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Face mapping: What are your spots telling you?

Face Mapping: What your spots mean On the surface, acne is the result of clogged pores attracting bacteria, but did you know that spots which occur on different parts of your face can have completely separate causes? Learn to listen to acne-prone skin by reading the root causes of spots, blemishes and breakouts from where they appear on your face. What does it mean to face map spots? Face mapping is a roughly 3,000-year-old practice, which originated in China and is based on the idea that your skin – as the body’s largest organ – reflects your inner health and is ‘mapped’ into areas which correspond to different functions of the body. Here’s how to connect a breakout to potential bodily imbalances, what this could mean about your body health, and how to treat and prevent persistent, stubborn spots.

Spots on your forehead


Blemishes and breakouts on your forehead can indicate difficulty in breaking down certain foods, or liver stress.


What can I do?


Digestive issue: Start a food diary to chart the after effects (either the same or next day) of different foods on your skin to pinpoint any problem foods and then discuss with a GP or dietician if there’s any you need to cut out completely. It’s also a good idea to add more raw fruit and vegetables into your diet as they’re far easier for the body to break down than any other food groups.

Liver issue: As the filter for everything in the body, the liver needs to cleanse, rest and rejuvenate when overworked. Herbal teas, cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, kale, choi, and essentially all the leafy greens), beetroot, garlic, turmeric and citrus fruits, are all fabulous for flushing out toxins. As is drinking enough water; it gives you clearer skin and dehydration can manifest itself as white bumps under the skin on your forehead.

Take extra care if you have a fringe too. In an interview for The Skin Edit, Dr Tabi Leslie, a dermatologist with a special interest in acne, told us, “it depends on skin type, but on the whole if you want to prevent the clogging of pores causing whiteheads and blackheads then you obviously need to avoid oily products on your face”. Oily compounds can also be in gels, conditioners and hairsprays, so check your hair products before buying.



Spots on your nose


The nose is a key area for clogged pores and blackheads, so keeping skin cleansed twice daily with a gel-based product is always a great start. But linked to the lungs and heart, nose acne can also be a sign of respiratory and cardiovascular issues.


What can I do?


Lung health: Cutting out smoking, getting fresh air both inside and outside, and engaging in regular exercise are all easy steps to healthier lungs. As is eating more fatty fish, apples, walnuts and broccoli, and drinking plenty of water.

Heart health: This follows a lot of the same advice for strengthening your lungs. Lowering cholesterol is good for your heart, so reducing salt intake, filling up on fibre and opting for olive oil will all help. And cliché or not, when it comes to bringing down your stress levels laughter really is the best medicine, as it releases endorphins which reduce inflammation in the arteries and thus, lowers your blood pressure.



Spots on your cheeks


Bacteria from your phone and make-up applicators, touching your face too much and not changing your pillowcases often enough, are all sneaky culprits in triggering cheek breakouts. Once those are eliminated, a high intake of red meat, sugar and dairy can be contributing factors in cheek spots, as they often slow down your metabolism.

Metabolic rates can vary quite widely from person to person and it is not always an indicator of one person’s health and fitness levels over another’s, but essentially metabolism occurs in every cell and tissue part of the body and is the process of burning energy when in a resting state. Long story short; a slowed down metabolism could mean you’re susceptible to weight gain without necessarily eating more and that you don’t absorb nutrients fast enough.


What can I do?


Boost your metabolism by: eating more spices; getting better/longer/deep sleep at night – when your body’s tired it kickstarts the hunger hormone which will only keep your metabolism from performing well; stand up more during the day if you’re often desk-bound and sedentary; try weight lifting and high-intensity workouts; and drink more cold water.

You don’t necessarily need to cut out red meat, dairy and sugar but lowering your intake and increasing the amount of zinc, iron and selenium-rich foods in your diet like lean protein, shellfish, wholegrains, eggs and nuts will certainly rev things up.



Spots on your chin

Breaking out on your chin, or roughly the lower third of your face, is linked to the reproductive system and usually the result of fluctuating hormones. Get checked out by your GP if you think you need treatment but it could be that stress and high cortisol levels are impacting your hormones and causing an imbalance.


What can I do?


Topical treatments are best for flare-ups linked to menstruation and contraception medication, so use products that are anti-inflammatory, zinc rich and gentle on skin. And consult your GP if you’re concerned about hormones affecting your fertility.

Stress and cortisol: Improving diet and sleep are the most obvious and effective steps for nourishing and resting the body to let it recharge and replenish. If switching off is a problem then monitor your daily caffeine intake (hard when you’re tired from lack of sleep, but you’ll thank yourself for breaking the cycle), and find time to engage in mindfulness or meditation practices. Whether this is taking a bath or a class you’ll learn to relax and unwind. And as difficult as it can be, you should limit your exposure to blue light technology i.e phones, laptops and bright lights in the last hour of the evening.



Spots on your jawline or neck

These can often be caused by the makeup, moisturisers, or hair products that you use. Like the chin, it could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance so having your levels checked with a GP and/or lowering your stress levels are a good idea. It can also be triggered by starchy foods and processed sugars.


What can I do?


Be cautious when switching to new make-up, cleansing or hair products if your skin is prone to flare ups and look for non-oil-based products. Try not to touch the area too much and definitely don’t squeeze the spots. In this area they’re usually sore bumps as opposed to the type which can be extracted.

Drinking more water is the ideal strategy for tackling problem spots, wherever they appear on your face. And for the jawline and neck, lowering your intake of high starch and high sugar foods like cereals, bread and pasta for more protein and fruits and veg should help to balance out any flare ups.




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