Spots and blemishes can be caused by a wealth of different factors, including age, hormone levels and lifestyle, and it's not just us normal folk that find them cropping up.
And the worst thing is, there are different remedies for spots on different areas of your face. So what might work for spots on forehead might not work for spots on the chin.
Celebs from Lily Allen to Cameron Diaz have been affected by spots on their face at some point, proving that no one is immune, and tackling these stubborn spots with lotions and potions can sometimes seem like a hopeless case.
However, as the largest organ, your skin is a map revealing what’s really going on inside your body – and sometimes, you just need to know how to read it.
By looking at the different areas of your face you can start to fight against the causes of spots and leave your skin, as well as your insides, clear and healthy.
Why do we get spots?
Our body keeps our hair and skin from drying out by producing oils from tiny glands located next to our hair follicles. Spots occur when these pores get clogged up and inflamed. A number of factors can exacerbate this process. Fluctuations in hormone levels, which of course women are particularly susceptible to, can cause an overproduction of sebum. Not cleansing your skin properly can leave a residue of dirt and debris on your skin that blocks pores itself. While cleansing too harshly can irritate your skin and worsen any blemishes you might already have.
Types of spots
- Whiteheads: Hard small dots on the skin with a white coloured top. These aren’t easy to squeeze so don’t attempt it!
- Blackheads: These are small pinprick dots of black or yellow that develop often around our noses and T-zone area. They are often easy to squeeze, and a therapist can extract them during a facial.
- Papules: According to the NHS, this is the medical term for the small red bumps that form as a spot and can feel sore.
- Nodules: These are larger swollen areas that sit beneath the surface of the skin and become very tender.
- Pustules: A spot with a little white tip.
- Cysts: A more severe pustule, they can be a sign of a serious case of acne.
- Spot mapping
Where your spots habitually form can tell you a lot about what is causing them…
T-zone: This is your forehead, nose and chin area, and tends to be where we are most oily. A good cleansing regime should keep spots here in check.
Cheeks: Studies have linked spots in this area to more sugar and dairy in your diet than usual.
Chin and mouth area: Hormone-related blemishes tend to flare up here. There is little we can do to tackle the cause, but good hygiene (not touching or squeezing the spots!) and a simple kind-to-skin routine can limit the extent of the blemish.
Jawline: This area crosses over into the ‘hormonal spot’ area, too. But some research has shown that blemishes here can be due to congestion in your large intestine, so steer clear of highly processed foods to lessen the chances of breakouts in this area.
How to get rid of spots on different areas of your face:
Spots on forehead
Though a fringe can hide a blemished forehead, it can also cause a build up of sweat and styling products that will increase the likelihood of spots in this area – but there can be more behind forehead spots than just your hairstyle. High amounts of fat in your diet can also lead to breakouts across the forehead.
How to get rid of spots on forehead: Try increasing your water intake, watching your fat levels and eating more blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, which are rich in skin-kind antioxidants.
Spots in eyebrows
Spots in eyebrows and at the top of your nose can be caused by stress, which can flare up the adrenal glands above your kidneys that produce key hormones.
How to get rid of spots in eyebrows: Exercising regularly can help reduce stress – or maybe you could use it as an excuse for that spa trip you’ve been eyeing up…
Spots on nose
The pores on the nose are dilated, so spots here are often caused by a build up of dirt and beauty products. Make sure to clean your make up brushes regularly and cleanse your face well each night to prevent outbreaks. High blood pressure can also make spots in this area worse.
How to get rid of spots on nose: Replace fatty foods with fruit, vegetables and fish rich in Omega, and cut down on alcohol and dairy. If you have more concerns about your blood pressure than just your skin, visit your GP for further advice.
Spots on chin
Rich and heavy foods can lead to spots on the chin area, so if you’ve had an indulgent week, you might find that your chin is spottier than usual. Monthly periods can also contribute to spots on this part of the face.
How to get rid of spots on chin: Make sure to add more fibre to your diet with fruit, vegetables and beans to aid digestion. The contraceptive pill can help reduce hormonal outbreaks for some women – ask your GP for advice.
Spots on ears
Spots on your ears and close to your eyes can be a sign of dehydration. To help prevent this, make sure you know how much water to drink every day, and stick to it!
How to get rid of spots on ears: Keep a water bottle in your bag to remind you to drink, and avoid consuming too many dehydrating substances like salt, coffee and tea.
Spots on neck and chest
Many of us forget that our chest need just as much (skin)care and attention as our face, so neglect can often leave for outbreaks. Spots in this area can also sometimes be signs of illness or hormone imbalance.
How to get rid of spots on neck and chest: Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to build up your immune system. Your chest in particular is oilier than other parts of your body, so remember to clean it as you would your face to maintain a clear complexion.
Spots on cheeks
Spots on the cheeks are generally linked to the respiratory system, which is bad news for smokers. These areas are also prone to touching the dirtiest items in your house (just think how many times you put your phone to your face in a day…)
How to get rid of spots on cheeks: Whether you smoke or not, try and take longer and more regular walks outside to try and increase your exposure to fresh air – and wash your pillows and wipe down your phone on a regular basis!
Spots on back
Traditionally acne is the cause of spots on your back, but friction with clothes and sweat in the summer can also result in irritation of the skin. The skin on your back has larger pores, which are in turn more likely to become clogged.
How to get rid of spots on back: Make sure to have a shower on hot summer days and soon after exercise to reduce risk of outbreaks. Body scrubs and exfoliation can also help to ease stubborn outbreaks.
How to get rid of spots with a cleansing routine
Start with micellar water
Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water, £10.80 can be used to remove your make-up. The solution picks up dirt and debris without leaving any residue, and this cult classic is kinder than water.
Then try a gentle exfoliating cleanser
Next use a gel cleanser with warm water. Warm water helps to open up your pores and deepen the cleanse, but hot water will irritate. A gentle salicylic acid formula will ward off further breakouts without aggravation. CeraVe’s SA Smoothing Cleanser, £12, is a hero product that is new to the UK. The combination of salicylic acid and urea exfoliates while hydrating and strengthening.
Use a calming toner
A few swipes of a soothing formula resets your skin’s pH. Look for calming ingredients like rosewater included in Garnier SkinActive Soothing Botanical Toner with Rose Water, £3.49.