If you’ve ever struggled with acne (as most of us have), chances are you are all too familiar with the plights of an acne-prone or oily t-zone. What is the t-zone? The t-zone area — your forehead, nose and chin, or the skin you would cover if you drew a “T” on your face — is commonly home to excess oil, acne and blackheads. It’s especially an issue for teens or anyone with an oily or combination skin type.
While t-zone pimples can be particularly annoying (they are basically front and center, after all), you should resist the urge to pop and pick. Keep scrolling for the reasons why and the best alternatives and treatments to help reduce the acne, oil and blackheads in your t-zone.
So, why does the T-zone get so greasy and pimply?
The t-zone face area has more sebaceous glands, which are teeny-tiny, oil-producing glands attached to your pores. Therefore, the skin in that area naturally produces more sebum, or oil. When excess oil combines with dead skin cells and/or bacteria, it can clog pores and lead to t-zone breakouts: blackheads, whiteheads or other pimples.
RELATED READ: What is Sebum? And What Does it Have to Do With Acne?
What happens when you pop pimples on your nose?
The vertical part of your face t-zone (basically your nose) is a big portion of what’s referred to by medical experts as the “triangle of death” or “danger triangle.” Where did it get such a morbid name? The veins in the danger triangle (from the sides of your mouth to the bridge of your nose) lead back to your cavernous sinus, which is located in your brain.
So if you pop a pimple or squeeze a blackhead near that area, you are leaving behind an open wound that is vulnerable to infection. If bacteria from dirty fingers or another source were to make its way to the open pimple, it could become infected. Because of the connection to the brain, a serious, untreated infection might cause blood clots or even stroke.
Odds are that you probably wouldn’t allow an infected pimple to get that out of hand without consulting a medical professional, who would then prescribe antibiotics. But there are certainly better options for handling t-zone acne. Here are a few easy steps you can take to minimize oil and manage breakouts in the t-zone.
Wash your dang face
Two times a day, once in both the AM and PM, is the sweet spot here. Resist the urge to overwash though, because it can prompt your sebaceous glands to produce even more oil to compensate for feeling dry. If you are particularly sweaty after a workout, you can add an extra cleansing or a quick clarifying mist.
Get to know the benefits of BHAs
Speaking of cleansing, Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) products that contain willow bark extract or salicylic acid are exactly what you need to whip an oily t-zone into shape. They help to break down the sebum that is trapped in your pores, without drying out your skin. Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser clears pores with willow bark extract for a brighter, shine-free t-zone.
Cut the carbs
While diet itself does not cause acne, certain foods can prompt a spike in glucose and insulin that provokes excess oil production. Some common culprits include refined, processed grains like white bread, pasta, and sugary foods. Try to incorporate foods that are high in vitamin A into your diet — spinach, carrots and cantaloupe can actually help to slow oil production.
Try a no-rip nose strip
We all know that old-school pore strips are a no-no, since they can cause damage or irritation, especially to sensitive or acne-prone skin. Stick with safer pore-clearing methods, like hydrocolloid, to gently absorb pore and pimple gunk in just hours. And as the hydrocolloid patch experts, we’ve developed just the patch to do the job. 😉 Keep your eyes (or nose) peeled for an exciting new drop coming soon.