids like adapalene or tretinoin: These topicals are the mainstay of topical therapy for acne because they are comedolytic (they help prevent the formation of comedones), and they are also anti-inflammatory, helping you maintain clear skin.¹¹

Benzoyl peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is a bactericidal agent that kills acne bacteria by releasing oxygen within the follicle. It generally works quickly and effectively, often treating acne in as early as five days.¹² Consider skincare products with benzoyl peroxide to help clear your skin. 

Topical antibiotics: Topical antibiotics such as clindamycin may also be prescribed to help your skin clear up quite effectively.¹³

Home remedies: Using medicinal plants that have anti-acne effects, such as aloe vera, may also help you clear your skin. Aloe vera has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties that can help combat your acne.¹⁴

Other treatments 

Aside from topical treatments, your doctor may also recommend other therapies to help you win your fight against acne. These treatments include:

Hormonal treatments: If your acne is persistent using conventional methods and topicals, then it’s possible your acne may need additional oral treatment to help combat hormonal components. Hormonal treatment options include birth control pills and spironolactone.¹⁵ It’s important to discuss what may be right for you with your medical provider.

Procedures: Your medical provider may also direct you to undergo some dermatological procedures such as manual comedone extraction, steroid injection for larger cysts, laser and light therapy, and chemical peels to help you clear your acne.¹⁶

When to consult your dermatology provider

Acne is a common skin condition. While many cases of acne can be treated with over-the-counter products, there are certain situations where it's important for you to consult a dermatology provider.

If your acne is severe, not improving with over-the-counter products, causing you pain and discomfort, scarring, or is affecting your mental health, you should speak with a dermatology provider as soon as possible to get help.

The path to better skin starts here

When it comes to battling acne, there's no universal approach that works for everyone. That's where Curology steps in, offering personalized solutions that cater to your specific skincare concerns. 

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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Our licensed dermatology providers will create a personalized prescription formula tailored to your skin concerns and guide you through your skincare journey, so you don’t have to try and figure it out on your own. You can sign up for a 30-day trial* now. Don't let acne hold you back—take control with Curology today.

 

FAQs

Is there a special reason for acne between my eyebrows?

There can be a few reasons why you may experience acne between your eyebrows. One common cause is due to oil and sweat buildup in that area, especially if you have oily skin or are prone to sweating. Another cause could be friction, such as from wearing glasses or frequently touching your face. 

In some cases, acne between your eyebrows can be a result of using hair products that contain oils (such as coconut oil) or other pore-clogging ingredients. It's always a good idea to consult with a dermatology provider to determine the specific cause and best treatment plan for your acne.

How do I stop acne breakouts between my eyebrows?

Acne breakouts between your eyebrows can be frustrating, but there are several steps you can take to prevent them. First, keep the area clean by washing your face gently up to twice daily and after sweating. Be sure to choose a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser and avoid using any tools that may irritate your skin. 

You should also avoid touching your face. If you wear glasses, try cleaning them regularly and switching to contacts to reduce friction on the skin. If your acne is severe, consider speaking with a healthcare provider for additional treatment options.

Are there any home remedies for acne between the eyebrows?

We generally recommend over-the-counter options, along with talking to a licensed dermatology provider to determine what other options may be the best remedies for your acne. We recommend discussing any home remedies with a medical provider before giving them a try.

 

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Conditions by the Numbers. (n.d.).

  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Skin Conditions by the Numbers. Ibid. 

  3. Makrantonaki, E., et al. An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the pathogenesis of acne. Dermatoendocrinol. (January-March 2011).

  4. Sutaria, A.H., et al. Acne Vulgaris. StatPearls. National Library of Medicine. (2023, February 16).

  5. Melnik, B. Dietary intervention in acne: Attenuation of increased mTORC1 signaling promoted by Western diet. Dermatoendocrinol. (2012, January 1).

  6. Melnik, B. Dietary intervention in acne: Attenuation of increased mTORC1 signaling promoted by Western diet. Dermatoendocrinol. Ibid.

  7. National Institutes of Health. Acne. (August 2020).

  8. National Institutes of Health. Acne. Ibid.

  9. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Acne:Tips for Managing. (2022, November 16).

  10. Melnik, B. Dietary intervention in acne: Attenuation of increased mTORC1 signaling promoted by Western diet. Dermatoendocrinol. Ibid.

  11. Leyden, J., et al. Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). (September 2017).

  12.  Kraft, J. and Freiman, A. Management of acne. Canadian Medical Association Journal. (2011, April 19).

  13. Murphy, P.B., et al. Clindamycin. StatPearls. National Library of Medicine. (2022, June 27).

  14. Surjushe, A., et al. Aloe vera: a short review. Indian J Dermatol. (2008, n.d.).

  15. Trivedi, M.K., et al. A Review of hormone-based therapies to treat adult acne vulgaris in women. Int J Womens Dermatol. (2017, March 30).

  16.  American Academy of Dermatology Association. Acne Clinical Guideline. (n.d.).

Meredith Hartle is a board-certified Family Medicine physician at Curology. She earned her medical degree at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, MO.

*Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Meredith Hartle, DO

Meredith Hartle, DO

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