Keeping the T-zone Breakout Free -- Dr. Barbara Reed -- iVillage Beauty Skin Clinic

What is the T-zone, and what’s the best way to keep this area free of breakouts?

The T-zone is the part of your face consisting of the forehead, nose and the area around your mouth, including the chin. It is so named because it’s shaped like the letter T.

Often the T-zone is oily, as the percentage of oil glands in this area tends to be higher than on the outer cheeks. Oily areas of the face are more prone to blackheads, whiteheads and large pores -- all the things that comprise acne. Some of this is due to genetic factors, so until science has figured out genetic recombination for the T-zone, we can only manage, not cure, the problem.

You can help manage your skin’s condition in the T-zone area several ways:

  • Keep your hands and your hair off the skin. They bring extra oil and dirt to the area, which further clogs the pores.
  • Use a facial astringent or shampoo for oily hair to remove excess oil.
  • Wash your face with a liquid or bar containing AHAs or made with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, or both.
  • Apply creams containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide (or both) in small amounts to affected areas. Be careful of the chin area, which tends to get especially dry with these products. Prescription products are also available from your dermatologist.
  • A matte-type absorbent powder may also be helpful in soaking up oil.
  • Stay away from areas of the kitchen where foods are being cooked in oil. The oil can get on your face and make the problem worse.
  • Do not pick at inflamed areas.
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