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.

        • Andrew Novotny

          *cough* Just because something doesn’t apply 100% of the time doesn’t make it bullshit. *cough* Even in medicine, or in any science for that matter, you’re going to have a really *cough* damn hard time finding any absolutes ever, *cough* and anecdotal evidence isn’t enough to prove or disprove anything, ever. *cough* Also, you’re an idiot.

        • Red Hood

          Same sort of situation here. Except flipped. I haven’t brushed my teeth in years (don’t tell me I should be, I’m aware of it) and I’ve had exactly zero breakouts on my lower cheeks.

    • Julie Kang

      i don’t think it’s bs. acne on the cheeks are also caused by hormonal imbalances

  • 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

  • Lin

    I stumbled across a full cellular -100 herb delicious drink cleanse that cleanses out every cell in your body- rids toxins in every cell- ppl have noticed a difference in my skin- its always glowing.— it is not bs- what you put in your body will show up on the outside- very simple–if you put junk in- your face will break-out—–when I changed my diet ppl noticed and said my skin is beautiful- I use dense nutrition that can not be found in stores here in America….and yes I still eat stuff here from Restaurants and grocery stores but stay away from certain ingredients…. I do a certain shake a day with natural greens-in powder form), I cleanse every once in a while and use skin care I can basically eat(but would not) it is plant based natural… contact me for details 917-375-0036 text or call… Linda

  • http://www.gurl.com/2015/03/20/unspoken-girl-code-rules-every-girl-needs-to-follow-askreddit/ Sepia

    …sooo, I don’t really drink much water. at all. I still rarely (if ever) get pimples but when I do its in all the spots that signify dehydration…also when I stand up i get really dizzy and black spots cloud my vision…I’ve broken dishes because of this…also my throat constantly hurts and I’m constantly clearing my throat, to the point of scratching my throat raw

    as I’m writing down my symptoms I have come to realize…I don’t remember the last time I drank water….

  • Vinishavinny

    I’ve always had an uneven complexion. My cheeks, nose, chin were always red compared to the rest of my face and I rarely ever have a clear acne free face.I used dermalmd blemish serum in high school and it worked amazing but I forgot how amazing until I reordered it after maybe 5 years. I’ve only been using it 3 days now and by day one my face wasn’t red and free of acne. I had maybe one or two blemishes before using this serum. It does amazing things.

  • Stacy Hirsh

    I break out on my chin every month and it is hormonal. this article is bogus!