I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I think my brows have a great natural shape and arch, and thanks to a lifelong predisposition toward grooming apathy, I managed to mostly avoid the tweezer fatigue of the early aughts that plagued so many a naturally bushy-browed lady.
So when a crop of zits started creeping into my brow territory a few months ago, I wasn’t about to take any prisoners. Nobody comes after my eyebrows and gets away with it. You know that scene in Taken when Liam Neeson is like, “I don’t know what you want, but I will find you. And I will kill you.” That’s how this story goes.
Here are the steps I took to obliterate my eyebrow breakout. It might not work for everyone, but it worked for me.
Keep Your Bangs In Check
I cut bangs a couple months ago, like I do every few months--it’s a never-ending cycle--but this was the first time my bangs led to a breakout.
My face was pretty chill, except for the area where my bangs hit my forehead, so the culprit was obvious. To combat this, I stopped using any hair product (including conditioner) on my bangs.
Now, I also push my bangs out of my face with clips or a headband before bed or when I’m going to be sweating a lot, like before a bike ride or workout.
Don't Overdo It With Acne Products
When these pimples first started popping up, I went into defense mode. I wanted to be the Tim Howard of acne--blocking every zit before it had a chance to score a point against my self-esteem. So I went HAM with some tea tree oil all over the breakouts.
That was WAY too harsh for my skin, and just made it even more irritated.
After that experiment, I started treating my breakouts a little more gently. I diluted my tea tree oil with water before applying it with a Q-Tip to specific spots, rather than slathering it all over my face.
I also started using two different cleansers: one for my forehead, one for the rest of my face. For my forehead, I used The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash to target blemishes, while sticking to more-moisturizing cleansers for the rest of my mug. Using two different cleansers was time-consuming, but worth it.
Try a Mask… For Your Eyebrows
I've loved the African Black Soap Problem Skin Facial Mask from Shea Moisture for a long time, and I usually use it as a spot treatment. When my whole eyebrow region was being plagued by a breakout, I applied the mask only to that area and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I did this every day for a few days, and watched the zits slowly die off and fade away.
When using a mask in your brow area, be sure to rinse it off gently with warm water and a washcloth to help prevent brow-hair loss. Avoid peel-off masks, since those could yank some hairs along with it.
Take a Break from Brow Products
I typically don’t leave my house without my brows filled in, but while I waited for the zits to heal I had to make some exceptions. If you must do your brows while they’re breaking out, make sure to wash off the brow products as soon as you can. I also suggest switching to a powder formula or a fine-tipped pencil rather than a cream or gel on your brows when they’re freaking out.
Wash Your Brow Tools
It’s pretty easy for me to remember to wash the brushes I use for my face, cheeks, and eye shadows, but because I use the same brow products every day, sometimes I forget to wash those. So whether you're breaking out or not, always be sure to wash any tool you’re using on your brows, including brushes or tweezers.
Go Easy on the Tweezing
I know that brow grooming is a fun pastime for some of us, but tweezing, waxing or other hair removal methods can further irritate skin. Wait until your spots have healed before you go back to any of that.
I don’t have many photos of my eyebrows while they were breaking out, but I think you can see some progress via these three from the past two months. Note the red bumps both in and around my eyebrows.
Have you ever experienced eyebrow acne? How do you combat these pesky breakouts?