What Causes Acne on Temples?

The temples can be a common place for acne breakouts; however, although pimples here tend to be isolated and mild, they are still bothersome, especially because they can be difficult to conceal.

Now, acne on the temples can occur due to several factors, but fortunately, there are also things that can be done to treat and prevent them from happening in the future.

Therefore, in this article, we’ll explore the possible causes of acne breakouts on temples, as well as share some tips on how to get rid of them.

What is Acne?

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that appears on the skin as a result of a clogged pore.

Our pores are passages for every hair follicle to grow out of, and at the bottom of each pore is a sebaceous gland that secretes sebum, an oily substance that lubricates our hair and skin and prevents it from drying.

However, sometimes, our pores become clogged when excess sebum is produced and mixed with dead skin cells.

This unique substance attracts bacteria that are also present on our skin to the pore, and when the bacteria start to multiply by feeding off it, they cause inflammation.

The result is a triggered immune system that fights against the bacteria by causing swelling, redness, and inflammation that we see on the skin as a pimple.

What Causes Acne on Temples?

Be it hormonal, genetic, or lifestyle-related; acne can show up on different parts of the body – the face, back, neck, chest, and even in areas like the temples, where we don’t usually have overactive sebaceous glands that produce pore-clogging oil.

So, what causes acne on temples? Here are a few possible explanations:


The tightness of headwear, like headbands, hats, beanies, and helmets, can cause friction that will not only rub on the skin and cause irritation but also possibly push some cellular debris that’s already struggling to get to the skin’s surface deeper into the pore, causing inflammation and the formation of pimples.

Additionally, dirty headwear can also be another possible explanation for temple acne.

This is because headwear collects sweat, sebum, dirt, and debris from our skin and hair throughout the day, and if we don’t clean our accessories regularly; all of these substances can build up and transfer back to our skin the next time we wear them, causing breakouts.


Similarly to headwear, glasses can be another possible culprit of acne on the temples due to the same reason, which is creating pressure that prevents cellular debris from escaping the pores and causing inflammation deep down inside.

Moreover, like dirty headwear, glasses also harbor dirt, sebum, and sweat from our skin and hair, which can rub onto the skin and clog our pores, leading to pimples.

Hair Products

Various hair products, including shampoos, conditioners, detanglers, and styling products, can often be one of the main causes of acne on temples due to the comedogenic ingredients they contain.

Some common trigger ingredients found in haircare products include silicones found in shampoos and conditioners, butters and waxes found in styling products, and oils found in detangling products that help us brush through our hair with ease but get transferred to our skin in the process and cause pimples by clogging our pores.


Similarly to haircare products, cosmetics such as makeup and skincare can often be the cause of temple acne.

This is because many cosmetic products contain comedogenic ingredients that clog our pores, irritate the skin, and cause blockages that lead to pimples.

Additionally, the temple area is regularly neglected when removing makeup at the end of the day, and the residue is often pushed into the hairline due to improper cleansing. This can further contribute to the formation of pimples as makeup left on overnight provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to multiply and cause breakouts.

If you are dealing with acne breakouts, it is best to avoid wearing makeup if you can. However, this is not always feasible so if you are in a situation where you have to wear makeup you should use an acne-friendly makeup remover as soon as possible.

Dirty Pillowcases

Pillowcases made out of fabrics like cotton and polyester are more prone to harboring dirt and bacteria due to their inability to wick away moisture and dry quickly, which can be the main cause of temple acne.

This is because when we sleep on dirty pillowcases, all the dirt, sebum, sweat, bacteria, and residue from skincare and haircare products that have accumulated on the fabric are constantly being transferred back to our skin, causing clogging and eventually breakouts.

Some pillowcases made out of natural fabrics like silk are more gentle on the skin and don’t retain moisture and bacteria, so they’re less likely to trigger or exacerbate pimples; however, it’s always recommended to keep your pillowcases perfectly clean.


Believe it or not, genetics can also play a role in whether or not you’re more susceptible to developing acne anywhere on the face, including the temples.

Although temple acne typically appears as an isolated pimple or two, some people are more prone to developing chronic acne on the temples, which can be deep, cystic, and can appear in clusters.

This could be a sign of hormonal imbalance, which is often genetic, especially with conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), so if you find that you’re constantly struggling with acne on the temples despite leading a healthy lifestyle and following a strict skincare routine, an underlying issue could be to blame.

Other Skin Conditions on Temples

Despite your regular red, discolored, or cystic pimple that appears on the temples now and again, there are other skin conditions that can develop in this area as well.

Some common skin conditions that can affect the temples include:


Milia are small, white bumps that appear on the skin and are hard to the touch. Although they tend to concentrate in areas like the nose, cheeks, and chin, they can also appear sporadically on the temples.

This condition develops when cellular debris that includes hardened sebum and dead skin cells becomes trapped under a thin layer of skin, causing a small bump to form.

They’re most commonly seen in newborn babies but can also be developed by adults and are typically benign, meaning they don’t have the potential to turn into an inflamed pimple and tend to go away on their own or with mild exfoliation.

Fungal Acne

Fungal acne is slightly different than bacterial acne both in appearance and cause, and although it can affect any area of the face, it’s commonly seen on the forehead and temples.

This condition is caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the skin, which leads to the formation of small bumps that are often itchy and can be mistaken for regular pimples; however, they typically have a white head and are surrounded by redness.


Folliculitis is a bacterial infection on the hair follicle that occurs when the pore becomes blocked with excess keratin, sebum, and dirt, allowing bacteria to grow and trigger inflammation.

This leads to the formation of red bumps or white-headed pimples that tend to be hard to the touch, dry, and flaky.

Folliculitis usually appears in areas where the hair is thicker, which is why it can sometimes affect the temples due to the hair pattern.


Dermatitis is an inflammatory condition that’s characterized by red, itchy, and dry skin and tends to affect areas of the face and body where the skin is naturally dry, such as the knees, elbows, cheeks, and temples.

It’s believed that it can be triggered by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that are already present on our skin but tend to produce toxins that cause the immune system cells in the skin to react with dermatitis-like rashes when an allergic reaction occurs.


Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that primarily occurs on the face and is characterized by redness in areas like the forehead, temples, nose, and cheeks.

It can sometimes appear as small pustules, which are pimples that have a white head, and is often mistaken for regular acne.

This condition can be caused by several things, including genetics, cosmetics, sun damage, excessive alcohol consumption, and spicy food.

How To Prevent Acne On Temples

While acne on the temples is rarely serious, it can still be painful and cause discomfort, and even affect your self-esteem and quality of life.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help treat acne in this area and prevent an onset of future breakouts from occurring. Here are some things to pay attention to:


With everything mentioned above, we can conclude that there is a hygiene element to acne on temples.

Therefore, a good way to prevent this issue is to regularly wash your face, especially if you lead an active lifestyle and tend to sweat in that area.

Additionally, avoid the excessive use of headwear, and always make sure that the gadgets or accessories you wear are washed and clean and don’t have weeks of sweat, oil, and bacteria accumulated on them that can rub onto the skin and cause breakouts.

Finally, make sure to change your pillowcase regularly and keep them clean by washing them in hot water, as this will help eliminate any bacteria that could be transferred to your face while you sleep.

Skincare Routine

Besides regularly washing your face, having a skincare routine that consists of products that will actively help reduce the appearance of acne is also a good way to keep the temple area clear and breakout-free.

Incorporating products like exfoliating toners that contain ingredients like salicylic acid can help slough off dead skin cells and prevent them from accumulating inside the pores and causing clogging.

Additionally, using lightweight moisturizers that don’t contain heavy and clogging ingredients such as emollients, waxes, and oils can also help in keeping the skin hydrated and balanced.

Finally, using a spot treatment that contains benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil can also be beneficial in directly killing bacteria and reducing inflammation.


Diet can have a huge impact on our hormones, and hormones can be one of the main triggers of acne, from overstimulating the sebaceous glands into producing excess oil to raising insulin levels and causing inflammation throughout the whole body, which can also lead to breakouts.

That’s why it’s important to eat a balanced and healthy diet that consists of nourishing foods that will help reduce inflammation, keep the hormones in check, and control the turnover cycle of skin cells.

However, although everyone always mentions how certain foods can trigger breakouts, diet is one of the most individualized issues when it comes to acne, making it an ultra-complex topic and even harder to figure out on a case-to-case basis.

But, if this is something you want to learn more about, GoodGlow’s ebook is a useful resource to check out, as it contains valuable information on where and how to start your journey of achieving clear skin through diet.

Originally Published: October 06, 2022

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Analyzed by Ashley Wilson

Hi, I’m Ashley Wilson, a part-time personal trainer, yoga instructor, and mother of three. My journey with hormonal acne started during pregnancy, which led me to natural remedies discussed on GoodGlow like utilizing a low-inflammation diet, dramatically improving my health and skin. After successfully clearing my acne during my first pregnancy I to share my insights on managing acne naturally and maintaining overall wellness on GoodGlow. I’ve adopted a lifestyle focused on nutrition, yoga, resistance training, and meditation, helping me juggle my busy life with kids and work. I’m always eager to connect and share skincare tips, so feel free to reach out!

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