Where on your face is your acne located? Is your acne deep and painful, or is it on the surface of your skin? Can the answers to these questions give you some insight into what is causing your acne?
According to like, a million blogs on the internet, Traditional Chinese Medicine uses a system called ‘face mapping’, which makes a connection between the location of the break-out and the underlying organ imbalance that corresponds with that area.
I actually never learned about face mapping during the four years that I studied Chinese Medicine at Naturopathic College, and although I have seen many facial maps on the internet I was never clear about the source of the face maps or how accurate they were. And so I launched my own investigation.
I spent a recent evening pouring through all my Chinese medicine texts, looking for the definitive face map that clearly delineates what areas of the face are connected to which organs. What I learned is that facial mapping is actually not a common tool of diagnosis in Chinese Medicine. Instead, the ancient Chinese would make their diagnosis based on the colour of the face, rather than the location of the blemishes (ie. a red face indicates excess heat, a pale face indicates deficiency).
BUT – after hours of searching I finally discovered a face map from an ancient Chinese text, called the Su Wen, which describes a facial map. I compared it with several face maps I found on the internet, and considered what I have observed in my own 10-year practice of treating acne, and concluded it was pretty accurate.
Are you ready? This is what your acne is telling you about the state of your internal organs (NOTE – Chinese Medicine describes organs differently than conventional western medicine. For instance, if I say acne in a particular location is related to the health of the heart, this does NOT mean you have heart problems. Read carefully, and don’t panic.):
FOREHEAD: Acne on the forehead is related to the health of the heart in Chinese Medicine (remember, don’t panic). The Chinese believe that the heart contains shen, or spirit, and an imbalance in the heart can be related to mental agitation, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness. If you have acne on your forehead, it may be an indication that you need to calm your mind, reduce anxiety and improve your sleeping habits.
CHEEKS AND BETWEEN EYEBROWS: If you have acne on your cheeks or between your eyebrows, it is likely related to the health of your liver. In Chinese Medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of emotions, energy and blood through the body. Stagnation in the body is often a cause for poor liver function, which can often be related to an increased toxic burden. Acne on the cheeks is often treated with liver herbs that help the liver detoxify the body.
MOUTH AND CHIN: Acne around the mouth and chin is related to the state of your digestion. Constipation is a common cause of acne in this area, and establishing regular bowel movements is an important part of Chinese Medicinal treatment. Other factors that indicate poor digestion include gas, bloating, stomach pains and diarrhea.
JAWLINE: If you have acne along the jawline it is likely related to the kidneys, which is the organ that regulates reproduction in Chinese Medicine. Irregular periods, PCOS, and ovarian function are governed by the kidneys, and any imbalance will be visible on the jawline. In addition, acne in this area tends to be deep, painful and cystic, which indicates a hormonal origin.
EVERYWHERE: If you have acne everywhere, or in multiple locations, remember that the systems of the body are connected, and that one imbalanced system will eventually effect all the other systems. Reclaiming systemic balance will take a bit longer, but it is possible. Remember that the body wants to be in balance, it just needs the correct tools!
This is a pretty simple, yet accurate, description of how facial mapping can be used to give you a clue of what may be causing your acne. And, of course, finding and treating the root cause of your acne is the key to eliminating it for good!
If you prefer to watch my video, it is posted below!