Beauty 101

What Does Your Acne Mean?

Rachel Gibbons Beauty Expert
What Does Your Acne Mean?

Acne made simple for you

Acne: something we've all been through and suffered with. Some minor while others were more severe and hard to treat. Acne is spontaneous little creatures that pop up when you least expect it and at places where you don't want them to. There are a plethora of reasons why acne breakouts occur, it can range from a change in diet, hormones, the buildup of impurities or sometimes, and I think they're the worst, they just happen. Some types of acne are easily treatable with either a change in products or lifestyle, however, others require that bit more effort and time, with visits to multiple dermatologists and constant trial and error. We at Threebs understand the struggle of not understanding acne and how to treat it, so we've created this acne face map to help make your life a little easier.

However, before you start examining the meaning behind your pimples, it is important to note that this is just a small guide to help you navigate through acne breakouts because we know how detrimental acne can be to our mental health and self-awareness. However, not all acne can be explained and treated through this acne face map. It is best to consult with a dermatologist to determine the best treatment for your skin.

acne face map

Jawline and chin

Any breakouts occurring at the jawline or chin area are considered “hormonal acne”. So people experiencing reoccurring breakouts at this area is due to the skin’s oil glands reacting to unbalanced hormonal responses, such as menstrual cycles, puberty, menopause or PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Remember, not only female suffer from hormonal imbalances, males do too! Other than the natural hormonal fluctuations, breakouts at the chin or jawline are can also be caused by stress.  

Jawline and chin breakouts are also believed to be an indicator of gut health. With changes in diet, like overeating sugary or dairy products, simple carbs (white bread) or processed foods. Hence, if you suffer from jawline + chin breakouts, maybe try cutting back on such foods and you will see a difference.



Breakouts on the nose include both pimples and blackheads. Blackheads are clogged pores, also known as open comedones, that contain trapped sebum and skin cells that turn black as they are exposed to the air. Blackheads are very common throughout all ages and genders, this is because the skin around and on the nose has a high concentration of oil glands. Foodwise, nose pimples can also be caused by eating too much meat or spicy foods.


  • Try looking for sebum-balancing skincare products like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. 



Breakouts on the cheek area are a common occurrence and everyone will definitely experience them once in a while, or quite often. Cheek acne occurs often due to multiple reasons; touching the cheeks too often, holding the phone against the cheek during a call (especially a non-sanitised phone), dirty bedding (pillow-cases, blankets), wearing makeup or using unwashed makeup brushes. These are just a few, cheek acne is one that sometimes appears just because and there isn’t a specific reason for it appearing.

Cheek acne doesn’t tell us much, it just happens, it could be genetic or a lifestyle issue, we can never 100% be sure. All we can advise is to make minor tweaks to your lifestyle and observe if any changes occur.


  • Washing your beddings every 1-2 weeks.
  • Sanitising your phone every night when you get home.
  • Make a habit to not touch your face often when you’re outside.
  • Washing your makeup tools every 2 weeks.


Forehead and hairline

Pimples on the forehead or hairline tend to be caused by the hair products you use, this includes shampoos, conditioners, hair oil, tonics and etc. Pore clogging ingredients that are common in hair products include sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and coconut oil (aka cocos nucifera oil) to name a few. Like cheek breakouts, forehead acne can also be triggered by excessively touching the forehead, making it easier for dirt and bacteria to travel directly to your pores. Frequently wearing hats can also cause pimples at the hairline + forehead area either due to the friction from the fabric or the inability of your pores to breathe throughout the day.

Another reason behind forehead and hairline pimples could also be due to pityrosporum (aka Malassezia), a type of fungus, or seborrheic dermatitis (i.e. dandruff). Dandruff can happen on your face as well, but we see it as flaking skin. Both these conditions cause your skin to flake and clog your pores with dead skin. Topical treatments include zinc pyrithione soap or shampoo or over-the-counter ketoconazole shampoo for flaky and greasy scalp.


  • Maybe you’ve recently changed or added a new hair product into your routine and that product is the culprit behind the breakouts. So, we recommend to cease usage for a couple of days and see if the pimples decreases, if it does, please stop using.
  • We recommend looking for sulfate and paraben-free hair products to prevent them from clogging the pores and also causing damage to the hair.


Mouth area

Similar to forehead/hairline pimples, pimples near the mouth area can be caused by sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate in your toothpaste, while some could be allergic to the whitening agents. Sometimes, these pimples may not be pimples but look like one, they may be an allergic reaction to those chemicals. Additionally, eating too much fried or spicy food can also trigger breakouts around the mouth, so try cutting back on these foods.


  • We recommend switching to an SLS-free and fluoride-free toothpaste.


Products you can try out!

Like we said at the start, there isn't a one-size-fits-all acne treatment/remedy, some can be treated with lifestyle or skincare product changes, whilst others may require medications or facial treatments. We've listed a few of our best-selling acne fighting skincare products hoping that they might do you some good!

  • CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser: A salicylic acid cleanser enhanced with barrier-strengthening ingredients like ceramides which exfoliates to remove dirt & oil while softening and smoothing skin.
  • COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser: This foam cleanser contains botanical ingredients and salicylic acid that removes impurities and excess sebum, helping to fight pimples and blemishes.
  • The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser: Containing 2% salicylic acid, this non-drying, lightly foaming cleanser removes makeup and dirt, while helping to reduce blackheads and breakouts. 
  • Eucerin Pro Acne Solution Clearing Gel: An acne and non-comedogenic cleanser with 6% Ampho-Tensides and salicylic acid that gently but effectively removes excess sebum while removing dirt and make-up.


I hope this blog has helped you in any way and if you have anything to add or ask, feel free to join in conversation below! We’ll gladly answer all questions to the best of our ability and help you in any way we can! 

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