healthy skin face mapping

Acne Face Mapping: What Your Pimples Say About Your Health

We were one of the first pros to write about Face Mapping.

Because our skin philosophy is steeped in Asian Medicine, it's a concept that we've understood for a long time before it became En Vogue.  Heck, it was even featured in Dr. Kristen Ma's skin book, published over a decade and a half ago.  Here's our Coles Notes on the concept....but also it's limitations.

Face Mapping 

For thousands of years, eastern medicine has been using the face and skin to distinguish what imbalances are occurring in our internal organs and body.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda (an East-Indian health science) believe that the skin analysis (along with tongue and pulse) can display early warning signs of disease.

Like the relationship between acupuncture or marma points to the different organs, face mapping uses different areas on the face to address internal imbalances.

This way we can start to understand our skin and the potentially deeper causes of our blemishes.  We have to say though, this is not a perfect system.  Sometimes a zit is just a zit.  But when we see patients breakout over and over in one concentrated place, it's worthwhile to look into the organs or systems related to this area of their complexion.  Always address things with the help of a healthcare professional.

The Forehead: Clogged Pores and Dry Acne

According to Face Mapping, the forehead and upper face is known to reflect the health of the colon and the state of our circulation.

Many believe that these break-outs and congestion are from excess oil, but from this view, it is stagnation which causes these blocked pores. From here, it is not oil-reduction that is needed, but to boost circulation, lymphatic drainage and even moisture to increase movement to clear up these deposits.

Poor circulation also promotes this congestion according to eastern medicine. Comedones here are from excess air and relate strongly to dryness of the colon.

The air element in Ayurveda (Vata) governs stress and anxiety which will tax the colon. But not all forehead breakouts are stress related, TCM touts that different areas of the forehead can indicate different dysfunctions.

Frown lines are said to be liver related. This is why Botox injections are considered harmful from an eastern perspective too.  I mean, the botulism is a whole separate thing.

Recurring acne is said to benefit from liver support and pacifying excess yang. This makes the case for piling on the leafy greens and dandelion tea.

Breakouts on the cheeks and nose

The middle part of the face is governed by heat and fire energy (Pitta), which leads to inflamed breakouts.

Those with excess heat in our bodies will naturally flush and blush easily, and in extreme cases, develop Acne Rosacea.

Because heat rises, high yang is often expressed in our faces through acne, rosacea and reactive skin.

Traditional Chinese Medicine says that the heart relates to the small intestine, opens through tongue and is in charge of capillaries. This means that acne and dilated vessels here reveal a taxed heart and, in turn, small intestine.

But the heart does not simply pump blood, according to TCM, it is also part of the mind. Thoughts, emotions and feelings come from the heart. It is like a second mind.

Repressed anger and a weighted heart is said to contribute to angry acne or skin redness.

It is advised that those with high heat to stay away from alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is very heating, and high alcohol-intake not only can lead to acne here but also redness and vascular damage on the nose. 

Acne around the Mouth

The area above the lips (moustache area) in Face Mapping relates to the reproductive organs.

Furthermore, the corners of the mouth are a place of heat, so pimples here can indicate internal heat too.

In Ayurveda, the lips display the healthiness of the stomach and intestines, in TCM it is the state of the stomach and spleen. To relieve acne in the mouth region, consider increasing cooling, hydrating fruits and vegetables along with drinking more fluids will help calm inflammation in the digestive system.

The Chin and Jaw Line Cysts

The lower part of the face is governed by the earth element (Kapha). Earth is responsible for growth and reproduction.

Break outs on the chin and jaw line are often deeper and cystic. This hormone-related acne is the most difficult to clear up.

Excess hair growth in this area is also often due hormonal imbalance. This can be seen as hirsutism those with PCOS or going through menopause.

For acne here, it is suggested that decreasing foods with high earth is extremely helpful. These are foods like dairy, high-glycemic starches, and fats.

Stimulating "earth" with cardio exercise is another's not only about food choices.

Clear skin depends so heavily on being healthy and vibrant. Next time you look in the mirror, look past the topical and think about seeing yourself inside and out.


Image by James Resly via unsplash

Back to blog