Feline chin acne is a disorder called follicular keratinization and is actually the overproduction of keratin, which is a protein underneath the outer layer of skin. There are many possible causes of feline chin acne and the exact mechanism is not fully understood. Causes can vary from a primary seborrheic disease, poor grooming, or even excessive sebum production (sebum being the natural oils produced by a cat’s skin). When the keratin excess gets trapped in the hair follicle it forms blackheads—also called comedones—which can become infected with bacteria and then form pimples. The chin acne that is present in felines is similar to the acne that humans get.
A common sign of chin acne is that the chin will appear to be dirty, dark and/or flaky. The comedones may be present on the chin and either the lower or upper lips. A closer look will reveal the blackheads and infected hair follicles. Cases that involve chronic chin acne might even have hard lesions that can be sore when touched.
Treatment of chin acne in felines often involves improved hygiene. It is advised to clean the cat’s face and maybe even trim the cat’s hair and use an antiseborrheic shampoo. Antibiotics or fatty acid supplements may be used in more chronic or severe cases. Some cats might need a change in food dishes to help resolve the condition, but most cases respond well to improved hygiene alone.
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