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Acne Between Eyebrows: How It Happens and How to Treat It

It’s estimated that up to 50 million Americans experience an acne breakout each year, 85% of whom are between the ages of 12 and 24. If you’re among them, you’ve probably become pretty good at hiding your breakouts. But there’s one spot that’s especially tricky to disguise — the space between your eyebrows.

Acne between the eyebrows sticks out like a sore thumb. Caking on concealer only seems to make it worse, and there’s no hairdo or accessory that can totally hide it. The best course of action is learning how acne between the eyebrows happens, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.

What Causes Acne Between Eyebrows?

Any acne sufferer knows a breakout can happen anywhere on your body. Where there’s skin, there could be acne. However, acne most frequently occurs on the face, which has more oil-producing glands than the rest of your body (barring your scalp, neck, and chest). These are called sebaceous glands and are attached to the hair follicles in your skin.

The sebaceous glands produce a substance called sebum, or skin oil, which keeps your skin and hair from getting too dry. But when your glands produce too much sebum, your skin gets shiny and oily, and your pores become clogged. Any dirt or bacteria that comes into contact with your skin gets trapped in the clogged pores, plugging up your hair follicles and forming pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads.

But what specifically causes acne between the eyebrows?

Your Skincare Routine

Are you neglecting the space between your eyebrows in your skincare routine? When using a cleanser, serum, or toner to fight acne, it’s not uncommon for people to rub it into their cheeks, forehead, chin, and neck, completely skipping the area between their eyebrows.

So next time you wash your face, pay attention to any untreated areas. You might be surprised by what you’re missing! 

Additionally, some anti-aging products contain ingredients that may cause acne. These products are comedogenic, meaning they can clog your pores and cause a breakout. Also, take a careful look at your sunscreen and your favorite concealer — they may also be comedogenic.

Infographic: Acne Between Eyebrows: How It Happens and How to Treat It

Your Lifestyle

Without realizing it, you may be introducing excess amounts of bacteria to your skin, particularly that pesky space between your eyebrows. 

For example, if you’re currently under a lot of stress, you may notice more acne between your eyebrows. This is because we tend to touch our faces more when we’re stressed, which is one way to introduce bacteria to the skin. Your eyeglasses or sunglasses can also introduce bacteria between your brows.

Another cause may be your new hairdo. Not only are bangs usually ineffective at hiding acne between your eyebrows, they could also be causing the breakout by introducing additional oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria to the area.

If you do a lot of physical activity or live in a hot climate, sweat may also be the culprit. Sweat can drip products from your hair or scalp down to the space between your eyebrows, introducing comedogenic agents to the area and clogging those pores.

Your Eyebrows

Strangely enough, the problem could also be your eyebrows themselves! Many people groom their eyebrows in one way or another, which can lead to breakouts. 

For example, eyebrow waxing may tear openings in your hair follicles, allowing dirt and bacteria to become trapped inside. This is likely to lead to a breakout, especially if you have acne-prone skin. 

Perhaps you skip waxing and tweeze those stubborn hairs yourself. Unfortunately, tweezing may still lead to a breakout — out of all hair removal methods, it’s the most likely to cause ingrown hairs. An ingrown hair forms when hair is broken off as opposed to removed by the root, and then grows into the skin instead of out of it. Even when a hair is removed by the root, it could become ingrown when it grows back. Once the hair follicle is blocked, a pimple can form in the clogged pore.

Treating Acne Between Eyebrows

Thankfully, there are many treatment options for acne between the eyebrows. The method you choose will depend on the acne’s cause.

If you believe your skincare routine is to blame, vet all your skincare and cosmetic products to make sure they have strictly non-comedogenic ingredients, which are less likely to clog your pores. Also, always opt for oil-free moisturizers, sunscreens, and makeup.

Lifestyle changes may be trickier. Try not to touch your face during the day to avoid introducing bacteria to your skin. Simple stress-relieving techniques, like deep breathing and meditation, can help.

If you think your hair or glasses may be the culprit, pin your bangs back or wear contacts for a few days to see if you notice any improvements. Also, wear a sweat-absorbing headband when you work out, and try cutting back on waxing or tweezing. 

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine believe the spot between your eyebrows is connected to your liver. According to this belief, acne between your eyebrows may be caused by increased stress on this organ. To remedy this, cut back on nuts, alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate, which are harder on your liver. There’s no harm in trying a new diet!

Another treatment option is red and blue light therapy, which can reduce the frequency and severity of the acne between your eyebrows and ease scarring and redness. Clinical research has demonstrated that light therapy is a safe, easy, and effective treatment for mild-to-moderate acne. It might be the answer you’re looking for!

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