Can Face Mapping Really Help Improve Your Skin & Acne?

face mapping for acne
By Kali Kushner

What Is Face Mapping?

There's been quite a lot of buzz around acne face mapping. So what is acne face mapping? Face mapping is the theory that depending on the area of your face where you're experiencing acne, you can determine the root cause of your acne. 

Face mapping is basically about why you get certain  kinds of pimples or spots along certain parts of your face because they actually symbolize what's going on internally because your skin is very much a reflection of what's going on inside.

But is it really as simple as "x" marks the spot? It all depends on what type of medicinal theory you believe in.

It’s a battle over eastern and western medicine, with Chinese practitioners believing there's great power in face mapping and most American doctors claiming it to be hogwash. I think both portray good arguments, and while evidence for face mapping is limited,  I personally do agree there is a bit of truth behind it and here's why.

Traditional Chinese Face Mapping 

Face mapping is the belief that acne on your skin is connected to malaise in an organ area. For example, acne on the chin means hormonal acne or dehydration.  Acne on the cheeks may mean allergies, digestion and nutrition issues, upper lip is from constipation or spicy foods, etc.

Traditional Chinese face mapping is an ancient technique used to heal your skin and body. Depending on the location of your pimple, it can give you a deeper look into what's going on in your system.

Your acne could be related to digestive, hormonal, heart, liver, or lung issues. Though it sounds sort of crazy and mysterious, there is the truth that our exterior body is connected to our internal body. In a way our face can be considered a mirror that shows off what's going on inside of us.

Tired from the night before? You'll probably have bags under your eyes. Traditional Chinese medicine understands that our bodies are complex, with everything affecting one another, from the inside out.

If one thing is off-balance, you may experience a sort of domino effect and see the physical results show up somewhere else. There is a belief in one basic principle: everything in the body is interconnected.
They use several different philosophies to support this idea, including  Yin and Yang,  the Five Elements, and the  Meridian Channels. These concepts are what standard western medicine usually disregards, and may not even mention or consider that diet, stress, or hormones could be connected to our skin, health, and overall well-being.

Acne Face Mapping 


Let's take a closer look at the specific regions of the face and what they're trying to tell you about what's going on inside your body!  

Forehead Acne 

  • Bladder and Intestines
  • Digestion
  • Gut health
  • Poor diet
  • Small intestine issues
  • Toxin Build up
  • Irregular sleep schedule
  • Stress/worry
  • "Pomade" acne- from hair care products or bangs

Acne on the forehead is a huge sign of an imbalance in your digestive system.  If your forehead is red and puffy, you may be eating too much sugary foods or the foods might be too rich.

Try cleaning up your diet, adding more greens, doing a detox juice cleanse, and make sure you're going to the bathroom regularly!

If you feel like your gut health is to blame try implementing probiotics, drinking kombucha, and supplementing with digestive enzymes. Make sure you're also getting enough sleep and not stressing out, as these two things can also trigger poor gut health.

For some people, if they're   lactose intolerant, their forehead can start breaking out.  So the three solutions if you are breaking out on your forehead is to one, drink less soda. Two, eat less sugary foods. And three is to stop drinking dairy.

Also if you have bangs, the oil in your bangs might actually cause acne on your forehead. So make sure to wash those bangs and keep them conditioned if the bangs are brushing up and irritating your skin. Use hair products that are safer for the skin; or tie your hair back and keep it away from your face.

Additionally, try to have a regular sleeping schedule where you sleep early and wake up early.

Acne Between the brows

  • Liver and Stomach
  • Food allergies
  • Fatty Foods
  • Liver
  • Alcohol and smoking

Acne between the brows is said to be connected to your liver. If you're continuously breaking out in this region try avoiding alcohol or smoking. Acne here indicates the need to reduce dairy, alcohol and fatty foods in your diet. So the solution is to avoid smoking, to eat light and avoid rich, fatty foods and to also avoid late night snacks.

It can also be due to a high fat or problematic diet (even good fats). If you're seeing tiny irritation bumps you could be allergic to a food you're eating.

You might also develop  redness, flakiness or excess oil between the eyebrows. This can indicate stressed liver or allergies.

Acne On Ears and temples

  • Kidneys
  • Dehydration
  • Stress
  • Excess oil production
  • Poor lymphatic circulation

Acne on the temples can occur for several different reasons but it's mainly said to be due to a poor lymphatic system. Make sure you are draining your lymphatic system regularly by drinking water, exercising, and giving yourself lymphatic draining massages!

Acne Under the eyes

  • Kidneys, Liver, Digestion
  • Lack of sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Rubbing your eyes
  • Not properly removing makeup

If you have puffiness underneath your eyes or if they're blue, you're actually depleting your liver and kidneys by eating too much rich and fatty food. This also applies if the inner corner of the eyes has a sunken, dark blue color to it.

If your ears are redder than your facial skin, then you're overworking your adrenal gland.

So anything along with the eyes really points to  signs of dehydration. So that means you're not drinking enough water, or you may be consuming too much salt. 

While it's important to keep your hands off your face, this is especially true when it comes to the eye area. Constantly rubbing your eyes are significant reasons for acne under the eyes. Make sure that you're getting plenty of sleep, drinking enough water, and removing your eye makeup completely every night! 

Acne On Nose

  • Heart
  • Blood pressure
  • Poor circulation
  • Constipation/Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Salt intake

Surprisingly, the nose is thought to be connected to the heart. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have heart issues but it could be a sign of poor circulation as well as high or low blood pressure. It could also be due to over-consumption of foods high in sodium, too spicy, or too oily. Lastly, face washes clogging your pores.

Acne on the nose could also be related to indigestion or constipated, again try taking digestive enzymes and see if this helps your body properly break down and absorb food. Try eating lighter foods, such as fruits and vegetables; refrain from consuming foods that have too many spices, soups high in sodium, and fast food.

Find a face wash that is non-comedogenic to prevent clogging your pores. Exfoliate at least once a week. 

 Breakouts along this part of your face may also represent a vitamin B deficiency, so you may consider getting your Vitamin B levels tested by your doctor. 


Acne By Mouth

  • Hormones and Intestines
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Ovulation
  • Reproductive Organs
  • Irregular Bowels (constipation)
  • Spicy or hot food

Acne around the mouth is very connected to hormonal imbalances so try to eat naturally hormone balancing foods like coconut oil and avocado. You can also add certain adaptogens like maca or ashwagandha to help resolve this issue!

Try laying off the spicy or hot foods, as these can actually raise the temperature around your mouth and create a breeding ground for bacteria. Instead try more cooling foods like cucumber, broccoli, or zucchini.

Acne On Cheeks

  • Liver, Lungs and respiratory system
  • Right Cheek
  • Allergies
  • Stomach Problems
  • Too much Sugar
  • Stress
  • Dirty cell phone or pillow case / Dirty products touching your face
  • Hormones
  • Using harmful products on your face

So if you have problem skin around your cheek, a lot of this is caused by dirty pillowcases and pore-clogging   makeup. Also, a lot of times if you hold your phone next to your cheek, your phone actually might be harboring that bacteria. So make sure to clean your phone regularly.

Your cheeks are linked to your lungs, so if you are smoking and you develop bad skin around your cheeks, it is best advised to stop smoking and you shouldn't be smoking anyway because it's really bad for you. Get some fresh air and do breathing exercises. Take Omega-3s to help regulate your hormones.

Right cheek 

primarily has to do with external and internal allergies. Take a look at your skincare products and make sure you aren't using any irritating chemicals. With your diet look out for sugar, gluten, corn, and dairy as these are the main food groups that present the most common allergies.

And of course, make sure to wash your pillowcase, bed covers or towels. Wash your makeup brushes and sponges and keep your cell phone clean. Use hypoallergenic/skin-sensitive products, such as detergents, makeup, cleansers.

Dust allergies are common and if you have a dust allergy, they love breeding on fabric like pillow covers, and sheets so you may want to wash them weekly in hot water to kill off dust mites.




Left Cheek

  • Overeating
  • Malabsorption of nutrients
  • Stress
  • Stomach Problems
  • Poor air quality/ pollution
The left cheek has mainly to do with the stomach. If you have stomach problems, hold your stress in your stomach, or are overeating you may experience acne flare ups here. The left cheek is connected to gut health and malabsorption of nutrients so make sure you supplement with probiotics, digestive enzymes, collagen, and fiber.
You can even add L-glutamine into your supplement regime if you feel the malabsorption of nutrients is due to a leaky gut! Poor air quality can be an underlying factor as well so try to implement an air filter into your home to deal with excess pollution or dust, especially if you have pets!

For smokers, acne breakouts are actually common near the temples. On the left cheek, if you develop these problems, you should not overeat and you should try to decrease the amount of junk food that you eat. Try to decompress and relax.

The liver is strongest from 1:00 to 3:00 AM to make sure you're sleeping during that time. The liver is weakest from 1:00 to 5:00 PM so schedule difficult work in the morning. Practice proper hygiene, especially if you live in a polluted city.

Check laundry detergents for any irritating ingredients. Change the pillowcases if you sleep frequently on your face or your stomach.

So lower left cheek acne can also symbolize poor gums and teeth. So make sure you're brushing regularly, going to the dentist regularly, and flossing.

Chin and Jawline

  • Stomach, Kidney, and Reproductive Organs
  • Greasy food
  • Dehydration
  • Hormones

The chin and jawline is most notoriously known for hormonal acne. If you have breakouts on the sides of your chin, this may symbolize that you're going through that time of the month.

Although that pimple around that time of the month might be unavoidable, try supporting your system with chaste tea or maca. As usual, be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid overly greasy food. Massage the abdomen region of the body.

The chin is actually linked to the stomach and it is related to eating greasy foods. The solution to helping the chin is to increase your fiber and reduce the toxin overload and also drink  herbal teas to help with digestion.

Having acne in this area could also be related to stress. De-stress through physical activities such as exercise or meditation or through other means, such as listening to music, reading a book, writing a story 

If you want something more proven to help control acne breakouts, you can try ingredients that contain glycolic acid like this natural pumpkin enzyme masque.

Does Face Mapping Work for Acne?

As we all are well aware, there's a million causes for acne and these face charts are more of a general guideline, it's not a one size fits all approach. If you're using the wrong makeup or skincare that doesn't fit the chemistry of your skin, using irritating body products, or living in a polluted climate, those could be huge external causations other than the internal reasons listed on face charts.

I've found it to be a combination between the two, what you're putting on your skin is equally as important as what goes into your body.

That being said, I think they're on to some pretty interesting stuff when it comes to the skin being a window into the body.

For example, I breakout on my cheeks and most of the causes listed are cell phones, pillow cases, low nutrient absorption, and lung issues. I can totally pinpoint my breakouts and relate to the cause. For me it's my cheeks, and a low absorption of nutrients I assume.

I have experienced some slight IBS problems over the past few years too. When you're going that frequently your body doesn’t have enough time to properly digest food, leaving you deficient in micronutrients.

Luckily, supplementing probiotics, bone broth, more greens, and digestive enzymes has really helped this problem (and in turn helped my skin).

These aren't definite answers but should be seen more as guidelines. Acne face mapping is a great technique to learn more about your body's overall inner workings and how that translates directly to your skin.  

If you liked this article you can also watch my Ultimate Guide on Face Mapping for Acne video here:


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