The Ultimate Guide to Hormonal Acne

MYTH: Acne Around The Mouth Or In Jawline Is A Sign Of Hormonal Imbalance

One of the most persistent myths about acne is that pimples around the mouth means hormonal problems. Most people get acne on the chin and around the mouth and the location of acne doesn’t mean anything.

Let me put a popular myth to bed. Blogs and books about natural acne cures often claim that the location where you get acne tells you something about what causes it.

Acne around the mouth, the jawline, or the chin is said to mean you have a hormonal imbalance.

Let me just categorically say this is utter bollocks. I explained why in detail in my acne face map article. There’s no scientific evidence, or a good reason to think, that location of acne says anything about what causes it.

The two factors that determine where you get acne

There are two main factors that determine where acne pops up: the density of the sebaceous glands and the activity of the enzymes that ‘process’ precursor androgens to testosterone and DHT.

Sebaceous glands are microscopic organs in the skin that produce sebum – or oil. The more there are in a given area, the more oil that area of the skin produces, and more likely it is for acne to appear there. It just happens that there are much more sebaceous glands in the facial skin than elsewhere. That’s why your face is oilier than your arms or legs.

Most people get acne on the chin and around the mouth – regardless of what causes it

Another reason is the hormone production that happens in the skin. The skin is a much more than a film that covers your body. It’s a complex organ with many functions. Among other things, it takes precursor androgen hormones and converts them into testosterone (as discussed elsewhere in the guide). It uses specific enzymes for this, and the activity of those enzymes varies between different skin sites. The more active those enzymes are, the more sebum that area produces, and, you guessed it, the more likely it is for acne to appear there. As it happens, these enzymes are the most active in the facial skin, and especially in the skin around the mouth and on the T-zone.

This is why most people get acne around the mouth and on the jawline area – regardless of what causes their acne.

The one exception

I can only think of one case where the location of acne offers any useful information. It’s when you have what I call as irritant-type acne. Something irritates the skin, which causes inflammation and allows acne to bloom in the area. Backpack straps chafing on the skin is one example. Toothpaste, shampoo, or harsh skincare products can also cause irritation and acne. But this is purely a local reaction on the surface of the skin and has no bearing on any internal imbalance.