What Your Acne Is Trying to Tell You About Your Health

There is a plethora of products out there aimed as banishing breakouts. But getting rid of acne isn’t always as easy as using a killer spot treatment or changing up your skincare regimen. Sometimes, acne is caused by an internal problem and will only clear up after that problem is fixed. The best example of this is stubborn hormonal acne; however, there are actually quite a few internal health issues that can manifest themselves as blemishes.

According to some alternative medicine practices, where your acne shows up can give you important clues about your internal health. The practice, called “face mapping,” examines the location of skin diseases on the face to diagnose internal diseases.

“It is based on Ayurveda practices and ancient Chinese medicine, and its principles have started to be integrated into some Western medical practices,” explained Dr. Michael Shapiro, board-certified dermatologist and Medical Director and Founder of Vanguard Dermatology.

Here, Dr. Shapiro maps out what eight acne hot zones could be trying to tell you about your health. Keep in mind, having a pimple or two in one of these areas doesn’t automatically mean you have a serious health issue, But if you have chronic acne that you can’t squash no matter how hard you try, it might be worth asking your doctor to look into a potential internal link.
What Your Acne Is Trying to Tell You About Your Health

  • Forehead: Poor digestion due to toxins and lack of water.The solution is to drink water to flush out these toxins,” Shapiro explained. Drink water throughout the day and avoid fizzy and caffeinated drinks as much as possible. Cozying up to a big mug of green tea may be helpful, too, since it’s packed with antioxidants that neutralize toxins.
  • T-zone:Your nose is linked to the liver (alcoholics and those with liver damage from causes like cancer sometimes develop a red nose), so acne here could potentially signify liver dysfunction.
  • Around the eyes: “The skin in this area is connected to the health of the kidneys,” Shapiro says. Conditions like dark under-eye circles may signify that the kidneys are malfunctioning or that you’re dehydrated.
  • Upper cheeks: The tops of the cheeks are linked to the lungs. Inhaling air pollution can contribute to this. Externally though, bacteria on the surface of your cell phone or sleeping on a dirty pillowcase can be big culprits.
  • Lower cheeks: Poor dental hygiene. “Problems in the mouth, especially those involving the gums, will be visible here,” Shapiro says. Regularly brushing, flossing and avoiding sugary foods and drinks will improve oral hygiene and blemishes associated with it.
  • Nose: Your nose is also linked to your heart. “Swelling or bulbous changes of the nose signify high blood pressure,” notes Shapiro. To remedy this, diet modification is key. Avoid energy drinks, reduce salt intake and eat more fruits and veggies to promote heart health and low blood pressure.
  • Ears: The ears are also associated with the kidneys—breaking out here may signal dehydration. Make sure to drink more water throughout the day, and avoid consuming excess salt.
  • Chin: Linked to the small intestine. Again, diet changes can make a huge difference. “One should stay away from dairy products and oily meals,” Shapiro said. Adopt healthier eating habits, specifically ones that include more fruits and vegetables, to keep digestion running smoothly and nixing related skin problems.

READ MORE: Ask A Scientist: Is Wearing Makeup At The Gym Bad For Your Skin

READ MORE: Find Out What Foods Are Making You Break Out

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  • Cheryln Kurz

    Whenever I have ice cream, I develop acne around my chin. I think the excess hormones in milk nowadays contribute to that.

    • Gloria Zhu

      Same! I had a ton of ice cream yesterday (after not having ice cream for at least 6 months), and I immediately started breaking out this morning.

  • agustincards14

    this is grade A bullshit bc I am one of the few people I know with no cavities who flosses every day and brushes tongue etc yet most of my breakouts are on my lower cheek *cough *bs get rid of this.

    • Wanda

      It’s not bs. When was the last time you saw your dentist? You probably don’t take enough care into making sure you don’t have plaque buildup. *cough* grow up.

      • Jonathan

        It is BS. Solution to all acne? Drink water. Lots of water. As a sufferer of acne, now into my mid thirties, the only cure had been drinking lots of water, and staying away from all sugary drinks. Every time I do it my face clears up 100%.

        Of course, I like Redbulls and love beer, so some vices are hard to deny.

        1.5 liters or more of water, daily for a month. Face clears right up.

        • Aaric Pelc

          Bull lol, I only drink water and green tea and plenty of water a day and still break out.

          • Jonathan

            You probably eat sugary foods also. I naturally stay away from sweets. The only sugars I eat, for the most part, are from alcoholic beverages and soda. I know for a fact my acne comes and goes based off how much sugar I eat vs how much water i drink. It’s never failed me.

          • Aaric Pelc

            I don’t think so, I don’t really care for sweets that much. I do drink juice as well but only when I drink alcohol. Which is always clear vodka.

          • s_l_d

            Well juice is basically pure sugar. And alcohol damages the liver and kidneys, which links back to acne. If you have toxins that aren’t properly being expelled by your liver you’ll have buildup on your face. You need to regularly detox your body, and should be drinking 2 liters of water per day, more than that if you have sugar and alcohol added into the mix.

      • Aj

        it is bs because i just went to the dentist and they said i have no problems with my teeth or gums. Also i brush my teeth, floss, and even use mouthwash. I still get lower cheek acne. *cough* your an idiot.

  • Britney Bennett

    Okay, but about if I’m vegan and I absolutely stay hydrated and stay away from sugary drinks? I only eat fruits, veggies, and whole grains. My dental area may explain why I have acne on my lower cheeks, but not for my forehead, nose, and chin. Help needed. Please.

    • Jon Thompson

      Grains remove the grains and acne will clear. Try it for 2 weeks.

    • My Last Account Got Deleted

      it may be due to factors like:
      your soap has too high/low of a pH level
      you touch your face a lot/don’t cleanse thoroughly
      if you are a teen, it could be because of puberty/sebum build-up
      you use incorrect treatments for your skin(like slathering lemon juice on your face, or over-exfoliating)
      and more.

  • Kezia

    its funny cuz this was totally correct for me i have acne on my chin and it says to stay away from diary well i havent eaten dairy for 4 months but today i had a PBJ THAT HAD FRICKING DAIRY IN IT LIKE WTF and i broke out really bad so anyone that has problems with there chin should cut dairy out

  • Kayla On Fleek

    Lawd, everyone hush eat what u want drink what you want but at least get some water and use a face cleanser damn avoid dairy??…GTFO nigga xD I love me some chocolate 24/7

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