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Article: Face Mapping - What is Your Acne Breakout Trying to Tell You?

Face Mapping - What is Your Acne Breakout Trying to Tell You?

Face Mapping - What is Your Acne Breakout Trying to Tell You?

Could your acne breakouts be linked to an internal health issue? What has your skin been trying to tell you?

People have been trying to figure out the root cause of their acne for thousands of years. 

The ancient Chinese held a belief that skin is a reflection of your inner health and mapped out areas on the face where certain ailments would show up as skin conditions. Since then, many interpretations of face mapping have been created. 

We will be comparing traditional face mapping versus modern dermatology to help you gain a well-rounded perspective and uncover the mysteries of your acne triggers.

We spoke to Graceanne Svendsen, LE, CME Licensed Esthetician from Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue in NYC, who includes a holistic approach in her practice for information on this controversial topic.


"Face mapping is an ancient technique in many cultures that gives us clues and information about the health and wellness of key organs in the body. Ancient cultures like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Indian have their own modes of assessment through face mapping," explained Graceanne.

Traditional Eastern Face Mapping Guide


Taoist Monks began using Mien Shiang (face mapping) to determine illnesses of the body, mind, or spirit. Graceanne continues, "In Asian cultures, the focus is primarily on reflexology points on the face (and the ears). Herbalist and Acupuncturists also look at tongue health, hair, skin, and nails as an indicator of the main functions of the body, with a keen focus on digestion."


Graceanne explains that "Similarly to TCM which has cupping, GuaSha, body GuaSha scraping, and Acupuncture, the herbal poultice is Ayurveda. As the sister science to Yoga, Ayurveda focuses primarily on digestion and breathing as a means of health and wellness." 

Ayurvedic skincare helps clients understand their body-mind type to bring balance into his or her own life. According to the Ayurvedic school of thought, there are about 21 marma points on the face. Marma is translated as "vital energy point", the places on the skin where energy and matter come together, where the mind and body communicate. 

So is traditional face mapping a true science? 
In Graceanne's opinion, "it truly depends on the "school of thought" or modality you follow. With my patients at our practice, I follow TCM and Facial Reflexology acupressure points which have their roots in the Vietnamese culture. Overall, I do incorporate a lot of Ayurvedic theory into my practice as it relates to seasons, digestive health, and skin typing for the doshas."
Modern Acne Face Mapping guide
The modern approach to face mapping focuses on the scientific causes of acne breakouts. The acne face map shows areas that are affected not only by internal health but also by environmental factors such as bacteria from our phones and pillows. 


Here is a rundown of what is observed by ancient Eastern medicines versus the modern approach. 

Ancient Medicine: The forehead is linked to the digestive system and stress-inducing factors such as poor diet, stress, and lack of sleep.

According to Graceanne, "Since ultimately acne is an inflammatory disease, diet is crucial to help heal. Gut imbalances are usually the cause, putting pressure on the liver to release toxins, even excess hormonal xenoestrogens."

TIP from Graceanne: "Oftentimes, easy supplementation can help like Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), DIM to assist in estrogen metabolism, or even adding cruciferous vegetables into the diet. Minimizing inflammatory foods like dairy and gluten can be a game-changer, as well as refined sugar products."

Modern Approach: Our forehead produces a lot of oil which can in turn cause breakouts. Hair touching your face can also cause pimples. Breakouts on the hairline are often called, "pomade acne" because they are often caused by greasy or oily hair care products.

TIP: Cleanse your hairline often and avoid heavily oiled hair products.


Ancient Medicine: The nose relates to heart health in Eastern medicines. Heart blockages, blood pressure, or cholesterol issues show up as blackheads and pimples. 

Modern Approach:  Since there are more sebaceous glands in our T-Zone, our noses are susceptible to clogged pores that trap bacteria and cause acne. 

TIP: Gently exfoliate a few times a week to prevent clogged pores. Clean your glasses often to avoid acne on the bridge of your nose. 


Ancient Medicine: Cheeks are linked to issues with the lungs. 

Modern Approach: Environmental factors are said to affect the cheek area. Change out your pillowcase once a week, and avoid touching your face throughout the day to avoid bacteria on your skin. 'Acne Cosmetica', getting acne from cosmetic products such as foundation and sunscreen, is also commonly found on the cheeks. 

TIP: Use Oxygenetix Acne Control Foundation as a safe alternative to oily foundations that promote acne. The formula effectively helps unclog pores and maintain clear skin with Salicylic Acid and patented Ceravitae®.


Ancient Medicine: Acne on the chin and jawline is linked to reproductive health and hormones

Modern Medicine: The chin-hormone connection is scientifically backed. One study found that hormonal acne is commonly found on the lower third of the face. 

TIP: "If there is acne on the chin, it usually speaks to a hormonal imbalance or blockage in the intestinal tract or flora. These can be addressed with supplementation, diet and lifestyle change, acupressure with reflexology tool, correct seasonal skincare regimens, and GuaSha (TCM)." See Graceanne's website for more information:

In Conclusion

Figuring out the cause of your acne is the first step in successfully treating this very common condition.

Although there are varying opinions on this subject, one thing remains the same. Studying where your breakouts occur will help you discover what road to take for freedom from acne. 

Your dermatologist is the best resource in figuring out what is causing your acne. To find a dermatologist in your area, go to the American Academy of Dermatology website. 

Closing remarks from our expert, Graceanne Svendsen, "What is so refreshing though is how everyone, all ages, sizes, shades and sexual preferences have risen to understand that beauty is most potent when it comes from the inside AND out!"

Graceanne Svendsen

Graceanne Svendsen LE, CME Licensed Esthetician

Follow Graceanne Svendsen on Youtube and Instagram @therealskinsaviour for skincare tips and skin treatments.

The Skin Saviour

Shafer Plastic Surgery


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