What Causes Lymphatic Acne? Understanding the Signs and Symptoms

What Causes Lymphatic Acne? Understanding the Signs and Symptoms

 Dive into the underlying factors behind lymphatic acne, from slow lymphatic draining to toxin buildup. Read on for more insights.
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You might’ve heard about the lymphatic system associated with infections, such as swollen lymph nodes during strep throat. But did you know that the lymphatic system can also cause chronic acne?

There are many types of acne and potential triggers, so it can be difficult to know if lymphatic acne is the culprit of your skincare woes. But if you’ve tried countless remedies to no avail, you may be targeting the wrong kind of breakouts. 

Read on for our comprehensive guide on signs and symptoms, as well as how to treat lymphatic acne. 

What is Lymphatic Acne?

As its name suggests, lymphatic acne stems from problems with the lymphatic system and usually appears in the lower face, jawline, and down the neck. In short, the lymphatic network transports lymphatic fluid and certain white blood cells (lymphocytes) around the body. Obstruction of lymphatic flow and slow lymphatic drainage can cause puffiness, skin irritation, and—that’s right—acne. 

Lymphatic system acne differs from true hormonal acne, which is caused by excess sebum and clogged pores. Hormonal breakouts are linked to, for example, menstruation, pregnancy, or birth control. 

The Lymphatic System and its Role in Acne

Infection, inflammation, or blockages of the lymphatic system can cause lymphatic congestion, one of the key causes of lymphatic acne. Potential problems from lymphatic congestion include:

  • Fluid buildup 
  • Undigested proteins 
  • A buildup of bacteria and toxins
  • Weakened immune system

Any of these issues can lead to acne in the affected lymphatic region. 


Signs and Symptoms of Lymphatic Acne

Knowing the type of acne you have is the first step to properly treating it. But how can you determine if you have lymphatic acne, rather than hormonal or fungal acne? Here are some signs to look out for. 

Location and Distribution of Lesions

The facial lymphatic system consists of the adenoids (behind the nasal cavity) and tonsils (back of the throat). 

Lymphatic acne forms mainly around these organs, especially near the: 

  • Neck 
  • Mouth
  • Chin
  • Ears

The lymphatic acne region is within an inch or two of these body parts.

Characteristics of Lymphatic Acne

Whereas hormonal acne is more scattered and random, lymphatic acne tends to follow a pattern and resurface in repeat spots. It appears along lymphatic pathways, such as a line from the ears to the chin.

Lymphatic acne can manifest as pimples, pustules, cysts, and more.

Associated Physical Symptoms

Lymphatic congestion is rarely only skin-deep. If you are dealing with lymphatic acne, you will likely notice other symptoms or even medical conditions that crop up alongside it. 

  • Enlarged lymph nodes – Swollen lymph nodes can be the result of severe breakouts or infected cysts on lymphatic sites.
  • Swelling and inflammation – Since the lymphatic system involves proper fluid circulation, lymphatic congestion can be a sign of fluid buildup, leading to swollen or heavy limbs and difficulty moving. 
  • Severe fatigue – The lymphatic system carries out important functions in the body, and persistent fatigue can accompany underlying problems that also spur lymphatic acne.

It is always best to consult your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing unusual physical symptoms.

Contributing Factors to Lymphatic Acne

Your daily habits play a significant role in healthy lymphatic function and acne management. Lucky for us, when lymphatic acne shows itself, we can turn to a few daily habits and lifestyle choices to know where to modify. 

Diet and Lifestyle

Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and enough sleep go a long way in minimizing the risk of breakouts. 

When combating lymphatic acne, it’s important to drink lots of water, as staying hydrated helps lymphatic fluids circulate more easily around the body. Plus, getting your sweat on with a good workout also helps to prevent a buildup of toxins in the body and promote a natural lymphatic detox. 

It is also important to avoid hard-to-digest proteins like eggs, which can contribute to lymphatic blockage and breakouts. 

Environmental Factors

You should avoid exposure to pollutants and toxic chemicals that can hinder the lymphatic system’s natural lymphatic flow and waste filtration.

Hormonal Imbalance

Studies show that sex hormones can disrupt the regulation of the lymphatic system, and that hormone therapy can play a role in lymphatic disorders. Talk to your doctor to determine if hormonal imbalance testing is recommended to better support your lymphatic system. 

How to Treat Lymphatic Acne

If you have identified lymphatic acne, don’t worry—there are many effective solutions to help clear your skin.

  • Lymphatic detox – Flush out your lymphatic system by drinking lots of water or herbal tea.
  • Facial lymphatic drainage – Use tools like a dry brush or gua sha to increase circulation, reduce swelling, and improve lymphatic drainage. 
  • Professional lymphatic massage – A lymphatic drainage massage promotes the flow of lymph fluid to reduce swelling and relieve congestion in the lymphatic system.
  • Lifestyle changes – Sometimes, the cure for lymphatic acne is as easy as adjusting your diet or removing comedogenic products from your skincare routine. Worried that you’re using comedogenic products? Use our pore-clogging ingredient checker to see which ingredients are safe for your skin. 

CLEARSTEM Targets Difficult Acne

Fight lymphatic acne and more with CLEARSTEM’s skincare for acne-prone skin. Our non-comedogenic cleansers, moisturizers, and serums unclog pores and revitalize skin affected by lymphatic congestion. 

To further fight acne at the source, try MINDBODYSKIN, our all-natural hormonal acne supplement that can show results in just one week. 

Browse our products today and say goodbye to lymphatic acne for good.


Cleveland Clinic. Lymphatic System. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21199-lymphatic-system.


Cleveland Clinic. Hormonal Acne. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21792-hormonal-acne

Medical News Today. Possible causes of a lump on the back of the neck hairline. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324866

National Library of Medicine. Sex Hormones in Lymphedema. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7866787/

Medical News Today. How to perform a lymphatic drainage massage. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324518