What Causes Acne Around the Mouth: Treatment and Prevention Tips

Mariah Brown

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Mariah Brown

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What Causes Acne Around the Mouth: Treatment and Prevention Tips


Acne breakouts can be frustrating, especially when they occur around the mouth area. Not only can they cause discomfort and embarrassment, but they can also be stubborn to treat. Understanding the causes of acne around the mouth is the first step towards finding effective treatment and prevention methods. In this article, we will explore the various factors that contribute to acne breakouts in this area and provide tips on how to treat and prevent them. If you’re tired of dealing with acne around your mouth, keep reading to discover helpful solutions.

What Causes Acne Around the Mouth: Treatment and Prevention Tips
what causes acne around mouth

Causes of Acne around the Mouth

1. Helmet Straps

If you frequently engage in activities that require wearing a helmet, such as biking or skiing, the straps can contribute to acne breakouts around the mouth. The constant friction and pressure from the straps can trap sweat, oil, and bacteria on the skin, leading to clogged pores and acne formation.

2. Musical Instruments

Do you play a wind instrument like the flute or saxophone? The pressure and moisture from these instruments can come into contact with the skin around the mouth, creating a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. Regularly cleaning your instrument and practicing good oral hygiene can help minimize this risk.

3. Shaving

Shaving can irritate the skin and cause razor burn, especially if you’re using a dull blade or shaving too closely. This irritation can trigger acne breakouts around the mouth. It’s important to use a sharp razor, shave in the direction of hair growth, and moisturize the skin afterwards to soothe any irritation.

4. Lip Balm

While lip balm is meant to moisturize and protect your lips, certain products can contain ingredients that may clog pores and lead to acne around the mouth. Look for non-comedogenic lip balms that won’t clog your pores, and avoid excessive application.

5. Cell Phone Use

Do you often hold your cell phone against your face? The constant contact between your phone and your skin can transfer oil, dirt, and bacteria onto your face, which can contribute to acne breakouts, particularly around the mouth and jawline. Regularly cleaning your phone and using hands-free options can help prevent this.

6. Hormones

Hormonal imbalances, particularly during puberty, menstruation, or menopause, can lead to increased sebum production and clogged pores, resulting in acne breakouts around the mouth. While hormonal changes are natural and cannot be completely avoided, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing stress levels can help minimize their impact on your skin.

Treatment Options for Acne around the Mouth

Now that we’ve explored the causes of acne around the mouth, let’s discuss the various treatment options available to help combat this frustrating condition.

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments that contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids can be effective in treating acne around the mouth. These ingredients work to unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and promote skin cell turnover, ultimately aiding in the prevention and reduction of acne breakouts. It’s important to follow the instructions provided and be consistent with the application to see optimal results.

Oral Medications

In more severe cases of acne, oral medications may be prescribed by a dermatologist. Antibiotics, such as tetracycline or doxycycline, can help control the bacteria that contribute to acne formation. Hormonal treatments, such as oral contraceptives or spironolactone, can also be prescribed in cases where hormonal imbalances are a contributing factor.

Good Skincare Practices

Practicing good skincare habits is essential in preventing and managing acne breakouts. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Cleanse your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and bacteria.
  • Avoid harsh scrubbing or using abrasive cleansers, as this can further irritate the skin.
  • Use oil-free and non-comedogenic skincare products to avoid clogging pores.
  • Avoid touching your face throughout the day to prevent the transfer of dirt and bacteria.
  • Regularly exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.
  • Moisturize your skin with a non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep it hydrated without clogging pores.

Prevention Methods for Acne Breakouts Around the Mouth

Preventing acne breakouts around the mouth involves adopting certain habits and making lifestyle changes. Here are some prevention methods you can incorporate into your skincare routine:

Avoid Triggers

Identify any specific triggers that worsen your acne around the mouth and try to avoid or minimize their impact. This could include minimizing helmet use or taking breaks from playing certain musical instruments if they are causing repeated breakouts.

Keep the Area Clean

Regularly cleanse the area around your mouth, especially if you frequently wear makeup or lip products. Removing any excess product, dirt, or bacteria can help prevent acne breakouts.

Avoid Touching Your Face

Touching your face can transfer dirt, oil, and bacteria from your hands onto your skin, leading to clogged pores and acne breakouts. Practice conscious awareness and try to refrain from touching your face throughout the day.

Use Non-Comedogenic Skincare Products

Choose skincare products, including moisturizers, cleansers, and makeup, that are labeled as non-comedogenic. These products are specifically designed to not clog pores, reducing the risk of acne breakouts.

When to See a Doctor

Cold Sores

If you notice painful sores or blister-like lesions around your mouth that are not acne-related, it may be a sign of cold sores. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and require specific treatment. It’s best to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Perioral Dermatitis

If you experience a rash-like condition around your mouth, accompanied by redness, scaling, or itching, it may be perioral dermatitis. This condition can be mistaken for acne but requires different treatment. Consulting a dermatologist is recommended for an accurate diagnosis and suitable treatment plan.

FAQs About What Causes Acne Around the Mouth

1. Can certain foods cause acne around the mouth?

While specific foods may not directly cause acne around the mouth, some studies suggest that high-glycemic foods and dairy products may exacerbate acne in some individuals. It’s recommended to monitor your diet and observe how certain foods may affect your skin.

2. Can stress contribute to acne around the mouth?

Yes, stress can potentially exacerbate acne breakouts, including those around the mouth. High stress levels can contribute to hormonal imbalances, increased sebum production, and inflammation, all of which can lead to acne formation.

3. Are there natural remedies for acne around the mouth?

While natural remedies may not be as effective as medical treatments, some people find relief with certain home remedies. These can include applying tea tree oil, witch hazel, or aloe vera gel to the affected area. However, it’s important to note that these remedies may not work for everyone and could potentially irritate the skin.

4. Can smoking cause acne around the mouth?

Smoking can potentially contribute to acne breakouts, including those around the mouth. The toxins present in cigarette smoke can compromise the skin’s ability to heal, increase inflammation, and clog pores, leading to acne formation.

5. How long does it take to see results from acne treatments?

The timeframe for seeing results from acne treatments can vary depending on the severity of the acne and the chosen treatment method. In general, it may take several weeks to a few months to see noticeable improvements. Consistency and patience are key when treating acne.

6. Can hormonal imbalances be treated naturally?

In some cases, certain lifestyle changes can help manage hormonal imbalances. These can include maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing stress levels, and getting sufficient sleep. However, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

7. Can acne around the mouth be a sign of a serious underlying condition?

Acne around the mouth is typically a common and treatable skin condition. However, in rare cases, it could be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. If you experience severe or persistent acne, it’s advisable to consult a dermatologist for a thorough evaluation.

8. Can wearing makeup worsen acne around the mouth?

Wearing heavy or comedogenic makeup can potentially worsen acne breakouts. It’s important to choose non-comedogenic makeup products and to properly cleanse the skin after wearing makeup to minimize the risk of clogged pores.

9. Can hormones in birth control pills help with acne around the mouth?

Some hormonal birth control pills contain ingredients that can help regulate hormone levels, reduce sebum production, and improve acne. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to find the most suitable birth control option for your individual needs.

10. Can acne around the mouth be prevented entirely?

While it may not be possible to prevent acne breakouts around the mouth entirely, taking proactive measures such as practicing good skincare habits, avoiding triggers, and adopting a healthy lifestyle can greatly minimize the chances of acne formation.


Acne breakouts around the mouth can be frustrating, but with the right knowledge and approach, they can be effectively treated and prevented. By understanding the causes, utilizing appropriate treatments, and practicing good skincare habits, you can take control of your skin and achieve a clearer, more confidence-boosting complexion. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist for personalized advice and guidance on managing your specific skincare concerns. Don’t let acne dictate your life – take action and embark on a journey towards healthier, blemish-free skin.

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