Face Mapping Can Help You Understand the Cause of Your Breakouts


In my teens and early 20s, I was desperately searching for ANY solution to my furious acne — and testing everything from expensive tech lights to oil cleansing (both failed me). Nothing worked for me, and the more money I shelled out on each new “solution,” the more depressed, anxious, and self-critical I felt. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t “fix” these breakouts?

Enter face mapping, a holistic way of understanding the cause of your acne, based on where your breakouts occur. Per Ayurvedic tradition (a medical system that originated in India over 3,000 years ago), different places on the body can reveal things about our inner health and wellness. Face mapping extrapolates this practice onto your breakouts — using specific areas of your face to highlight different internal problems that may be causing those pimples. This method actually had a HUGE impact on my acne, because it gave me what no other solution ever did — a reason for why the zits were happening in the first place. Knowing these reasons allowed me to tailor the products I bought, my diet, and even supplements to specific breakout-causing problems.

I still break out here and there (usually on my period with a few zits on my chin or in my t-zone — in line with what face mapping tells us), but I feel so much more in control of what happens on my face now. And that’s a beautiful feeling. SO, if you’re interested in face mapping, below is a breakdown of common root causes for breakouts based on the different areas of your face.


If you’re breaking out on your… Chin & Neck

Potential Causes: 

  • Hormones — think period breakouts
  • Kidney imbalance
  • Candida and yeast overgrowth
  • Over-touching — i.e., resting your chin in your hand frequently, etc.

Prevention / Treatment: 

  • Birth control pills may help regulate your hormones — talk to your doctor or gynecologist to see if this is a good option for you.
  • Treat area with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or natural tea tree oil
  • Wash hands frequently and try to keep them away from your face, especially for prolonged periods
  • Try cutting out triggering foods like processed sugar, dairy, alcohol, and fried foods. Also be wary of certain healthy foods that might be linked to breakouts like broccoli, shellfish, or dried fruit
  • Drink lots of water — try drinking half your body weight in ounces each day
  • Cut back on caffeine and salt
Hydration Burst Dual Action Cleanser
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The Body Shop
Tea Tree Oil
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Sunday Riley
Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask
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Adina Grigore
Skin Cleanse
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If you’re breaking out on your… T-Zone

Potential Causes: 

  • Puberty (what a barrel of laughs, amiright)
  • Stress
  • Diet
  • Poor circulation
  • Digestive system — constipation, bloating, gastrointestinal imbalance

Prevention / Treatment:

  • Drink water!
  • Cut back on processed foods and foods high in trans fats or salt
  • Try facial massage
  • Practice meditation or deep breathing techniques to alleviate stress
  • Be conscious about your sleep — try to get as much rest as your body needs
  • Eat more omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon or rich, leafy greens like spinach. Or add an omega-3 supplement to your daily routine
  • Try adding more cardio to your exercise routine — walking, running, biking, elliptical, etc.
  • If you wear glasses, be sure to clean your lenses every night with an antibacterial cloth to prevent dirt and residue from clogging your pores
Jade Facial Roller
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Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate with Hyaluronic Acid
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Acne Pimple Patch

editor favorite

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Sports Research
Collagen Peptides
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Jolene Hart
Eat Pretty
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If you’re breaking out on your… Cheeks

Potential Causes: 

  • Over-touching
  • Cell phone screen
  • Pillowcase/blankets/towels
  • Smoking

Prevention / Treatment:

  • Wash hands frequently and try to keep from over-touching your face or resting your face in your hands for prolonged periods of time
  • Keep antibacterial wipes in your purse for easy cleansing
  • Wipe down your cell phone every day and use speaker phone when you can to avoid pressing the screen against your cheeks for prolonged periods of time
  • Change out your pillowcase weekly and consider specially-designed pillowcases for breakouts (nifty and useful!)
  • Wash towels, blankets, and sheets frequently — anything that comes in contact with your face!
Pure Silk Pillowcase
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Skin Laundry
Sleepcycle Pillowcase
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Mario Badescu
Drying Lotion
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Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask
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If you’re breaking out on your… Ears

Potential Causes: 

  • Kidneys

Prevention / Treatment:

  • Drink LOTS of water — seriously, water is the literal elixir of life
  • Cut out caffeine and salt
HUM Nutrition
Daily Cleanse
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Source: Fashion Agony


If you’re breaking out on your… Chest / Back

Potential Causes: 

  • Friction from t-shirts or sports bras
  • Blankets and towels
  • Pore clogging lotions or creams

Prevention / Treatment:

  • After working out, use an antibacterial wipe to cleanse chest and back area and prevent bacteria from remaining in close contact with your skin for prolonged periods of time. Also, be wary of lounging around in sweaty exercise clothes.
  • Wash towels and blankets frequently
  • Avoid using heavy lotions on chest and back and treat areas with acne washes
Cellup All-In-One Liquid Soap
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Paula's Choice
Skin Balancing Cleanser
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Are you interested in face mapping? What have you learned about your own breakouts?