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Our foreheads are prone to a form of acne called comedonal acne, explains dermatologist Brian Hibler, M.D., to Elite Daily. “This results from pores that get blocked with oil, dirt, or dead skin cells, and manifests as small bumps and blackheads,” he says. According to Dr. Hibler, the best products for forehead acne contain a topical retinoid such as adapalene, or ingredients like benzoyl peroxide (an antibacterial) or salicylic acid, a pore-clearing beta-hydroxy acid. Ensure you’re choosing noncomedogenic products (aka products made without ingredients that can clog your pores), and don’t skip out on moisturizing both morning and night, which Dr. Hibler says can help regulate oil production.
Dr. Hibler says that generally, the root causes of acne, such as obstruction of the pores and excess oil production, are the same on your forehead as other parts of your face, but if you’re only breaking out on your forehead and nowhere else, it’s possible that other factors are behind your breakouts. Hair styling products like gels or oils can block your pores, and wearing a hat or headband that gets sweaty can lead to breakouts, too. After applying your hair care products, Dr. Hibler suggests gently wiping your forehead clean to remove any residual product, and, when possible, tying your hair back to keep bangs off your forehead.
With those tips in mind, keep scrolling to shop the products you’ll need to keep forehead acne at bay.
1. The Overall Best Product For Forehead Acne
Dr. Hibler tells Elite Daily that the most essential step in treating forehead acne is applying a topical retinoid to your skin, such as adapalene, which is found in Differin Gel, an over-the-counter medicated treatment that’s beloved by dermatologists far and wide. For best results, Differin Gel should be applied as a thin layer over your entire face, not just on the areas that are breaking out, to reduce blemishes, blackheads, and clogged pores. This comes in a convenient pump-top bottle, and the gel itself is very lightweight and easy to layer with other products.
Especially if you have sensitive skin, you should start off by using your retinoid two to three times a week before building up to more frequent use. Don’t forget to moisturize and wear sunscreen when using any type of retinol/retinoid, as they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
2. Best Salicylic Acid Cleanser For Forehead Acne
Cetaphil’s fragrance-free Gentle Clear Face Wash contains salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that’s particularly helpful for treating blackheads, whiteheads, and congested pores caused by an overabundance of oil. The creamy, gently lathering cleanser keeps skin feeling pampered and comfortable, thanks to the aloe and white tea extract in the formula. According to Dr. Hibler, “A cleanser with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help reduce inflammation, clear blocked pores, and reduce the overall C. acnes bacteria on the skin.” If, however, you find that benzoyl peroxide is a more effective ingredient when it comes to treating acne on your skin, keep scrolling.
3. Best Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser For Forehead Acne
Made with 4% benzoyl peroxide, CeraVe's acne-controlling face wash also contains the sorts of skin-soothing ingredients the drugstore brand is known and loved for, including barrier-repairing ceramides, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and calming niacinamide — so even though this cleanser contains the heavy-duty antibacterial ingredient benzoyl peroxide, it shouldn’t dry out or irritate your skin. Still, you’ll want to pick up one of the best moisturizers to use with benzoyl peroxide to ensure your skin stays healthy and balanced.
4. Best Micellar Water For Forehead Acne
Washing your face twice a day is helpful for reducing breakouts, but Dr. Hibler says that at night, first removing residual makeup and sunscreen using micellar water (or an oil-based cleanser) makes the cleansing process more effective. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with the cult-classic Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water, which removes surface pollution, product buildup, and even waterproof makeup with a single swipe.
This famously soothing micellar water is great for all skin types, including sensitive skin, but if you find that you’d like more oil-control, you can switch to the Bioderma Sébium H2O Micellar Water, which is made especially for people with combination/oily skin.
5. Best Moisturizer For Forehead Acne
Moisturizer is as important as any other step in your beauty routine to keep your skin healthy and strong, particularly as many of the ingredients used to reduce breakouts can, as a side effect, cause dryness and redness. Choose a moisturizer that’s oil-free and noncomedogenic, like the light-as-air Daily Greens gel cream from Farmacy. Think of it as a smoothie for your face, with garden fresh ingredients like cucumber, papaya, moringa, and kale, along with willow herb to control oil, and the hydrating trio of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and polyglutamic acid. The citrusy scent is lovely and refreshing, too.
6. Best Sunscreen For Forehead Acne
EltaMD’s popular UV Clear sunscreen contains both mineral and chemical sunscreen ingredients, and it’s a top pick with dermatologists for people with breakout-prone skin, thanks to the fragrance- and oil-free formulation, the matte finish it provides, and the hyaluronic acid and niacinamide it contains, which work to soothe and moisturize skin without clogging your pores. Featuring SPF 46, it wears nicely underneath makeup and is suitable for most skin types.
Dr. Brian Hibler, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York