forehead bumps - be gone!

You know those bumps that aren’t QUITE pimples? The ones that live on your forehead and never seem to pop or go away?  Turns out, there’s a more technical term than “forehead bumps” for these pesky blemishes – and we’ve got the tricks you need to get ’em gone.

Subclinical acne – what it is and why you have it.

If your forehead is covered in lots of small colorless or red bumps, you may be dealing with subclinical acne. This type of acne can cause the skin’s surface to look and feel uneven, without ever developing into the typical “pimple” – pus-filled and inflamed. Rather, subclinical acne is simply congested, clogged pores.

These little bumps are caused by an excess of sebum – the waxy, oily substance that your sebaceous glands naturally produce. When there is an excess of sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, your pores become clogged, resulting in protruding follicles and a bumpy texture. Subclinical acne can occur in large numbers on the cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead. It is usually most common on the forehead and cheeks, because the oil glands on these two parts of the face are highly active.

Subclinical acne is most often tied to your lifestyle, stress, and/or hormonal changes. So how can you reduce its appearance? 

1. Up your cleansing game

Since we know that subclinical acne is caused by clogged pores, the first (and potentially only) step in reducing them is to improve your cleansing technique. Often times, even after washing our faces, our skin is still covered in a layer of dirt, oil, makeup, and other impurities!

First off, take a look at the cleanser you’re using. The best type of cleanser to use will be an oil-based cleanser, like our facial cleansing oil. Oil dissolves oil, making a cleansing oil extremely helpful. If you're not into oil cleansing, try our oil to milk cleanser, which can be rinsed off like a more traditional cleanser. Foaming or soap-based cleansers can dry out the skin, which will actually lead to MORE oil production, as your body will try and make up for what you’re stripping away!

On top of using an oil-based cleanser, another technique to utilize is double cleansing. This may seem counter-intuitive – especially if you’re used to drying cleansers – but double cleansing with an oil cleanser can make a HUGE difference for your skin. Think of the first round of cleansing as prepping your skin for the deeper cleanse. Gently, but thoroughly, cleansing your skin twice will help to clear and remove dead skin cells. Our oil to milk cleanser is perfect for your second cleanse, because it gently cleans the skin without stripping it of its own natural oils.

Do a double cleanse only once a day — and we prefer to do this at night, when your skin really needs it after a day of makeup, dirt, and pollutants!

2. Did someone say tone? 

We did. Lots of times! That’s because we know how essential toning is in finishing the cleansing process. On top of helping to extract any leftover oil and dirt left on your face (which is possible even after double cleansing!), using a toner helps to balance your pH levels and decrease excess oil production. Toning can help your skin really breathe!

Our raspberry vinegar toner has a slightly acidic pH of about 3.5, which makes it great for cleansing and purifying skin. Our rosewater toner is gentler, with a pH level of 5.5, but is still great for soothing skin and helping balance sebum.

3. Lightly moisturize

Of course it's always important to moisturize. However, while you're working on clearing out subclinical acne, you want to make sure not to overwhelm your skin with anything too heavy. We recommend sticking to a lighter moisturizer, like our golden elixir or raspberry jasmine oil

4. Steer clear of makeup for a few days

While you may have the urge to cover up, the best option for your skin is to leave it as clean as possible. Heavy foundations and makeup can trap excess oil and dirt in your pores. If you feel like you can’t go bare-faced, then try to opt for an all-natural, lightweight facial powder that will allow your skin to breathe.

5. If they’re still not gone – check your diet

We’ve talked a lot about how diet affects your skin. If you are taking all of the right steps to treat your skin on the surface and you still aren’t seeing results, the issue may be in your gut. For many people, certain foods like soy and dairy can cause hormone imbalances, which lead to excess oil production and sometimes, irritation. Refined sugar and processed carbs are also a no-go, as they can be inflammatory.

We know it’s difficult, but our recommendation is to steer clear of processed sugars and dairy…especially when you’re dealing with stubborn subclinical acne! If you can, load your diet up with leafy green veggies, fibrous non-grain foods, and zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds instead.

6. Drink a ton of water

Drinking enough water is essential for keeping your skin clear. Our cells are nourished and hydrated by water, and dehydration can cause your skin to compensate by overproducing oil. Double certified MD, Dr. Amy Shah, told us recently that she recommends drinking between 10-14 glasses of water a day! For some extra flavor and benefits, try adding lemon or other fruit to your water.


7. Don’t pick

As tempting as it is to try and pop these annoying blemishes (trust us, we know), avoid picking at all costs. This is especially important for subclinical acne, which won't normally break the skin on its own, as the bumps are often just congested pores. Picking at them could lead to the irritation and scarring, and can cause breakouts to worsen.

The best bet is to let your skin naturally regenerate to flush out the congestion.

We hope that this post helped clear up the mystery around those pesky forehead bumps – and that it will also help clear up your skin! The key factor in treating subclinical acne is to keep your pores clear – through your routine (give that double cleansing a shot!), lifestyle habits, and diet. If you have any questions at all, email us at!



L on

Turned out that my flesh colored bumped were fungal acne and products with oils, fatty acids, and esthers were feeding it. The only three acceptable oils for skin with Fungal Acne are mineral oil, Squalane, and MCT. In two weeks what haunted me for two long dreary anxiety inducing years were completely gone!!! Reddit really explained the science of fungal acne called pityrosporum folliculitis or malassezia folliculitis. From there I was referred to youtube.
What I did :
1) Wash face with oil free cleanser and pat skin dry
2) Use anti-dandruff shampoo with Ketoconazole as it’s Active ingredient as a 10 minute mask then rinse off and pat dry. Weird but THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP, this is what eliminates the fungal acne!!!
3) Moisturize with oil free lotion.


Jordy Rose on


I am wondering what is the difference between subclinical acne and fungal acne. I have never had any acne and suddenly have these stubborn bumps all over my forehead and temples! Trying to figure out if I need to dive into the “anti fungal” route – or if it would be worth a shot to just up the cleansing game (feeling like everything was enflaming it, I stopped cleansing) and toning!

Let me know!!


Alexandria Abbott on

Hi there!! i have been using all four of these products for about a week now and was wondering how long it would take to notice a change? it looks to me as if i’m getting more? i don’t know ?


cocokind on

Hi everyone! It seems like there’s been some confusion in the comments – to clarify, we always recommend moisturizing after washing your face, but we’d suggest sticking to a lighter moisturizer if you’re dealing with forehead bumps. Hope this helps!


Gemma Paisley on

Instead of just NOT moisturizing after washing (which I made the mistake of doing until I realized better), which is like crash-dieting your skin, invest in an oil-free moisturizer. They can help your skin bounce back in no time! Oil-Free Moisture for Combo skin by Neutrogena is very helpful, as are many products on this site! Happy Cleansing!! :)


Maria Waugh on

Hi, I followed the cleanse and tone and no or very little moisturiser, but still have one spot that is totally dry but won’t completely disappear, is this normal?.


Stephanie on

It doesn’t say not to moisturize, they advise to to use a heavy moisturizer..


hannah jenkins on

I use to have super bad acne, then the dermatologist put me on Epiduo Forte, it worked super well super fast but all of a sudden recently my cheeks and forehead are getting these tiny little bumps on them and I’ve never had a problem with them before. Any ideas?


Erin Bennett on

I like this worked. I’m twelve and I am self concealer about my skin. My forehead was covered in them but now they are clearing. I don’t wear makeup anymore and haven’t got about a week and it helps a lot. I don’t need foundation just do the bits like eyes and eyebrows. This was helpful and I’m a lot more confident!!


Allison M. on

I find the advice not to use moisturizer very perplexing. When I don’t moisturize, my skin gets crazy oily. However, if I moisturize with the right oils for my oily skin, it doesn’t get nearly as oily. I’m a big fan of a lot of your products, but I’m really questioning this advice.


Rinal Shah on

Love this article- super helpful! You should update to feature your new Oil to Milk Cleanser!


Alexandra Staub on

You say about not using moisturizers, but I’m curious if organic Shea butter at night counts? And also, what should I do for SPF during the day? Does oil cleansing go before or after traditional cleansing when using a double cleansing routine? Is it okay to use a silicone scrub brush, I feel as though this has been working for me? What will the bumps do as they start to go away on their own? How long will this take to work?
P.s. I have them pretty much all over my face. My cheeks, jawline, chin and patches on other places including my chest, neck, and forehead. They sound very similar to the type of acne you describe.


Sandra Mitchell on

Moisturizer is defiantley needed after cleansing your face. Why would you recommend not using a moisturizer?


Sherrie Trehan on

2 things.

A good cleanser, and some tea tree oil. Leave the tea tree oil overnight and you should be able to see a difference. Also avoid makeup or any moisturisers. Often we think we need moisturisers but our skin has the ability to moisturise itself. The skin does not recognise man made moisturisers better than its own. Just wash twice a day with a gentle cleanser even if your skin is oily and avoid makeup and moisturisers. Try this for just 1 week, and you WILL see guaranteed results.


moses richardson on

i need some help yall to get theses bumps off my face what will i need

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