QuestionDear Skin Doctor, my skin is generally good but I always develop acne pimples on the forehead which leave dark spots. How can I stop it?
1. Ensure that your hair care products do not trickle down onto your face because they can clog the skin pores and cause breakouts.
2. When spraying products like heat protectants onto your hair, always use a face shield to protect your face.
3. Style your hair away from your face and avoid hairstyles like fringes and bangs which bring the hair to your forehead.
4. Shampoo your hair frequently if you have oily hair. This frequency varies depending on your hair type and how oily it is but you can begin experimenting by washing it weekly.
5. Do not use oil rich products on your face since they can cause eruptions known as pomade acne.
6. Choose skin care products for your face which are labelled "non-comedogenic". This means that they will not clog the skin pores and cause white heads or black heads which are also known as comedones.
Mechanical AcneWearing caps, fedoras and helmets is another cause of forehead acne. This acne develops due to the mechanical forces of friction from the head gear. To prevent this type of acne you should:
1. Ensure that your head gear has a cotton lining. If it doesn't, place a piece of absorbent cotton between it and your forehead.
2. Clean your hats and headgear frequently.
3. If you must wear the helmets during activities in which you perspire, shower immediately after the activities. Examples of such activities include manual labor or sporting activities.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Acne Face MappingTraditional Chinese medicine face mapping teaches that acne eruptions on the forehead are due to digestive problems. I will not agree or disagree with this statement but I will suggest that you:
1. Avoid eating foods with a high glycemic index since these can worsen acne. Examples of such foods include bread and cakes made from white flour.
2. Drink at least 1 liter of pure water each day.
3. Avoid eating processed foods and especially those which contain hydrogenated fats like biscuits.
4. Keep a food diary and write down all the foods you ate in the 24 hour period preceding an acne erupted. This will help you identify trigger foods that may be contributing to the acne.
5. Increase your intake of brightly colored fresh fruits and vegetables which contain vitamins A and C since these nutrients are vital for skin health. Mangoes and pawpaws (papaya) are great examples.
Acne Prevention Tips
1. Wash your face twice a day – in the morning when you wake up and at the evening before you go to bed - to remove the oils and dirt that contribute to clogging the pores.
2. Use a gentle cleanser that does not dry your face and ensure it has been formulated for oily or acne prone skin.
3. Use a face wash or cleanser with salicylic acid which is used to treat acne.
4. Do not wash your face more than twice a day because this can dry the skin and cause it to produce more oil. This oil can clog the pores and cause eruptions known as acne detergens.
5. Avoid using makeup.
6. If you have to use makeup, buy oil free or water based formulations.
7. If you must use makeup every day choose formulations with salicylic acid which are is used to treat acne. A good example is the Neutrogena oil free compact foundation which has 0.5% salicylic acid.
8. Wash off the makeup every evening before you sleep.
9. Steam your face once a week by boiling water and pouring it into a bowl. Lean over the bowl (but not too close to burn yourself) and let the steam open up the pores and cleanse them. You can also use a face sauna.
10. Consider adding 3 drops of tea tree essential oil to the water you use to steam your face since it is a very effective aromatherapy oil for treating acne. Do not steam your face if you have inflamed (red and painful) pimples. Do not use/avoid tea tree essential oil if you have risk factors for breast cancer and other hormonal cancers like cancers of the ovary and uterus since it has estrogen-like effects in the body.
11. Consider applying a clay mask to the face after steaming to draw the oils from deep within the pores.
12. Use French green clay or bentonite clay to make face masks for oily or acne prone skin. For example you can make a natural mask by mixing 1 teaspoon of French green clay with a few drops of water to form a smooth paste. Apply it to your face and give it 5 - 15 minutes to set before rinsing it off with warm water.
13. Consider exfoliating your face once a week. Exfoliation is simply removing the dead cells on the surface of the skin which contribute to clogging the pores. Do not exfoliate your face if you have inflamed (red and painful) pimples.
14. Do not use harsh scrubs made from nuts and other hard substances on your face.
15. Exfoliate with gentle fruit acids known as alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA). Examples of AHAs include lactic acid from yogurt, glycolic acid from sugar and malic acid from apples.
16. Make a simple exfoliation face mask by mashing fresh apples, pawpaws or grapes and mixing 1 teaspoon of the fruit puree with 1 teaspoon of yogurt. Apply this natural mask to your face and let it set for 5 – 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
17. Wash your pillow cases and bed sheets frequently because they can reapply the oil from your hair onto your face when you are sleeping.
18. Practice effective relaxation techniques like exercising aerobically by jogging or meditating on Scriptures since studies have shown that stress worsens acne.
19. Consult your doctor if you are taking medications like those used to treat TB (tuberculosis) or epilepsy since some of them can worsen acne.
20. Consulting a skin doctor if you are still getting acne on your forehead after adopting these measures.