Have you heard of face mapping?
Face mapping is an ancient practice rooted in both Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurveda teaching. It has been used in the holistic community for thousands of years, and is based off the idea of “mapping” out specific areas of the face to explain skin issues with internal bodily problems.
What does science say? As of now, scientific evidence only supports the face mapping claims of breakouts along the chin and jawline being related to hormonal imbalances… but that isn’t to say that there isn’t any truth behind these holistic practices. They’ve been passed down for thousands of years for a reason, and can be helpful in assessing and understanding skin issues.
In this post, we will list what Mien Shiang and Ayurveda teachings have to say about what causes breakouts in different areas of our face. Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, we will leave that decision up to you. However, no matter what you believe, there are common threads amongst all these theories about how we can use our lifestyle and diet decisions to reduce our chances of breaking out!
But first, what is Mien Shiang?
Mien Shiang is a Chinese medical practice that literally translates into “face reading.” It can be traced back to Daoist philosophy, and has been used for over 3,000 years to assess personality type and traits, behavior, and health. Ancient Taoist philosophers use five elements — wood, fire, earth, metal, and water — to help understand relationships between us and the world. If practiced correctly, believers say that the art of Mien Shiang can reveal a person’s character, health, personality, wealth, and longevity, among other things.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurvedic medicine (Ayurveda for short) is a holistic whole-body healing system that dates back to India over 3,000 years, too! It is founded on the idea that a balance between mind, body, and spirit is the key to health. Similar to Mien Shiang, practitioners believe that there are five basic elements in the universe that make up every person — space, air, fire, water, and earth. These elements combine in the human body to form three doshas, or energies, of which everyone has a unique mix. Ayurvedic treatments include an assessment by an Ayurevedic practitioner, who takes into account the patient’s doshas and energy balances, and puts together a specific panchakarma, or cleansing, for the body.
The face mapping system that many use and rely on today often incorporates elements from both Mien Shiang and Ayurveda practices.
Aside from these theories, keeping track of when (what time of month or what external factors like diet or sleep have changed) and where you regularly breakout can help you make informed decisions on how to treat your acne.
According to these theories, you can oftentimes attribute breakouts in specific areas to certain causes. What does my breakout mean according to these theories?
If you breakout on your….
The theory: a stressed-out digestive system (aka your diet)
Eating too much sugar or processed foods? Stressed out? Dehydrated? Any of these factors may be stressing your colon, bladder, or digestive system, which in turn may be affecting your forehead area. Location may also be important: the upper forehead (closer to the hairline) is often associated with the bladder, while the lower forehead (above the brows) is more often linked to the intestines.
When the digestive system is out of whack, toxins that should normally be eliminated from the body can build up in your system, causing forehead acne. Holistic and Western practitioners alike recommend drinking plenty of water to help flush out those toxins, maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in your system by incorporating probiotics into your diet, cutting back on processed foods and intoxicants, and practicing good sleep hygiene and calming practices, such as meditation and yoga.
Between the brows
The theory: an excess of toxins in your liver
Acne between the brows has been linked to the liver — an essential component of your digestive system. The liver is the body’s largest gland, and is responsible for producing chemicals needed for digestion and detoxification, as well as flushing out waste from the air you breathe and food and beverages you consume. Overwhelming the liver with too many unhealthy behaviors can result in breakouts, redness, dryness, or an over-production of oil in between the brows.
Our number one recommendation here? Be strict about having a cleaner diet with less sugar, dairy, and/or alcohol. You’ll want to de-stress your liver as much as possible, and give it a rest from working hard to break down all of the toxins that enter your body. You could also try incorporating liver-friendly supplements, such as garlic and onions, into your diet!
The theory: issues in your heart, lungs, or digestive tract
There can be many reasons for breakouts on your nose, but most theories have to do with issues in the cardiovascular system. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and consuming too many “bad” fats and not enough essential fatty acids may be to blame. High stress levels and emotions such as prolonged grief, depression, and anxiety have been linked to issues in cardiovascular health, and may also help explain a red or broken out nose.
Holistic practitioners recommend avoiding overly fatty and spicy foods (which may negatively “heat up” your system and skin), while increasing your omega-3 and omega-6 fat intakes with fish, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Also, try to squeeze in some more exercise and reduce stress through meditation, massages, or whatever calms you down!
The theory: low absorption of nutrients or slow metabolism
Chinese medicine is very interested in the relationship between the right and the left sides of the body. While Ayurvedic teaching does not really prescribe separate issues for the left and right side of the face, Mien Shiang practitioners often specifically associate the left cheek with the liver and digestive issues. They recommend eating “cooling foods” like melon and cucumber, and generally eating a diet that is anti-inflammatory.
Try loading up on antioxidant and fiber-rich foods, and avoiding excess sugar, refined vegetable oils, and processed meats. Detox that liver, people, otherwise it won’t be able to do it’s role in regulating our blood sugar levels or sugar storage.
The theory: lung issues
Face mapping theories believe that breakouts on the right cheek are associated with respiratory issues. The respiratory system is the group of organs and tissues that takes in oxygen and expels carbon dioxide. The lungs, sinuses, trachea (windpipe), and diaphragm are all part of the respiratory system. This system can become irritated due to allergies, indoor or outdoor air pollution, asthma, smoking, or not getting enough exercise / deep breathing. Take good care of your lungs, and your lungs will take good care of you and your skin!
The chin and jawline
The theory: potentially imbalanced hormones
Eastern and Western practitioners generally agree on this diagnosis. A hormonal imbalance could be the result of eating too many processed foods with hormones added to them, not getting enough exercise, lack of sleep, or your menstrual cycle. Pimples on the chin are usually associated with a build-up of toxins related to hormones.
If you are regularly experiencing breakouts in this area, getting your hormone levels checked by a gynecologist, increasing your intake of omega-3, and reducing stress may all be beneficial treatments. It is also important to rule out any serious health problems that may be causing the imbalance, such as an issue with your thyroid.
Our hormones are affected by our lifestyle choices, even small ones, like heating up food in a plastic container that has harmful chemicals that can eliminate natural hormones in the body. Avoid chemicals in your food, furniture, containers and cooking ware to help avoid an imbalance in your own natural hormones.
And while your hormones may be perfectly balanced most of the time, it is common for your estrogen and progesterone levels to be imbalanced during PMS week. If you’re like me, I usually see one or two (or three…or..) pimples under my mouth around this time of month. To combat this, I take magnesium supplements and add hormone balancing adaptogens like ashwaghanda and maca root to my morning smoothies, especially during PMS week!
We recommend a balance of Eastern and Western medicine, focused on connection of the body and mind, and taking care of your body as a whole entity.
We DO know that there is significant correlation between your day-to-day lifestyle decisions and your breakouts. Many of the theories above are linked to proper digestion, eliminating stress on mind and body, and avoiding excessive drinking or smoking – that is undeniable!
To treat breakouts in certain areas using cocokind, we recommend using our Turmeric Stick (and/or layer the Organic Chlorophyll Mask on top of the Turmeric treatment) and reading my post on how to use our products for different skincare needs. However, like we always say, there is no skincare product that can fix unhealthy lifestyle habits!
Thanks for reading! Comment below if you have any questions!
-The cocokind team