Get Rid of Forehead Bumps (Subclinical Acne)

Hey every­one! I wanted to share a ques­tion I received the other day regard­ing small bumps on the skin (also known as sub­clin­i­cal acne, if you want to get tech­ni­cal). Oddly enough, I have got­ten a few ques­tions regard­ing this prob­lem and I used to have this very same thing on my fore­head, so I thought this would be good to post in pub­lic instead of reply­ing in pri­vate as I usu­ally do. (And yes, I got Cassie’s per­mis­sion before post­ing the email she sent me. Thanks, Cassie!)

FTC Notice: I am not affil­i­ated with or spon­sored by any of the com­pa­nies or prod­ucts I men­tion. These are my 100% hon­est, unpaid opin­ions and recommendations.

Hello :) My name is Cassie. Your beauty guide is awe­some, I def­i­nitely hope to grab a copy of your book someday!

I have a quick ques­tion. Most of my skin is gen­er­ally pretty clear right now, but I ALWAYS have bumps on my whole fore­head! It’s not smooth at all, and in cer­tain light it just looks awful. They’re not really zits, because they never turn red or puss and they don’t pop. (although some are a lit­tle red.) It just makes my fore­head look unclear and gross :( Make up usu­ally goes on unevenly there too, it’s so annoy­ing. Any tips??

The only time it ever cleared up com­pletely was when I went on a mild form of birth con­trol for hor­mones. Thanks so much!


Right off the bat, there’s good news: This is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est type of acne to treat because you don’t have any pus­tules or the typ­i­cal redness/inflammation. Your main focus here is going to be on bal­anc­ing your oil pro­duc­tion and exfoliating.

What’s hap­pen­ing is your pores are get­ting clogged by the waxy sub­stance that is your sebum (our skin is not actu­ally oily — it’s tech­ni­cally waxy since sebum is a wax) and are unable to release the junk, but instead of get­ting infected and form­ing a pus­tule, they remain inert and sit there as clogged bits under your skin.

{EVALUATE YOUR PRODUCTS} Take a good look at the skin care prod­ucts and makeup you are using. If they con­tain waxes, sil­i­cones, or mica, that is prob­a­bly one of the causes of your clogged pores. I sug­gest switch­ing to qual­ity nat­ural prod­ucts that do not con­tain the afore­men­tioned ingre­di­ents. If you use foun­da­tion, go for a mica-free, bismuth-oxychloride-free min­eral makeup such as Alima Pure or All Nat­ural Face. If you pre­fer liq­uid foun­da­tions, Liv­ing Nature, Miessence, Real Purity, and Vapour all make them (some may con­tain waxes, so just double-check and see if you can order samples).

As far as cleanser goes, use a gen­tle one that is made for oily skin (just because skin is oily doesn’t mean it’s not sen­si­tive, so never get any­thing harsh). I like to use ARCONA Clar­ity pads (they call them after­shave pads, but they are ideal for elim­i­nat­ing those lit­tle skin bumps as well as hor­monal blem­ishes) and ARCONA Triad pads to cleanse my face, though I also love 100% Pure’s Laven­der Foam Wash. As far as mois­tur­izer goes, use one that doesn’t con­tain waxes. My per­sonal favorite is ARCONA Magic White Ice because it is wax-free and does not clog my pores.

{CLEANSE THOROUGHLY} Not wash­ing well enough can be another huge cause of sub­clin­i­cal acne. If you wear makeup, be sure you are remov­ing it 100% at the end of the day. Even if it’s 3 am and you’re dead tired – remove your makeup thor­oughly. You may need to use a nat­ural makeup remover like pure coconut oil or pure sweet almond oil (just pour some on a cot­ton pad and swipe it over your makeup), fol­lowed by two cycles of face wash­ing (i.e. wash once briefly, then wash again more thor­oughly and con­cen­trat­ing on your T-zone). You will be sur­prised how much makeup still remains on your face when you only wash it once. After cleans­ing, you may want to use a toner (i.e. the ARCONA pads I men­tioned above, or a toner from Sophyto, 100% Pure, or The Neem Man) just to get off any resid­ual cleanser or makeup.

{EXFOLIATE PROPERLY} Use a non-physical (i.e. no scrubs!) exfo­li­a­tion method for now, so as not to irri­tate and break open the bumps. If you are on a bud­get, try a yogurt or sour cream mask, which uti­lizes lac­tic acid to gen­tly slough on the top lay­ers of skin. There are a few require­ments: 1. the yogurt (or sour cream) must be plain and unsweet­ened, 2. the yogurt must not con­tain any fillers, binders, preser­v­a­tives, or thick­en­ers like tapi­oca, gums, syrups, BHT, ascor­bic acid, etc., and 3. it is prefer­ably organic. Apply it to your skin a MAXIMUM of 10 min­utes after wash­ing your face, 3 times per week.

After 3 weeks, if you find that the yogurt is not strong enough and you are not see­ing a retreat of the bumps, try using a more con­cen­trated lac­tic acid or sal­i­cylic acid. My favorite prod­ucts for nat­ural non-physical exfo­li­a­tion (and what got rid of my fore­head bumps 100%) are the ARCONA Clar­ity pads and ARCONA Triad pads that I men­tioned ear­lier in ref­er­ence to cleans­ing. I use one of each, morn­ing and night (I use them as a cleanser and toner, all in one, which is ideal for me because I don’t wear makeup or live in a very pol­luted area).

What also helps to pre­vent and get rid of exist­ing bumps (as well as black­heads) is vit­a­min A. Some peo­ple might find results using an egg yolk mask (whisk the yolk of an egg — prefer­ably organic and/or local) a few times per week. Other peo­ple may need stronger vit­a­min A from a prod­uct. My favorite is ARCONA Vit­a­min A Com­plex, which you can use 2–3 times per week at night, prior to apply­ing mois­tur­izer. I find this works par­tic­u­larly well for pre­vent­ing black­heads and remov­ing exist­ing ones.

Once you start to notice the bumps dimin­ish­ing, you can incor­po­rate phys­i­cal exfo­li­a­tion (i.e. scrubs!) every 7–10 days in addi­tion to your non-physical exfo­li­a­tion tac­tics. You don’t want to over-exfoliate, which is why I sug­gest only once every 7–10 days for a scrub in this instance. My two favorite scrubs are Skin Apotheke Ubtan Scrub and ARCONA Cran­berry Gom­mage, since they both con­tain sooth­ing ingre­di­ents and are inher­ently non-irritating. To use them (don’t use both — pick one), apply very gen­tle pres­sure and mas­sage in cir­cu­lar motions for 1 minute, then leave it rest on your skin for a few min­utes as a mask. Works like a charm!

My final sug­ges­tion is to bal­ance your inter­nal body mech­a­nisms so your body does not over­pro­duce sebum (your skin’s oil/wax). You can do this sim­ply with a few dietary adjustments.

  1. Get at least 1 cup of green leafy veg­eta­bles in your body every day (spinach, kale, etc.) – steam them lightly or blend a hand­ful in with a fruit smoothie so you can’t taste it but you get all the ben­e­fit. The nutri­ents in green leafies work won­ders on your skin, giv­ing it a beau­ti­ful healthy glow, reduc­ing under-eye cir­cles, and bal­anc­ing oil production.
  2. If you eat meat, switch to grass-fed or wild meats when­ever you can, such as buffalo/bison, deer, grass-fed beef, wild or free-range turkey/chicken, etc. The rea­son for this is grass-fed/wild meats con­tain a bal­anced ratio of Omega 3 to 6, as well as CLA, which is a health­ful fat that helps us main­tain our nat­ural weight.
  3. Sup­ple­ment with qual­ity fish oil that con­tains a high level of EPA and DHA (care­ful: most fish oil is not very con­cen­trated and you have to take a ton of cap­sules to get a ben­e­fit). My favorite is Nordic Nat­u­rals Ulti­mate Omega because it is very con­cen­trated and doesn’t result in any strange fish burps. Take 3–6 cap­sules per day. I take 6 cap­sules per day. (Note: unfor­tu­nately, veg­e­tar­ian oils are infe­rior due to their low amounts of EPA – ide­ally, your Omega 3 sup­ple­ment should have an equal ratio of EPA to DHA in order to pro­vide the best anti-inflammatory benefit.)
  4. Reduce the amount of inflam­ma­tory foods in your diet, such as refined sugar and processed grains. Go for health­ier alter­na­tives like ste­via (a nat­ural, safe sweet­ener from ste­via leaf), raw/unfiltered honey, and whole sprouted grains (sprouted grain breads are avail­able more abun­dantly now, espe­cially at health stores and gro­ceries like Whole Foods). As a gen­eral rule, don’t include grains at every meal – this is a sim­ple way to reduce acne.

On a final note, if you have the finan­cial means and you are in a hurry to get rid of the bumps, see a qual­i­fied aes­theti­cian who will do a series of facials (most likely 1 facial every 2 weeks for 2–3 months, depend­ing on your skin sen­si­tiv­ity) that will remove all the bumps. How­ever, you must incor­po­rate the rec­om­men­da­tions I listed above in order to keep the bumps away permanently.

Let me know how this goes!
~Steph  x