The skin over the lower jaw, or jawline as we often refer to it, is prone to the same dermatological conditions as skin elsewhere on the face and body. Itching is one of the common symptoms with or without a rash. The cause of the itching can vary from trauma to the skin to infections and a host of other skin diseases that may occur on the skin anywhere on the body. Similarly other skin symptoms like the rash or tenderness may occur in many different types of skin conditions.
Causes of Itching Jaw and Chin
Many of the causes of an itching jaw is the same as an itchy face. Only a few conditions are isolated to the mandible and chin without involving the skin on the rest of the face or neck. However, sometimes the cause of an itching jaw is never conclusively identified. It occurs for unknown reasons with no rash but usually resolves on its own within minutes or hours, and sometimes days with no further problems.
Some of the images below have been sourced from Dermatology Atlas Brazil
Some people experience itching as the facial hair grows after removing it (shaving, waxing and so on). Usually there is no other skin symptoms provided that scratching of the area is avoided. However, the hair growth can lead to problems like ingrown hairs in some individuals. This can then cause redness and pustular pimples. Changes in facial hair growth like in males reaching puberty or women with hormonal abnormalities that leads to facial hair growth (hirsutism) may also present with itching.
The face is the most commonly affected part of the body in acne vulgaris. The chest, shoulders, back and scalp are also involved in most instances. It presents with pimples of varying sizes, some of which may be large and pustular like in cystic acne. Acne is most commonly related to hormonal changes that leads to the production of excess skin oils (sebum) which may then form plugs that block the follicle openings (pores). Bacterial infections further contribute to the condition
Any substance that comes into contact with the skin can lead to irritation or trigger an allergic reaction. It is a common cause of itching skin over the jaw and chin. Allergic contact dermatitis usually affects people who have a hypersensitivity to certain substances that come into contact with the skin. Irritant contact dermatitis can occur in any person who is exposed to a substance that irritates the skin. This may include hair removal instruments, skin applications like beauty creams or shaving foam but it may also arise with water and even sweat that stays on the skin for long periods of time.
Dry Skin and Hygiene
Dry skin may also present with itching and it is a condition that is easily remedies with a suitable moisturizer. However, there are many skin conditions where dryness occurs as a symptom. Moisturizing in these diseases may provide short term relief of itching but the skin may be damaged thereby preventing it from retaining moisture. Poor hygiene is another common cause that is often ignored. Irregular washing or inadequate cleaning may mean that sweat, dead skin cells, dirt from the environment and akin applications like creams and makeup remain on the skin. These substances can the irritate the skin.
Trauma to the skin on the face may occur with a blow to the face or a penetrating injury. However, there are times where trauma is less obvious. Scratching is one such instance in that it injures the skin despite the fact that it usually brings relief to any itching. The fingernails can cause tiny breaks in the skin. Hair removal is another relatively common cause of trauma. It may cause mechanical injury like when using a razor or chemical injury as may occur with depilatory creams.
Sunburn is caused by exposure to UV light which inflames the skin. It is a common condition that can also arise with the use of tanning beds or booths. The jaw and chin are commonly affected areas as is the face. Sunburn can be avoided with the use of sunscreens, limiting the time spent in the sun at one sitting as well as with protective gear. It is usually a short term reaction to UV light and resolves within days or weeks after the exposure.
Skin infections are one of the common causes of itchy skin although pain may sometimes mask the itching. Bacterial and fungal infections are more common. Viral infections occur occasionally like in chickenpox or shingles.
Bacterial infections are seen in conditions like acne, impetigo and folliculitis. Sometimes the bacteria that naturally occur on the skin may cause the infection when a break in the skin of the jaw arises like during shaving. Staphylococci and streptococci are among the more common causes of these types of bacterial skin infections. Oozing discharge, red skin rash, swelling, heat, tenderness and pain are some of the other symptoms that are usually present.
Fungi are another common microbe to infect the skin. These fungi are usually dermatophytes which have specialized enzymes to digest skin cells. It causes a red ring-like rash therefore it it commonly referred to as a ringworm infection. The infection is usually limited to the superficial layers of the skin. Tinea faciei is a fungal infection of the skin on the face. When it occurs on the beard area it is known as tinea barbae. It is also known as barber’s itch which is a broad term that can also be used for bacterial infections on the lower jaw and chin region.
There are many types of drugs that may trigger and adverse reaction. Often the skin symptoms of adverse drug reactions appear similar to allergic reactions. Any number of drugs may be trigger these reactions and it largely depends on the individual rather than a specific drug. Typically these drug reaction symptoms arise a short while after starting a new drug, within hours or days. The symptoms usually resolve a short while after stopping the problem medication.
- Actinic prurigo
- Atopic dermatitis
- Insect bites
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Skin cancer
- Systemic or discoid lupus erythematosus
- Urticaria (hives)