Your body has it’s own ways to communicate to you when something’s wrong. Sometimes you feel it in your gut, hence the term gut feeling. Other times we experience pains in our joints or muscles. And sometimes, according to ancient Chinese practices, imbalances in the body appear as blemishes or discolourations on your face, making face mapping, a handy tool for understanding your stubborn acne.
I find it incredibly wild how your face acts as an actual window into what is going on inside of your body!
I challenge you today to spend some quality time with your reflection. Use the following face map and guide to examine your skin tone, hydration, quality, and appearance, and try and make some connections with what may be happening inside your body.
Afterall, acne is your body’s way of telling you that a deeper imbalance is happening inside the body.
This is a very important step, as once you have a sense of whether or not your acne is due to allergies (appears on the cheeks), or is due to liver congestion (between the eyes), or is purely hormonal (on your jaw line), you have a starting point for taking corrective action that addresses the root of your blemishes.
What to look for on your facial map
Forehead: Small Intestines & Bladder
Things to look for: Changes in markings, lines, colour (such as red blood vessels), and acne can indicate a weakness or imbalance in your digestive system or bladder.
What’s going on: Eating foods common within a Standard American Diet, for example, lots of processed foods, simple carbohydrates, poor quality meats and fats, sugar, and too much alcohol and caffeine, can tax your digestive system. These foods are often very challenging for your body to digest, or are devoid of the important nutrients your body, and your digestive systems needs, to produce the digestive enzymes and replenish the tissues.
And these days we are all stressed! Stress, and excessive worry further weaken our ability to digest food. Skipping meals because you just don’t have time to sit down and eat, eating while standing over the kitchen sink or in when driving, or binge watching Netflix on your iPad until 2am can all contribute to pimples and problems on the forehead.
What you can do: Eating plenty of veggies, good quality proteins and fats is imperative to strengthening your digestive system. Ditching or limiting alcohol, and ensuring you drink lots of water is also key. Plus, getting to bed early without the iPad (or any screen), and making an effort to eat in a calm state and really enjoy your meals will have a huge impact.
Mid Brow (Right between the ol’ eyeballs): Liver
Things to look for: Deep lines, caused by furrowing your brow, redness or pimples.
What’s going on: Stress, poor diet and alcohol are your liver’s frenemies. You may feel like you need them in your life, but really, they are not doing your liver any good.
What you can do: Treat yo’ liver right and show it a little love. Oh man, your liver is right up there with the heart and brain for most important organs in the body. This bad-boy of an organ does over 200 different chemical actions in your body to keep you keepin’ on day in and day out, including helping you detox and filter out excess hormones. If you are dealing with hormonal imbalance and hormone induced acne, it’s time to make friends with your liver and show it some love.
A great place to start is by managing stress. Setting aside some valuable YOU time and doing some yoga, or meditation can help calm your nerves and reduce your stress. Don’t have time to hit your yoga mat? Some deep breathing into the bottom of your lungs is also incredibly detoxing and beneficial to your liver. Try breathing out all of the air in your lungs to the count of 4, then hold your breath for 4 seconds, and then slowly inhale for 4 seconds until your lungs are full. Do this 10 times every hour for an easy peasy way to reduce stress!
Eyebrows, Temples & Under the Eyes: Kidneys
Things to look for: Pimples and spots on your eyebrows and temples, or dark circles under the eyes.
What’s going on: A perpetual cycle of bad habits can cause imbalance in your kidneys. For example, late nights, smoking and excessive alcohol intake can lead to insomnia and a DEEP need for coffee. Over time, this taxes the adrenals – two glands that sit on top of your kidneys like little hats, but are powerhouses when it comes to hormone production and control – resulting in adrenal fatigue, and imbalance in the kidneys.
What you can do: Water and sleep are going to be your magic bullets when it comes to resolving imbalances with your kidneys. Ensure you’re drinking plenty of room temperature water every day. Being room temp is key for your water, as cold water can shock the system, and if you’re already stressed this is no bueno. If you struggle with the thought of room temperature water, add a squirt of lemon juice for flavour – your kidneys and your liver will both love you for it!
Sleep is also crucial. The term beauty rest holds some truth! People who get plenty of good quality sleep have that enviable glow about them because they don’t have those unsightly dark circles under their eyes. Some tips for getting good quality sleep: sleep in a pitch black room (get black out curtains, cover up any blue lights from alarm clocks or other electronics) and get to bed before midnight. It’s believed that every hour of sleep before midnight is so much more restorative that it counts as 2 hours of sleep! If you’re like me and appreciate a good bang for your buck, then getting to bed early is a simple and powerful way to support your kidney health!
Tip of Nose: Heart
What to look for: If you get pimples on the tip of your nose that would put Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer out of work, then it’s possible there is an imbalance within your heart meridian.
What’s going on: Don’t freak out, this doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to have a heart attack, but it does mean that your heart organ system, including your circulatory system, may need some extra attention and love to restore balance. Be sure to have your blood pressure checked, and speak to a doctor about ways you can bring it down to normal limits if it happens to be high.
Weakness in your digestive system leading to constipation and sluggish bowels, can also cause discolouration on your nose.
What you can do: Again, diet is key for maintaining a healthy circulatory system. Lots of fiber-rich veggies will keep your bowels happy. Avoiding processed foods and ugly, damaged skin-sabotaging fats will also help. This doesn’t mean avoiding all fats, in fact fats are incredibly good for you, and are important for hormone health. However, if you find yourself eating out a lot at fast food restaurants (even 1-2 times a week), then you are likely ingesting too many of these bad fats that are going to wreak havoc on your circulatory system. The best thing you can do is try your hardest to make your meals at home, where you have the most control over the ingredients and quality of fats in your meals.
Adding in antioxidant-rich foods such as green and matcha teas can be very beneficial, and an easy win for pretty skin. Both have caffeine in them, and can be a nice substitute for your morning coffee.
Upper Cheeks: Stomach & Large Intestine
What to look for: If you wake up and discover some unsightly or painful pimples have popped up on your cheeks, then you may want to look at what you have been eating.
What’s going on: Think back to what you ate the night before, or even a few days prior. If you indulged in too much spicy, deep-fried, fatty or rich foods, and possibly chocolate, then these might be the culprits.
What you can do: Keep a food diary for one week. It’s really easy to forget all the little things you eat in between meals, or how much water you’re really drinking, so keeping a detailed diary to keep track of everything you put in your mouth for one week can help you make connections between foods and recurring pimples. If you start to see patterns or make a connection, I recommend eliminating that food for at least 7 days. This will give your body enough time to have that food completely eliminated from your system. Then you can experiment by adding the food back into your diet, and seeing if the pimples pop up again. If you decide to remove more than one suspect food, then try adding them back in one at a time, but with a 4-day wait period in between.
Lower Cheeks: Lungs
What to look for: Discoloration, blemishes and skin problems. An outbreak of acne, eczema-like dry patches, or slight redness may pop up before getting a cold or other respiratory ailment.
What’s going on: Blemishes in this area can be an indication of inflammation in the respiratory system. This may be due to environmental allergens such as smoke, molds or air pollution.
What you can do: If you’re a smoker, I’m probably not the first to tell you that this is not doing your lungs or skin any favors. One of my biggest recommendations for anyone looking to give life to their respiratory system and lungs is to get into nature. Leave the city smog behind you and get out into the wild amongst the trees, and take some deep breaths. Go for a walk, or even a run, and increase your oxygen intake.
Chin, Jawline & Neck: Hormones & Reproductive System
What to look for: Recurring acne around the chin or mouth, discoloration or dark patches may indicate a hormonal imbalance – most often excess estrogen or testosterone.
What’s going on: So many things can have a direct impact on your hormonal balance, from stress to sluggish bowel movements, and poor diet. Conditions such as adrenal fatigue, PCOS and endometriosis are also commonly linked to hormonal acne and skin discoloration on this part of the face. If you’ve recently come off of the birth control pill, and your hormones are working to rebalance, and you may find yourself breaking out in the days leading up to your period.
What you can do: Diet is key in helping balance hormones. If you’re eating dairy or poor-quality meats, it’s likely you’re consuming extra hormones that are exacerbating this problem. So ditch the dairy, and replace conventionally-raised meats with organic and pasture-raised meats.
Getting lots of water, and fibre-rich veggies will help bulk up your stools and keep you having happy poops! Excess hormones are removed from your body in your poop, so having 1-2 bowel movements every day is a big goal to strive toward.
Face mapping is by no means the be-all-end-all of diagnoses. Many factors such as environment, allergies, hygiene, genetics, clothing, medication and lifestyle all come into play, but it is a great way to get some insight into what may be happening inside your body so that you can take some corrective action and get the pretty, smooth skin of your dreams.
When mapping your own face in the mirror, did anything stand out to you? If so, sign up for my Fresh Face in 5 – FREE email course below and you’ll get easy to implement holistic disciplines sent directly to your inbox to help you on your way to clear, and radiant skin.