Pimples can show up at the worst times and can seemingly pop up in the most random places. But what if we told you the location of your pimple can tell you what might be causing it?
A famous theory called “face mapping” uses ancient Chinese wisdom to figure out why you might be breaking out in certain areas of your face. It can even give you insight into your health, which helps prevent future breakouts.
As much as we hate pimples, they’re (weirdly) a good thing. Pimples are your body’s way of signaling hormonal fluctuations, diet changes, poor hygiene, or stress. Let’s dive deeper into the art of face mapping and learn what might be causing your acne.
What is face mapping?
Face mapping is the 3,000-year-old Chinese practice of sectioning the face into zones that correspond to different internal organs. The zones change depending on who you ask, but under this ancient practice, everyone agrees that energy flows between our organs on pathways not visible to the human eye. According to Healthline, “this hidden system has a degree of influence over both the cardiovascular and nervous systems”, which is how our skin could be showing us things we didn’t know about our lungs, heart, stomach, and more.
If that sounds a little “woo-woo” to you, we totally get it, but if you keep getting a pimple in that same spot and want to figure out why, face mapping might give you the answers you’ve been looking for.
What’s causing your acne?
We can all agree that bacteria, oil buildup, and dead skin can clog your pores, which causes acne. But when those reasons aren’t enough and you think something underlying might be causing it, consider these other acne causes:
- Hair and skin care products clogging your pores
- A diet heavy in greasy, sugary, or processed foods
- Hereditary skin or health conditions
- Hormonal fluctuations in females from periods and birth control
- Overproduction of testosterone in males
- Poor hygiene practices for the face or hair
- Medication side effects
- Stress response
Something as simple as letting sweat sit on your face for too long after the gym can cause breakouts. It can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause, but dividing the face into zones with face mapping can make it much easier to narrow down.
Face mapping zones and their meanings
Face mapping practitioners divide the face into anywhere from 3 to 14 zones, depending on who you ask. According to The Healthy, most practitioners agree on these 5 zones:
- Zone 1: Forehead
- Zone 2: Nose
- Zone 3: Cheeks
- Zone 4: Chin
- Zone 5: Eyebrows
Let’s explore these 5 zones and learn more:
- Which internal organ or system does that zone correspond to?
- What causes pimples in those zones?
- How can I prevent future breakouts in that zone?
Zone 1: Forehead - Digestive system
Forehead pimples are often linked to the digestive system, which means your diet could be to blame. This could indicate you’re struggling to break down certain foods, like overly processed or sugary foods.
Acne on your forehead could also mean you’re stressed or struggling to regulate your sleep schedule.
Hair products can also cause forehead pimples, especially if you notice them along the hairline. Hats trap heat on the forehead as well and are a commonly overlooked culprit of forehead acne.
To prevent future forehead breakouts, you should:
- Incorporate self-care time to de-stress
- Plan out consistent wake and bedtimes
- Drink water with lemon to improve digestion
- Wash your hair more often
- Switch out new hair products or headgear
Zone 2: Nose - Lungs and heart
Your nose reflects the health of your lungs and heart, meaning consistent breakouts on your nose could signal high blood pressure or high cholesterol, according to Byrdie. It could also mean your vitamin B levels are low, which means you might not be getting enough B12 in your diet. Hot take: this will also lower your energy levels!
To stop breakouts on your nose:
- Cut back on spicy foods, meat, and salt
- Eat more fruits, veggies, and nuts
- Incorporate healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6
- Add more chicken, salmon, yogurt, or shellfish to your diet
Pro-tip: If you struggle with pimples on your nose often, charcoal nose strips are essential to your skincare routine.
Zone 3: Cheeks - Respiratory system
Breakouts on the cheeks are so common because we all tend to touch our faces with dirty hands throughout the day. This might be causing acne on your cheeks which we’ll discuss in a minute. First, let’s explore internal factors that might be causing your cheeks to break out.
Chinese medicine assesses the left and right cheek separately, so we’ll do the same. As a whole, the cheeks reflect the respiratory system – the right cheek can tell you more about your lungs, and your left cheek is linked to your liver.
Right Cheek - Lungs
Since the right cheek is said to have a connection to your lungs, this means breathing exercises early in the morning could help reduce breakouts and prevent future ones, along with aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is any form of cardio, like walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming.
The right cheek is also more sensitive to sugar intake than other parts of the face, so if you’re breaking out on your right cheek, it’s time to cut back on junk food, sugar, wine, and even seafood.
Left Cheek - Liver
Left-cheek breakouts are linked to your liver and will have Chinese medicine practitioners recommending “cooling foods” like melons and cucumbers to reduce zits.
If none of this sounds like it might be causing your cheek acne, it might be time to wash your pillowcase and change your sheets! You could also disinfect your cell phone screen, wash your makeup brushes, and avoid resting your cheeks on your hands. Our cheeks come in contact with tons of germs daily, and there’s no doubt one of these factors could be transferring bacteria, clogging your pores, and causing cheek breakouts to form.
Psssst! Keep reading for some great tips on how to reduce current breakouts and prevent future ones with our favorite skincare products!
Zone 4: Chin - Hormonal fluctuations
The chin is another very common place we tend to rest our dirty hands, but it’s also the zone of hormonal fluctuations. If you’re experiencing recurring chin breakouts, it could signal that time of the month for women or high testosterone levels in men.
On rarer occasions, it could signal a hormonal abnormality such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women, so it might be a concern to bring up at your next doctor’s visit.
Stress is also a major cause of breakouts on the lower third of the face, such as the cheeks, chin, and jaw. It’s easier said than done, but try not to stress about your breakouts – it could be making them worse!
Zone 5: Brow area - Gallbladder and liver
Acne near the eyebrows is linked to your gallbladder and liver. If you’re getting breakouts by your brows, this could be a sign you’re eating too much junk food! It’s time to be honest with yourself – is there too much fat in your diet? Pimples rear their ugly head when you overindulge in unhealthy foods.
Brow pimples could also be a sign of consuming too much alcohol, or that you have a food allergy. Try cutting out gluten or dairy to see if your breakouts subside.
Making healthy choices whenever you can will reduce pimples in the upper portion of the face.
How to Prevent Future Breakouts
Now that you know what could be causing your breakouts in specific zones of your face, let’s dive into more preventative actions to reduce future pimples:
Follow a morning and nighttime skincare routine
If your morning skincare routine isn’t cutting it, it’s time to elevate your morning routine with skincare products that will help protect your skin. According to Byrdie, you should consider incorporating these ingredients into your morning routine:
Antioxidants: Defend the skin from free radical attacks
Hyaluronic acid: Balance hydration
Niacinamide: Reduce redness and oil production
The Bubbly Hydrogel Mask is also the perfect sheet mask to get back the bright and even complexion you had before the breakouts.
Don’t forget to exfoliate!
Regular exfoliation could be the trick to reducing breakouts once and for all. When the skin holds on to dead skin cells and doesn’t shed the outermost layer, it can trap dirt and oils in the skin, resulting in recurring breakouts.
The Exfoliate Mate sheet mask is a great way to remove dead skin cells gently and quickly – expect a mood boost in T-minus 10! It’s also a lot less messy than most exfoliators since the exfoliation beads are built into the sheet mask. Gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin, this mask has papaya extracts, pineapple extracts, and lactic acid that will safely eat away any dead skin that might be lingering around your breakouts.
It might be time for a skin detox
When your skin can’t seem to catch a break between breakouts, it might be time for a full-body detox! This guide to detox your body, mind, and skin has everything from a Ginger Cucumber Detox Smoothie recipe to a reset challenge you can follow along with this January.
Detox your skin at the same time with the Detox Smartmud Mask – a revolutionary mud mask in sheet mask form packed with volcanic ash, kaolin clay, and activated charcoal to absorb dirt and oil while purging toxins from the skin to avoid future breakouts in any zone.
Try natural remedies
Back in the day, they didn’t have innovative sheet masks and high-end skincare solutions to banish breakouts. Instead, they relied on good ol’ home remedies and naturally occurring ingredients. The Good Fight Sheet Mask gets the best of both worlds with new-age sheet mask technology loaded with natural ingredients like willow bark, tea tree, and peppermint. These anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial ingredients help reduce inflammation around breakouts, control oil production, and soothe pain and irritation.
We highly recommend this sheet mask for a speedy recovery from any breakout and to prevent future blemishes.
Pimple patches and nose strips will save your life
Pimple patches are the future. If you haven’t tried one yet, it’s time to read up on the science behind pimple patches. Salicylic acid dots help reduce the size of a pimple right when you feel it coming on, while Hydrocolloid dots help pull the gunk out of a whitehead and prevent the spread of bacteria to surrounding areas. It literally works like magic and you’ll need to experience it for yourself to believe it.
The Breakout Box is an awesome combination of salicylic pimple patches, hydrocolloid pimple patches, and charcoal nose strips that will help you combat any breakout that comes your way.
Master the art of face-mapping
Whether you’d rather lean into face mapping and learn more about the many ways your internal organs can be causing your breakouts or you’d rather rely on a traditional skincare routine, the choice is yours.
Either way, you’ll notice that taking care of your body through healthy eating, regular exercise, and consistent skincare routines could help reduce the chance of blemishes in most areas of the face.
If you haven’t found the cause of your pimple just yet, don’t stress. Pimples are a natural part of life and we all get them! It’s an act of self-love to look in the mirror and see beauty. Choose to speak positive words to yourself instead of focusing on the little blemishes or imperfections you might see. Most of the time, we’re all so worried about our insecurities that we barely notice anyone else’s. Best of luck with your skin journey and happy face mapping!