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Face Mapping: What Your Pimples Are Trying To Tell You

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Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice... read more

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. None of the statements on this site are a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. If you suspect you have a disease or health-related condition of any kind, you should contact your health care professional immediately. Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. read less

facemapping

You may be able to find out how to stop breakouts by doing some detective work.

Argh, those nasty breakouts. You scrub and you wash and you tone and you moisturize, and still they show up just when you least need them, like right before a big interview, presentation, or meeting with your new in-laws.

You know how to grin and bear it. You probably know how to cover it up. You may even know what you need to do to get your skin back on the healthy track. If you want to say goodbye to your acne for good, however, the next time it shows up, you may want to perk your ears a bit. After all, we’ve heard that if you listen, your breakouts will tell you what you need to know to stop them from coming back.

Where are You Breaking Out?

Look carefully at where you’re breaking out. There is a theory called “face mapping” that suggests the location of your acne could present clues about what’s causing it. Traditional Chinese medicine, for example, maintains that a weakness or toxicity in a certain organ or gland in the body can result in acne showing up in certain areas of the skin. You can use this theory to do some detective work on your breakouts.

  • Forehead: Pimples here are usually linked to the digestive system, and may indicate that you’re having a hard time breaking down certain foods. It may also indicate liver problems, stress, or an irregular sleep schedule. Try using bitter herbs or digestive enzymes like bromelain and papaya before each meal to help break down foods, and make sure you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you suspect liver issues, try some dandelion tea or some extra garlic and onions. Drinking hot water with lemon in the morning may also help.
  • Between the brows: Did you have to break down and get fast food yesterday? Greasy, fatty foods may be connected to acne here. Stick with healthy choices as much as you can! Another possible cause—too much alcohol. If you find pimples here after a night out where you consumed a few drinks, that may be your issue.
  • Cheeks: If you spent time in the city, had to sit in traffic for hours, or otherwise came into contact with polluted air, that may explain pimples showing up here. And unfortunately, the air in our homes can be jusr as bad, or worse! Consider adding plants that clean the air to your home. Allergies that affect the respiratory system may also be to blame, or if you pressed your cell phone against your skin while talking, germs may have been transferred to your face. Always wash skin thoroughly before bed to try to get rid of trace contaminants. Sometimes, acne here can be a symptom of too much sugar in your diet—cut back for a few days and see if that helps.
  • Chin: Did these show up around that time of the month? Chin pimples often come around because of changes in your hormones. In the days before your period, try to pay extra attention to your skin care. Consider eating foods that help regulate our natural hormonal cycles. Also be sure you’re not resting your chin in your hands when bored or tired, as this can transfer oils from your fingers onto your chin, which can cause pimples.

When Did Your Breakouts Show Up?

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Tracking just when your breakouts show up can also help you determine what may be causing them. Here are some tips to help:

  • First thing in the morning: If you’re finding pimples in the morning that weren’t there the night before, there could be a couple things at work. First, you may have forgotten to wash your face before bed (always a must!). Second, you may have eaten something for dinner or dessert that didn’t digest well, causing changes in your skin. Eating too close to bedtime may also encourage the formation of pimples.
  • Afternoon: This may be caused by hormones, if you’re getting close to your menstrual cylce, or it could be that your makeup or moisturizer is to blame. If you start out with a fresh face and then by afternoon see pimples and blackheads showing up, check the ingredients in your makeup and moisturizing products. Things like mineral oil, propylene glycol, dimethicone, and others can actually create a barrier on skin that traps bacteria underneath, increasing your chances of a breakout.
  • Evening: Did you wash your face after work? Before your exercise routine? Before cooking? Remember that all day, your skin is subjected to pollution and contaminants in the air. Makeup, as well, can sit on your skin all day long. The second you walk in the door, wash your face and put on a fresh moisturizer.
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What kind are you?

Look more closely at your breakouts. Do you have just one or two inflamed pimples, or a cluster of blackheads? This information can give you more clues as to what may be going on:

  • Blackheads and clogged pores: These are those tiny black spots that like to dot your skin like pencil pricks. Your skin may be dry in the area of the breakout. This may indicate a congested liver, in which case you may want to try a short detox-diet to flush out your system. Drink extra water, and try the liver-cleansing foods listed on Renegade Health.
  • Cystic acne: These pimples like to sit underneath the surface of skin, forming swollen bumps. They can take weeks to heal. Oily or dry skin—doesn’t matter. All skin types can suffer this type of acne. It may be connected to hormonal issues, including PMS, menopause, pre-menopause, childbirth, and breastfeeding. It may also be related to digestive issues. Consider getting more probiotics in your diet (from things like yogurt and kefir).
  • Frequent acne: This usually comes with whiteheads and blackheads, though they are usually small. The key here is “frequent”—this type of breakout comes around a lot. If this is your acne, look at your products, as it’s likely to be related to some ingredients that your skin doesn’t like.
  • Occasional: This is the acne that shows up out of the blue. You thought your skin was fine, and then wham, the pimples show up. Most likely, this type of acne is related to stress. Have things been difficult in your life lately? Have you been worried about something? You may need to take some time out.

Do you know what causes your breakouts? Please share any other tips you may have.

If you would like to learn more on face mapping and the different parts of the face that are connected to different organs in the body, read our other posts:

Face Mapping: An Introduction

Face Mapping: the Digestive System and Your Forehead

Face Mapping: the Liver and Between the Brows

Face Mapping: the Respiratory System and Your Cheeks

Face Mapping: Heart, Blood Pressure and Your Nose

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COMMENTS ( 34 and counting )
  1. Almut says:

    My breakouts are on the neck and temples and I have a lot of large pores filled with sebum and blackheads. I have eaten all natural foods for many years and already do all the things you suggest trying. I think I have hormonal acne which was previously controlled with ProActiv. I stopped using it 2 months ago and my face is in pretty bad shape now. I have also noticed an increase in facial warts. I love your products, but I’m not seeing any happy results yet.

    • Marie says:

      Almut,
      I hope I can help you!

      I have experienced disturbing hormonal acne and sebum overproduction (greasy skin) over the last years and therefore read, searched, informed myself, and tried a lot of products and home remedies. I have found my “cure” – a mix of different things, and I hope one, some or all of theese methds will help you too.

      1.
      Do some testing with food (for me staying away from all products below have changed my life for the better, both outside and inside :)):

      Try cutting back as much as you can from sugar one to two weeks. See if it helps.

      Try cutting down on milk products (especially milk, butter, cheese). See if it helps.

      Try cutting back as much as you can from gluten a few weeks. See if it helps.

      (I am sugar addict, so to be able to stay away from it I handle my cravings by eating grated coconut, berries and nuts instead)

      2.
      Try apple cider vinegar (preferable eco/organic) as a face water twice daily. Apple cider vinegar is quite strong so you should mix it with water. You have to try out for yourself how much apple cider and water to use. Read how I do further down.

      Also start adding some apple cider vinegar to your drinking water.

      If nothing of the above helps, I would also I do oil pulling with eco/organic sesame oil (google how to do oilpulling for instructions). It is about cleansing the mouth, teeth and toth sockets – which has many health benefits: treating acne, good mouth hygiene, among others.

      My apple cider vinegar routine:

      In the morning or evening, or both. I dip a cotton pad in a mix of 1/3-1/4 apple cider vinegar and 2/3-3/4 water and then soak my face (not the eye area) with the liquid.

      Both morning and evening. After cleansing (and perhaps the above procedure), when my skin has dried, I take a cotton ear swab and dip into pure apple cider vinegar and press the liquid on any break outs in sight.

      This procedure helps my skin to look mostly flawless nowadays, except one or to spots once in a while. Those spots that I have, the vinegar heal much faster than before and prevent to further develop.

      The vinegar has good antibacterial properties aswell as it is pH balancing, detoxcating and balances the sebum production.

      PS. Apple cider vinegar is also exellent for hair problems – sebum (grease), dryness and itchyness. Just pour (3 dl or so) half water, half vinegar onto your scalp the last thing you do after cleansing your hair. I usually leave it in for one minute and then just rinse the hair with a little (cold) water.

      3.
      If ProActiv has helped you before I am wondering if probiotica perhaps could help you. Innate and Thorne are clean, good brans (also my functional/nutritional doctor (she is really a good one) recommend Great Earth, Lifestyle Organics, Alpha Plus, Holistic, Metagenics, AllVia, Solaray and Nutri-Meds are reliable brands my functional/nutritional doctor recommend as clean and pure) .

      4. If nothing of the above helps. I would start looking for a good natural/functional/nutricional doctor (google your area + the words above). You might have some imbalances in your body, organ that needs to be helped, vitamin deficiencies, life issues (for example stress that needs to be addressed).

      Wishing you all the best!

      Marie

      • Molly says:

        Marie
        After you do the acv + water mixture and swab your face, do you rinse? Or just allow to dry? Also, do you moisturize afterwards? If so, what moisturizer? Thank you!

  2. Marie says:

    PS.

    I forgot! Warts and moles are usually the result of a nutritional deficiency.

    Also I recommend you to google adrenal fatigue if you haven’t read about it.

    MV

  3. Marie says:

    PS2.

    Also google leaky gut.

    MV

  4. Abbie says:

    I’m 18 and normally used to get the occasional spot now and again but in the past month I have suddenly got really bad acne on my lower cheeks/either side of my mouth. I have looked at face maps and tried using natural products for my face but nothing seems to be working and its making me really self conscious. Is there anything that I could use, cut out or could be the cause of this acne. Please Help

  5. Carol says:

    I have broken out in the past month of Blackheads all over including, ears, lips, face, neck, back. & hands!! I never had this before & I am in my 70s, what could cause this?

  6. Trina says:

    This is a really interesting article. I. Am still wondering whether mine is from being 22 weeks pregnant or because i am just getting over being sick with acute bronchitis and was fighting a fever for a week with barely an energy to shower or clean my face. Now i have acne all over my fave and slightly on my back and chest. Could it just be from clogged pores during that past week or a combo of pregnancy? Anyone else have an opinion? Bo clue what is safe to use while being pregnant

  7. wendy says:

    How about body backache..im having hard time due with it..it comes and goes..i seen a few doctors but after awhile its comes back again

  8. amal says:

    Hi,
    I’m 17 years old and I have dark skin.and I have been suffering from acne for a long time. I have almost all types of acne,mostly cystic and bumps,and they are all over my body. The most annoying parts are in between my eyebrows,forehead,around my mouth,chin,all over my back,nose,even EARS! Basically my face is completely spoilt and miserable…when the pimples die they leave this dark patches all over my face which caused major discoloration on my face. I even stopped wearing makeup and going out because it makes it worse! Right now I’ve giving up but I was wondering if there are natural remedies I could use.

  9. Hi! I found this article very informative. I just got a cystic pimple on my chin. I have not received my period yet. Do you think that’s what it could mean.

  10. Karen says:

    What can you do about hormonal acne? Do you need to get a blood test to see what is wrong with your hormones? If it happens monthly and nothing is wrong with your cycle, then what is the culprit? Thanks.

  11. Lena says:

    i was very lucky when I was young and didn’t have much problems with acne. If I ate a bar of chocolate I always ended up with pimples the next day. I also got some pimples along with my periods but it was only for a few years when I was a teenager.

    Now I’m 52 and I’ve been having problems with redness on my face for a few years. I finally asked my family doctor and she told me I have Rosacea. “Rosacea is a common vascular condition that is believed to be caused by inflammation”. I use an antibiotic cream called Metrogel on my face once a day. It has made my redness better but now I get acne instead! I get these cystic pimples that are really sore and stay for weeks. I do eat a lot of Greek yoghurt.

    I’ve had dry skin for many years so I wash my face with just water twice a day. I don’t use any make up. I have been using grape seed oil as a moisturizer for my face for a couple of years. It was working fine before.

    I need something to put on these evil things! If it wasn’t for my sensitive skin I would have got some acne cleaner at the store but that would be far too. strong.

    When my daughter was younger she had problems with acne and what helped her was African black soap (Dudu Osun) and Jojoba oil. She had a friend in school who’s face was covered in acne and we gave him some soap and Jojoba oil. After a few weeks his acne was gone! He looked like a new person. I don’t know what is in the soap but it helped! My daughter still uses it now and then.

    Any idea what could help me?

  12. Michelle says:

    Help. I have never had any issues with my skin. I am almost 45 years old now and for the last few months I have been dealing with cheek acne and lots of bumps/acne on my chin with redness. Sometimes my cheeks feel so dry. I use oil olay sensitive skin wash and ponds face cream but it’s not helping and it seems to be getting worse. Could it be hormones???? What can I use to clear my skin and stop the redness?
    I have also been dealing with scalp issues. Itching and odor if I don’t wash my hair on a daily basis. Could they be related?

    • Shira says:

      Hi Michelle, I would check the igredients on the products you’re using. As soon As I hit 20, I had skin issues and it lasted for 9 years. I finally realized that my skincare and makeup was the cause. There are very few chemicals that are regulated by the FDA, and it’s amazing that a lot of toxic ingredients are in products that claim to be good for you. Skin Deep is a great website to see the toxicity level of different products. I would switch to products that don’t have harmful chemicals. I started using natural face oils and it has cleared up my face long term. I still get an occasional breakout, but it’s rare.

  13. Amina says:

    Hello, i have acne on my forehead, beside my nose (both left and right sides), my chin and the one that never goes on my nose. wen ever i use soke products , the others go but my nose still has acne, nd they are really small in size, but never leave. please wat do i do?

  14. Walker says:

    I used to not believe in face mappings of breakouts. But recently, I’ve come to believe in it. I get pimples on my chin once in a while — almost always at the same area.

    That time of the month? But I’m a man.

    So my question is, more likely it’s due to in/decrease of estrogen/testosterones level. I just don’t know which and which.

    Any ideas?

  15. kat says:

    I frequently have bumps on the sides of my cheeks….noticing facial hair…peach fuzz-like . is this hormonal or diet…plus when I use hairspray I notice my forehead gets bumps…help

    • Annmarie Skin Care says:

      Hi Kat,

      The bumps you’re seeing could from a lot of different things. It sounds like it could be from your hair products, especially if you’re using organic skincare and synthetic hair products like the hairspray. Your skin could be reacting to one of the chemical in it. Try switching out the hairspray – Brigitte Mars has a great book called Beauty by Nature, you should check that out!

  16. sara says:

    I have cystic acne that does not seem to correlate with anything. I cannot find a pattern. My skin is so oily that it genuinely feels like wax. I have to wash it two or three times at once to cut the grease. soap and face wash wont even lather the first washing. I am a slave to showering at night (no simple face washing before bed) because if I don’t then it gets even worse. But then when I wake up in the morning the front of my hair is already greasy like oil was poured in it and my face feels like wax and it makes my day miserable feeling so dirty so early already. I honestly need two showers a day because of my face and hair but there is no time for that and it would dry out the rest of me. doctors don’t seem to care or know what to do. I was once very pretty but then I got pitted acne scarring because of this condition. I don’t even socialize because to me I’m so gross to look at and I can always feel theses painful lumps on my face even without touching them.

    • Annmarie Skin Care says:

      Hi Sara,

      Our customer support staff wrote to you at the email address provided to chat about what you’re experiencing and the best routine for you.

    • David says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I’m just wondering if you are drinking enough pure water for your body. The best results I get with clients is when I can get them to drink small amounts of water consistently through the day.

      The amount suggested is 33ml per kg of weight. (I’m in Australia and we do metric here.)

      So if you weigh 60 kg the amount to drink is about 2 litres. No more and no less of pure water. At the rate of 60 to 70 ml every half hour through the day.

      Drinking this way helps rehydrate the body and clear toxic overload.

      All the best……David

  17. Ann says:

    Very helpful, re forehead , cystic acne seems to fit., early a.m.
    Thank you.

  18. wow there are a lot of things that I dont understand about my skin! good thing my Solvaderm is doing amazing job of keeping the unknown at bay. Even acnes has a meaning now. the wonders of our medical science is outstanding!

  19. Hi Marie,
    I am 46 and 8 months ago I started using natural hair care products to improve my hair condition. I opened up a rabbit hole…I also started making all my own organic oil infusions for my skin. My skin detoxed itself to the point where I even had to stop using my makeup. Even my gel eyeliner started burning my eyes. I now use only a mineral powder and mineral eye shadow. I clean my skin with hibiscus and non alcohol witch hazel. Now I am starting to get spots around my jaw line. They are small little bumps not even full pimples. They appear during the day and itch. I dont menstruate anymore. Do you think this could be another symptom of detox to the mineral powder? I am using Physicians Choice, best one could get at the time as I am based in South Africa. Thank you in advance.

    • Annmarie Skin Care says:

      Hi Larga,

      Congratulations on your decision to work with all natural products.

      We would suggest talking to a holistic practitioner about what your menstruation and what could be going on.

  20. Olaitan says:

    This post is great, explanatory, interesting and super helpful. Bookmarked it already. Welldone!
    Laitanbee Blog

  21. Fitriah says:

    I’m 29 and I never had any facial issues before. Even if I have pimples, it is usually 1 or 2 and it disappears few days later. Now it is almost all over my face especially on my forehead, nose and cheeks. It is so itchy and cause redness. Sometimes my back of my neck would have 1 pimple and itchy on my scalp.
    What is happening? and how do I remove it?

  22. Kaye says:

    Thank you for this. I was wondering if my new home environment was the cause of my recent surge of breakouts that only seem to be playing tag as some disappear and more appear. Gonna try investing in an air purifier and hopefully that will help.

  23. Turbold says:

    I’ve lots of big pimples in my neck. Can u advise my something 🙁

  24. Danielle says:

    I have very nice skin at 52 years old and am thankful, however there are a few things I’d like to fix: a small broken blood vessel now resides on the right outer part of my nose ( how do you get rid of this?), A medium sized age/sun spot on the left side of my face near the top of my cheekbone, lastly, I have three very small brown spots on the bag under the eye. I’d really like to know how to get rid of these small nuances.
    Fondly,
    Danielle B.

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