Can Grooming Your Brows Cause Eyebrow Acne?

October 02, 2023
Jessica Khorsandi
By: Jessica Khorsandi | by L'Oréal
Person with a blonde pixie cut looking in the mirror touching her hand to her eyebrow

Whether you choose to tweeze, wax or thread, breakouts around your eyebrows are a side effect that can occur as a result. We consulted with Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, to help us get to the bottom of why eyebrow acne sometimes happens after hair removal and how to address it.

Why Do Eyebrow Breakouts Occur After Hair Removal?

Before we break down the steps you can take to keep blemishes near the eyebrows at bay, it’s important to understand why this reaction is so common to begin with. “Similar to shaving and razor burn, trauma to any area can cause your skin to react,” Dr. Bhanusali says. “Combined with the possibility of a stray hair becoming ingrown, popular eyebrow hair removal techniques can lead some to experience unpleasant breakouts.” 

What Other Factors Can Lead to Acne on the Eyebrows?

Even if you don’t use hair removal methods in this area, you may still experience eyebrow breakouts, which are likely due to using comedogenic makeup that clogs your pores. Between the gels, powders and pencils you use to shape your brows, it’s important to check that they say “non-comedogenic” on the label. It’s also essential to cleanse your brows each night the way you do your skin, which will help to remove the product and any excess oils that may linger on skin and lead to clogged pores. We recommend a gentle face wash such as the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser.

How to Prevent Eyebrow Breakouts

Before grooming your brow hairs, exfoliate your face and pay close attention to the brow area. This can help ensure that bacteria and dirt won’t get pushed into your pores and cause a clog during the removal process. We advise using a chemical exfoliant, such as the L'Oréal Paris Revitalift 3.5% Pure Glycolic Acid Brightening Cleansing Gel, which gently exfoliates without stripping or drying your skin. 


It’s also important to resist the urge to touch your eyebrows with your fingers after hair removal. If your hands are dirty, bacteria can transfer onto your face and clog pores, which can lead to a breakout. If you do see any pimples post-grooming, reach for a spot treatment formulated with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or sulfur. We love the Kiehl’s Truly Targeted Acne-Clearing Pimple Patch With Salicylic Acid, an invisible liquid pimple patch that visibly reduces the size and color of pimples. 

Kiehl’s Truly Targeted Acne-Clearing Pimple Patch With Salicylic Acid
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

Read more



Back to top