The Independent Pharmacy

How To Get Rid Of Forehead Acne, Quickly And Effectively

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 2 Feb 2024

If you're wondering how to get rid of forehead acne, you're not alone. Many people face this challenge, and we're here to help guide you through effective solutions.

The best way is to start using a gentle facial cleanser twice a day. Look for cleansers with ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide that kill acne-causing bacteria while also gently removing excess oil and dead skin cells.

It's also important to apply acne creams with retinoids directly to existing pimples and acne-prone areas. Retinoid creams help to open up blocked pores and lessen swelling and redness. They're even more effective when used together with treatments that contain benzoyl peroxide, which specifically targets and kills acne-causing bacteria.

Finally, make adjustments to your lifestyle and diet to balance hormones and prevent future breakouts. Managing stress, staying hydrated, and eating a balanced diet with vegetables, vitamins, and antioxidants can get to the root causes of acne over time.

We understand that forehead acne can be stubborn, but with a comprehensive approach, we can work together to not only treat existing breakouts but also prevent new ones, helping you regain your confidence.

In this guide, we'll cover all you need to know about getting rid of the pimples on your forehead.

Key Takeaways

  • Use gentle cleansers with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide twice daily to kill acne bacteria and keep pores clear.
  • Spot treat existing pimples with medicated retinoid and benzoyl peroxide creams to unclog pores and calm inflammation faster.
  • Cut back on sugar, dairy, and refined carbs in your diet, stay hydrated, and manage stress to balance hormones to prevent future breakouts.
  • Avoid squeezing or picking at forehead zits as this can push debris deeper, spread infection, and cause permanent scarring damage.

Top Solutions for Clearer Skin

Choose a Gentle Cleanser

Washing your face is one of the most basic yet crucial parts of an effective forehead acne skincare routine. But it’s important not to over-dry or irritate already inflamed skin. The key is choosing a gentle cleanser that clears away oil, bacteria, dead cells, and product buildup without stripping your skin.

Look for non-foaming gel or cream cleansers with soothing ingredients like aloe vera, green tea, hyaluronic acid or glycerin. CeraVe Foaming Cleanser and Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser make excellent gentle options for acne-prone skin. Apply with damp hands using circular motions. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean towel.

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser
CeraVe Foaming Cleanser
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Embrace the Benefits of Retinoids

If you're struggling with stubborn forehead acne, one of the most effective ingredients to use is retinoids. Retinoids are forms of vitamin A that go deep into pores to clear out gunk and oil buildup. Products like Differin gel or CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum contain retinoids that sweep away dead skin cells and prevent new clogs from forming. Retinoids also calm inflammation and stimulate fresh, healthy skin

Acne creams have ingredients like adapalene or tretinoin. These are types of retinoids, which are special treatments that help heal acne. Before applying the product, make sure that you always read the directions so you use the right amount at the correct frequency. Let the retinoid cream absorb for a few minutes before applying other products like moisturisers. Be consistent for 6-8 weeks for the best acne-fighting results!

Bring Benzoyl Peroxide Into Your Skincare Routine

Another must-have active ingredient for clearing forehead acne is benzoyl peroxide. This antibacterial agent goes into pores and directly attacks the acne-causing bacteria that trigger inflammation. By killing pimple-producing germs, benzoyl peroxide stops breakouts at the source while removing excess oil and dead skin cell buildup.

Look for acne spot treatments containing 2.5-10% benzoyl peroxide like Epiduo 0.1%/2.5% Gel or Acnecide Gel. After washing with a gentle cleanser, dab a thin layer on existing pimples and acne-prone areas. Start using benzoyl peroxide 1-2 times per day, scaling back if you experience dryness or peeling. Combine with retinoid treatments for better absorption into pores and optimal acne-fighting results.

Boosting Your Skin Care with Additional Steps

Select Moisturisers That Won't Clog Your Pores

After cleansing and spot treating with acne creams, it’s vital to follow up with a non-comedogenic (won’t clog your pores) moisturiser. This step sounds counterintuitive for oily skin. However, failing to moisturise can trigger your glands to overproduce oil and sebum, leading to more acne.

Choose an oil-free formula containing hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides and glycerin. Acnecide Moisturiser SPF30 and Purifide Moisturiser SPF30 are excellent non-comedogenic picks for acne-prone skin. After cleansing and spot treating, smooth on a nickel-sized amount all over damp skin.

Use Salicylic Acid for Exfoliation

Here’s one more skincare ingredient that can supercharge your acne routine - salicylic acid. Salicylic acid naturally helps to remove dead skin cells that can clog pores. It works by breaking down the substances that keep these cells stuck together inside the pores. By gently sweeping away this skin debris, salicylic acid prevents clogged pores where acne bacteria flourish.

The key is finding exfoliating cleansers and treatments with the right percentage - 0.5-2% salicylic acid won’t disturb your skin barrier. CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream and CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser offer just the right strength for daily use.

Consider Antibiotics When Necessary

For those experiencing moderate to severe acne, which can often be painful and distressing, there are additional treatments available. Your dermatologist may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics. For more severe acne, doctors may prescribe antibiotics such as Minocycline or Doxycycline. These medications help to fight the infection and reduce swelling, making them useful for treating painful, swollen types of acne. However, antibiotics come with downsides like antibiotic resistance.

If your doctor recommends antibiotic treatment, be sure to ask about short-term use. Also, find out if you’ll need to combine them with retinoids or benzoyl peroxide to prevent antibiotic tolerance. Work closely with your dermatologist to use antibiotics safely if lifestyle methods and over-the-counter care fail to clear up stubborn forehead acne.

Lifestyle Tweaks for Better Skin

Manage Stress

Your lifestyle habits and environment can also contribute to pesky forehead breakouts. One big acne trigger is stress. When you’re under pressure, your body pumps out cortisol and other hormones that overstimulate your oil glands, leading to excess sebum and clogged pores.

Combat stress acne flare-ups by carving out daily relaxation time. Try calming practices like yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or journaling. Get enough sleep, connect with supportive friends, and say no to nonessential tasks. Keeping stress hormones in check will help prevent inflammation and acne over the long term.

Adjust Your Diet

What you eat affects your skin health, too. Sugary and high glycemic index foods spike insulin, which stimulates oil gland overdrive. Dairy products contain hormones that can also trigger excess oil and breakouts. Limit empty calorie snacks and beverages and instead focus your diet on skin-nourishing foods like:

  • Fruits and vegetables high in vitamins A & C
  • Nuts and seeds with antioxidant zinc
  • Fatty fish with anti-inflammatory omega-3s
  • Probiotic foods to support healthy gut bacteria

A balanced, whole-food diet keeps your blood sugar stable, fights inflammation, and starves acne-causing bacteria - leading to clear, healthy skin from the inside out!

Avoid Squeezing or Picking at Acne

It’s super tempting to pop forehead zits or pick at acne to “clear up” bumps more quickly. We know it's really hard not to touch or pick at acne, but try to resist as much as you can. This can actually worsen your acne by spreading infection deeper into pores, prolonging healing and scarring your skin.

When you squeeze a pimple, you push debris, oil and bacteria further down the hair follicle instead of removing it. And you risk rupturing the hair follicle wall, causing more swelling and redness. Picking at acne scabs has a similar effect - you reopen healing blemishes instead of letting them repair.

Fight the urge to touch, squeeze or pick forehead zits, no matter how tempting. Instead, be patient and proactively use medicated acne treatments like retinoids and benzoyl peroxide to safely clear up bumps without causing scarring damage from excess rubbing and pressure.

Break the popping and picking cycle by keeping your hands off pimples! Using self-control plus medicated acne products leads to better results without the risk of further irritation, infection and permanent scars.

What Causes Acne on the Forehead?

There are a few key factors that cause acne, specifically on the forehead:

  • Hormonal fluctuations - hormonal changes can cause more oil production, particularly in the forehead area, which has many oil glands. These changes often happen during puberty, menstrual cycles, menopause, and periods of stress.
  • Hair products - gels, mousse and pomades contain pore-clogging ingredients that transfer to the forehead and cause acne where hair touches the skin.
  • Sweat & dirt buildup - sports headbands and hats trap sweat, oil and bacteria against the forehead, leading to clogged pores.

Pay attention to when your forehead acne flares up and what environmental/lifestyle triggers may be contributing. Then, take steps like swapping hair products, wearing looser hats, and washing after sweating to clear up bumps fast.

Take the Next Step With The Independent Pharmacy

If the acne tips in this article resonate with you, start putting them into action! Begin introducing gentle cleansers, medicated spot treatments and lifestyle adjustments one at a time and observe how your skin responds. Be consistent for 6-8 weeks to allow the products and changes to work.

While being patient with over-the-counter methods, also explore custom care from The Independent Pharmacy. Our online self-assessment asks about your acne symptoms, skin type, medical history and goals. Based on your answers, our expert team recommends cleansers, creams, and other treatments tailored to your specific forehead acne triggers and needs.

With the right mix of daily skincare habits, targeted treatments and customised tweaks, you can finally get frustrating forehead acne under control. Get in touch with us today and say goodbye to bumps and redness as you embrace healthy, confident skin!


How do you get rid of forehead acne fast?

To get rid of forehead acne quickly, wash your face twice a day with a medicated cleanser containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Apply a spot treatment with retinoids. The combination treats current breakouts and prevents new ones by killing bacteria, unclogging pores, and banishing oil and dead skin cells. Stay consistent for 6-8 weeks before expecting significant improvement. Don't squeeze pimples - this can lead to infection and scars.

What does stress acne look like?

Stress acne often forms along the forehead, chin and jawline as red pimples and cysts around hair follicles. When you feel mentally strained, hormones like cortisol spike to stimulate oil glands, leading to excess sebum, clogged pores and inflammation. Combat stress by getting extra sleep, exercising, meditating and saying no to additional responsibilities. This reduces hormonal fluctuations that worsen breakouts.

What food is bad for acne?

Sugary foods high in glucose, like soda, candy, desserts and white bread, can make acne worse. These quickly raise blood sugar levels, which prompt a spike in insulin production. Excess insulin can overstimulate oil glands. Limit sweets and choose whole grains, protein and vegetables to help balance blood sugar for consistently clearer skin.

Does drinking water help acne?

Yes - staying hydrated with water flushes out toxins, transports nutrients to skin cells, maintains moisture and prevents oil gland overdrive. Drink the recommended 6-8 cups of water daily for acne prevention and skin health. Limit dehydrating caffeine and alcohol, which worsen breakouts.


Acne - Treatment - NHS (

How and when to use benzoyl peroxide - NHS (

Pimple popping: Why only a dermatologist should do it (

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