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Why Do I Have Acne Between My Eyebrows?

Find out what may be causing your breakout and what you can do about it.

August 23, 2023

Chances are, you’ve come face-to-face with acne between your eyebrows at one point or another. Whether you’ve relied on face makeup to hide breakouts, tried your hand at new skin care products, or simply paid extra attention to your eyebrow area in your skin care routine, you’ve likely learned that acne between eyebrows can be an absolute pain to deal with. 

And while there’s no way to get rid of those pesky blemishes overnight, there are ways to get your eyebrow area under control. Part of managing acne between eyebrows starts with understanding its causes. Learn more about eyebrow acne, plus discover skin care tips and product recommendations to get your complexion in order.
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What Causes Acne Between Eyebrows?

As it turns out, there are many potential causes of acne between your eyebrows. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne can be caused by hair follicles or pores that are clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. They also share that the bacteria on the skin can sometimes get inside of the clogged pore, allowing blemishes to multiply. 

Michelle Henry, MD FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and L'Oréal Paris consultant, says that acne between eyebrows can sometimes be a result of skin care products or skin manipulation. In addition to this, the Mayo Clinic reveals that certain medications, stress (hello life!), hormonal changes and your diet could also play a role in the development of acne. But one of the main culprits of acne developing between your eyebrows is none other than your hair. 

If you’re wearing hairstyles that sit at your eyebrows — such as bangs — you might run the risk of clogging your brows with dirt and oil from your hair care products. For those who prefer a natural brow grow-out or unibrow, the hairs growing across your eyebrow may also lead to acne if the skin and hair in that area aren’t properly cleansed. Not to mention, face and eyebrow makeup that isn’t properly removed can also result in acne. 

And if you wear glasses (both eyeglasses and sunglasses) where the bridge sits near your brows, not cleaning your specs regularly could also be a potential culprit. Dr. Henry shares that blemishes between eyebrows can be a result of mechanical acne. “Anything that's rubbing the skin can also cause acne,” she says. Things like eyeglasses and PPE face masks are examples of items that can cause this form of acne. 

How to Manage Acne Between Your Eyebrows

If acne between your eyebrows is killing your confidence or resulting in painful blemishes, you don’t have to surrender to it. Below, explore eight skin care tips to help get your complexion back on track.

1. Use the Right Skin Care Ingredients

Certain active ingredients can make a major difference in the appearance of acne. Per the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), these include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinoids and niacinamide. All of these ingredients have many skin care benefits, but specific to acne treatment, benzoyl peroxide helps reduce acne-causing bacteria while salicylic acid, retinoids and niacinamide help unclog pores and minimize oiliness. They can all be found over the counter and may be a good place to start when trying to address acne between your brows.

Editor’s tip: Niacinamide for the skin is commonly used to help with blemishes and dark spots left behind by acne. If you’re dealing with post-acne marks that won’t seem to go away on their own, try the L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal 12% [Niacinamide + Amino Sulfonic + Ferulic Acid] Dark Spot Serum. This lightweight serum helps reduce the appearance of dark spots with the added niacinamide, while amino sulfonic and ferulic acid gently exfoliates the texture of the skin for a more even skin tone.
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2. Try a Clay Mask

While we’re all for exfoliating, harsh scrubbing can negatively impact your skin. You can always opt for a gentle clay mask that offers similar benefits to a physical exfoliant that acne-prone skin will appreciate. Use a clay face mask like the L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Detox & Brighten Face Mask to detoxify and illuminate your skin by cleaning out pores and drawing out deep impurities like dirt and oil. 

3. Try Double Cleansing

If you find that one cleansing session just doesn’t cut it, you may want to try your hand at double cleansing. This two-step cleansing method may help keep excess oil at bay and remove makeup and comedogenic products that may clog pores. It can’t be stressed enough — sleeping in makeup is an absolute no-no. Every time you sleep with makeup on, it can mix with dirt and oil on your face, which can lead to breakouts and acne forming, including between eyebrows. And yes, per the AAD, even non-comedogenic products can cause acne when you sleep in them.

Start with a no-rinse cleanser, like the L’Oréal Paris Ideal All Skin Types Makeup Removing Towelettes to gently remove all traces of makeup without drying out the skin and to visibly tighten pores. Follow up with a rinse-off cleanser, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 3.5% Glycolic Acid Cleanser which gently washes the face while exfoliating to remove excess oils and makeup for smoother skin. This cleanser is also formulated with glycolic acid and salicylic acid, two skin care ingredients known to reduce acne, per the AAD.

4. Switch Out Your Pillowcases Regularly

Your pillowcases most likely have residue from your skin care and hair care that transfers to bedding while you sleep — along with body sweat from hot nights. The AAD shares that dead skin cells, bacteria and dirt can easily build up on your linens and transfer to the surface of your skin. To combat any future breakouts the AAD recommends changing your pillowcases two to three times a week.

5. Change Your Bed Sheets, Too

While you’re switching out those pillowcases you might want to change those sheets, too. No one can guarantee that their face won’t end up on the sheets throughout the night and you run the same risk of transferring bacteria and other unwanted impurities from your sheets to your skin. Cleveland Clinic recommends changing your sheets once a week or every other week to tackle bacteria before it gets to your skin.

6. Consider Switching Your Hairstyle

As previously stated, like it or not, your hair could be the reason you are noticing acne around your brows. Whether you have naturally oily hair or use different hairstyling products, oil can find a way to your eyebrow area and clog pores, according to the AAD. So be sure to wash off hair care product residue or swap out products for oil-free alternatives. 

If you’re currently working with bangs or like to wear your mane down, consider switching things up with some updo hairstyles (or even half-up hairstyles) that keep your hair off your face.

7. Don’t Pop Your Pimples

Resist the urge to pop, pick or squeeze the acne between your brows. Picking at a breakout can easily make things worse, which is the last thing you want. No matter how tempting it may be, if you pick at acne and blemishes it can cause acne scarring, and bacteria spreading resulting in more blemishes along with breakouts that take longer to go away. You’re better off leaving extractions to the pros or sticking on a hydrocolloid patch to keep yourself from picking. 

8. Give Your Skin Care Products Time

As much as you wish that your skin care products could have an overnight impact, that’s simply not how things work. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should give any acne treatment a minimum of four weeks to work. Within four to six weeks, you should be able to tell whether the products are making a difference, but it can take up to two to three months to see a significant improvement in the appearance of your acne. 

Stay consistent with your routine and be patient when it comes to results. Switching to different products too soon could have an adverse reaction and result in worse acne between your brows and other places on your face.

If any acne between eyebrows persists, consult with a board-certified dermatologist. A professional can help you identify what could be responsible for the acne between your eyebrows and come up with a treatment plan that’s suitable for your specific skin care needs. 

Next: When to Use Niacinamide in Your Skin Care Routine

Photo Credit: Shalwah Evans

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