The Low Down on Face Mapping

When trying to treat a skin condition, it's important to first find out the underlying cause. That's the only way to figure out how to tackle and treat the condition whether it be acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc. Acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S. On a basic, scientific level, acne happens when our pores become clogged and inflamed. However, there are many different factors that go into what exactly causes acne. Acne can be caused by dead skin cells, bacteria, hormonal changes, environmental changes, and/or genetics. However, some believe that acne goes much deeper than that. Some believe that our acne can tell us a story about what underlying issues may be affecting our bodies. That is where face mapping comes in.


Face mapping is a holistic technique that originates from ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. It's based on the belief that depending on the location of your breakout, you may have an underlying issue in some other part of your body. It's an approach that believes in healing acne from within and figuring out which ailments in your body are causing it. Ayurvedic practitioners usually treat conditions with natural herbs, oils, and lifestyle changes. While this technique isn't backed by doctors or science, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that a few clinical trials have shown Ayurvedic methods are effective. However, there is no real proof for face mapping in particular. Yet, this technique has many advocates. Also, face mapping doesn't only go off acne as signs that your body is dealing with something. Face mapping also pays attention to dark circles, hyperpigmentation, and dullness in the skin. Here are some areas of the face that are discussed in face mapping.


Chin and Jawline

Breakouts in this area can be caused to hormonal issues, the reproductive system, and the endocrine system. Cystic acne around the chin and jawline area is a major sign of hormonal imbalances and/or stress. It's also common to break out in this area during menstruation. Breakouts that occur near mouth specifically can mean digestive issues. While many dermatologists agree that breakouts in this area are hormonal - they usually treat these breakouts with oral birth control pills. However, those who practice Ayurvedic medicine recommend Shatavari root for hormonal issues. Meditation and yoga are also recommended to keep stress levels at bay.



Patchiness, discoloration, and/or breakouts on the cheeks can mean you have digestive issues such as slow metabolism and/or problems absorbing nutrients. According to an article on, acupuncture and Chinese medicine doctor, Daniel Hsu, states that Chinese medicine is big on left and right. If you break out more on the left cheek, your liver may be the culprit. Unfortunately, that means scaling it back a bit on those happy hours drinks. It can also mean underlying respiratory issues. An example of this is when your cheeks get red post-workout. That could be a sign of something as simple as a sinus issue. If you're prone to breakouts on the cheeks, it's also recommended to refrain from smoking. However, most dermatologists will recommend something as simple as changing your pillowcases and wiping down your phone.



Those pesky breakouts that occur on the nose can mean heart and blood issues, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend the Ayurvedic root Arjuna to help the heart. Along with meditation and yoga to reduce stress, it's also recommended to maintain a heart-healthy diet full of healthy fats. Most dermatologists would say face touching and/or overproduction of sebum is the cause of nose breakouts.



The forehead area is connected to the digestive and nervous systems. Excessive anxiety, worry, fear can cause these flare-ups on the forehead. Digestive issues such as irritable bowel and constipation could also manifest as forehead breakouts. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend staying away from foods that cause inflammation such as processed foods. They also recommend trigger massages for the head and neck to release any stagnation in those systems. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, breakouts on the forehead could be due to hair products clogging the pores. Using hair products that are non-comedogenic and oil-free can help reduce breakouts in the area.


Between the brows

Breakouts in this area are connected to the liver. Alcohol, smoking, and rich fatty foods can trigger these types of breakouts. Ayurvedic medicine recommends cutting down on these triggers can help with these breakouts. Herbs such as Punarnava Guggul, milk thistle seed and yellow dock root are said to be liver-supporting. Drinking a lot of water is also suggested. While some dermatologists agree that the liver is linked to breakouts in this area, others believe it comes down to makeup products and over-waxing/tweezing the brows.


While Ayurvedic medicine may not be backed by science, many believe in its benefits. Face mapping may be something worth trying if you feel like you've exhausted all your options for your skin condition. It can also be of benefit if you're interested in treating your skin holistically. However, the NCCIH states that regardless it's important to talk to a conventional health care provider before using Ayurvedic products or starting Ayurvedic techniques.

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