Acne on Cheeks – Causes, treatments and prevention

Acne has bothered people since time immemorial, popping up at the most untimely moments: photoshoots, weddings, first dates… no matter how hard you try, it seems to show up when you least want it to. And unless you’re a superhuman who’s resistant to dermatological problems, you’ve probably experienced an acne breakout at least once in your lifetime.

Your cheeks are one of the most visible areas of your face, and unfortunately, this is where acne tends to pop up the most.

There are tons of medications and natural remedies readily available for you to choose from. But before you find out what’s the best treatment for you, it pays to know what exactly causes cheek acne and how to prevent it from ever popping up on your face again.

In this article, we will explore the common as well as the lesser-known causes of cheek acne. We’ll also share some natural cheek acne remedies that you can do right from the comfort of your home. However, if you don’t have time to do natural remedies yourself, there are a lot of over-the-counter solutions available for you to purchase.

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What Causes Acne on Cheeks and Jawline

Acne appears on the cheeks when your oil-producing glands get blocked by foreign objects, such as dirt. This leads to the oil, called sebum, to pile up under the skin, eventually forming stubborn cheek acne that we all hate. Although this is how acne generally forms on your skin, there are several factors that lead to increased sebum production and pore blockage. But before we explore the external factors that lead to acne, there are the six types of cheek acne, all of which range in severity:

  • Whiteheads: Also known as a closed comedo. The smallest kind and the most unnoticeable. These remain under the skin.
  • Blackheads: Also known as an open comedo. These are highly visible and hard to get rid of. The black and dark brown pigmentation is caused by the oxidation of melanin, our skin’s pigment.
  • Papules: This is a common pimple – small, pink, and harmless.
  • Pustules: These are the pimples with the pink base with a hard, white substance on top – this is pus that has accumulated inside a pimple.
  • Nodules: These are similar to papules but are larger and more severe. These are often painful when touched.
  • Cysts: This is the most severe type of acne. Can be extremely painful as it is filled with pus, and requires medical assistance to get rid of.


One of the more obvious reasons for cheek acne is poor hygiene. Throughout the day, dirt from your environment tends to stick and pile up on the natural oils of your cheeks. This is especially important if you’re using make-up. If this piled-up muck is left unwashed for a long period, your pores get clogged and will result in an acne breakout.

For people living in urban areas, heavy pollution may cause severe problems as compared to those who live in rural areas – thus, regular face washing with the right cleanser is recommended to keep your skin clear and pristine.


Poor Dieting 

You may not instantly feel its effects, but a poor diet greatly increases your chances of developing cheek acne. As the saying goes, “you are what you eat,” and it shows through your skin.

The types of food that you should avoid are processed, fried, dairy, refined carbs, and chocolate. All of these food speed up sebum production, causing unwanted cheek acne breakouts.

New York City dermatologist Dr. Francesca Fusco recommends a healthier diet composed of fruits, vegetables, whole grain, and lean protein if you want to achieve clear, acne-free cheeks.

Read about traditional chinese acupuncture to fight acne and acne scars


Unhealthy Lifestyle 

If you live an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle, not only will your body be negatively affected internally, but it will show through your skin as well. Unhealthy vices such as smoking expose your skin to harmful particles that disrupt the natural process of skin regeneration.

Whenever you’re experiencing stress, the body starts releasing hormones such as androgen and corticotrophin. These hormones stimulate your glands to produce excessive sebum, and when dirt builds up on that oil, an acne breakout is bound to happen.

It’s highly recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, as exercise is proven to decrease stress levels in your body. If you’re stress free, this lowers your chances of increased sebum production, resulting in a clear and healthy skin.

 Run to prevent acne

Exercise Helps Get Rid of Acne


Everyday Objects

Who knew that mundane everyday objects can give you a stubborn acne breakout on your cheeks? Well, it turns out that it’s one of the leading causes of cheek acne, and the two most common culprits are dirty pillowcases and mobile phones.

Both pillows and mobile phones rest on your cheeks when being used. And both of these objects tend to accumulate dirt over time. If left unsanitized, mobile phones can be ten times dirtier than a toilet seat. Imagine that much bacteria passing on to your cheeks?! It’s no wonder that phones can cause such horrible breakouts!

Meanwhile, pillowcases are home to dust mites, harmful chemicals (from detergents and fabric softeners), and bacteria passed on from your body.

These two objects are essential to our lives, and the best solution to avoid getting cheek acne from them is to regularly sanitize your phone, and it’s recommended that you change your sheets at least once a week.


Sun Exposure

Getting regular sunlight is good for the skin – it’s the number one source of Vitamin D. But too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Not only does excessive exposure to sunlight increase your chances of developing skin cancer, but it can also give you massive breakout.

The UV rays from the sun penetrate right through your skin, causing your sebaceous glands to produce excessive sebum. And because this is the least of what you want your sebaceous glands to do, it’s best to avoid too much sunlight exposure between 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. These are peak hours when UV rays are the strongest.

Hormonal Changes

Acne is the bane of adolescence. It has become a popular trope of adolescent ‘growing pains’, along with awkwardness, mood swings, and rebellious behavior.

But not only adolescents suffer from cheek acne caused by the hormonal influx. Adult men and women go through their own moments of hormonal changes, some naturally occurring, while others are caused by environmental factors such as stress.

The main culprits of these hormonal cheek acne are estrogen and testosterone, both of which is present in both sexes. A sudden fluctuation of either hormone can trigger increased sebum production, therefore it is best to be aware of what triggers a hormone influx in your body.

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How to Get Rid of Acne on Cheeks Using Natural Remedies

Thankfully, Mother Nature has blessed us with an abundance of remedies for cheek acne. Compared to expensive medication prescribed by dermatologists, these natural remedies can be found in your local grocery store, or even in your backyard. If you’re looking for the best treatment for cheek acne, you can try out these easy to find ingredients to see what remedy suits you best.

How Lemons Can Be Used to Treat Cheek Acne



Lemons are very acidic, which makes it a highly effective exfoliator, skin lightener, and disinfectant. To apply lemon on your face, dip a cotton ball or swab in pure lemon juice. Then, carefully dab the swab on your problem areas, making sure you don’t put too much. Other acidic citrus fruits like oranges, limes, and grapefruit can be used as well.



Honey is proven to have anti-bacterial properties, making it a perfect solution to removing all the gunk that has built up on your face. You can either apply the honey by dabbing it on a pimple with a swab, or you can cover your whole face with honey as a natural face mask.


Green Tea

Green tea has wonderful antibacterial and antioxidant properties that help rejuvenate your skin cells. To apply green tea on your skin, you can use a lukewarm cup of tea as a face wash, or put some cooled tea bags on your problem areas.

Green tea as a great help for cheeks acne

Green Tea Can Be Used to Treat Acne


Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is well known to have anti-inflammatory effects and can also act as a disinfectant. To get the most out of chamomile tea, use a coffee grinder or a blender to form a paste with water and the contents inside a chamomile tea bag. You can also let a cup of chamomile cool down and use a cotton ball to dab it all over your face.


Egg Whites

Eggs are packed with nutrition, which is why it is essential to have a steady supply of eggs at home. You can also use egg whites as face masks, as it can act as a cleanser and toner. The best way to apply egg whites on your face is to combine it with other ingredients (lemon, honey, aloe).

The variety of natural remedies that you can use gives you all the freedom to mix and match what ingredients you want to apply on your face. Watch how Youtuber Kayla Mochi got rid of her acne with her skin regime made up of natural and organic products:



How to Get Rid of Cheek Acne Using Medication and Topical Treatments

If natural remedies don’t seem to work for you, consult with your dermatologist on what medication is the best to treat acne on cheeks. There is a wide variety of medication and topical treatments for you to choose from, in order to cater to the level of severity of your cheek acne. Here are some medications and topical treatments available on the market.


Topical Treatments 

Consult your doctor before using any of these products, especially if you’re pregnant or have sensitive skin.

  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Comes in different forms – lotions, soaps, gels, and liquids. It helps unclog your skin pores and stops bacteria from growing on your cheeks. It may take 4-6 weeks before you can feel its full effects.
  • Azelaic Acid: This is best for treating mild to moderate acne. It reduces the amount of acne-inducing bacteria on the skin by keeping the pores open. It takes around 1 months before it takes full effect.
  • Salicylic Acid: When applied to the skin, salicylic acid causes your blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples to dry up. It may cause the top layer of your skin to peel.
  • Vitamin A: These topical creams help reduce the amount of sebum being produced on your skin while unblocking your pores.
  • Topical Antibiotics: When applied to your problem areas, these creams effectively cleanse your skin by killing off bacteria, decreasing your chances of having a cheek acne breakout.

See doctor to prevent acne on cheeks.

Doctors can recommend you medications to treat cheek acne



  • Oral Antibiotics: These are recommended for use if your acne condition is a bit more severe. It is typically used with topical antibiotics and is highly effective at killing off bacteria when used together.
  • Low-dose Birth Control Pills: The hormones present in birth control pills (estrogen) decreases the amount of androgens in the body. Androgens are hormones that speed up sebum production. During certain periods in the menstrual cycle, women may experience an increase of androgen in their bodies. Taking birth control pills help balance out the hormones and prevent another acne breakout. Androgen blockers may also be used for the same purpose.
  • Isotretinoin: This is used for really severe acne breakouts, as it is a powerful medication derived from Vitamin A. You’ll need a dermatologist’s prescription for this, as it may induce severe side effects thanks to its strength as a drug.


Dealing with acne on cheeks can be a struggle. Thanks to modern medicine and natural remedies, it’s now easier for you to get the best treatment for cheek acne. Accompanied by a positive change in lifestyle, diet, and skincare routine, you’re set to have clear skin in no time!


Misumi Cleanser

#1 Rated Acne Cheek Cleanser

The Misumi Face Cleanser is our #1 pick because it effectively clears up acne on the cheeks without drying the skin like other acne cleansers with Benzoyl Peroxide.


Are you currently having problems with cheek acne? If you’ve successfully beaten acne, what remedies did you find most effective for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Acne on Cheeks – Causes, treatments and prevention
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Jonathan Clark

An individual with more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry. The last 5 years i have been specializing in acne treatment and analyzed more than 100 products.

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