What the pimples on each part of the body are trying to tell you

Despite the overwhelming oasis of skin care products, most of us can agree that blemishes can’t just be wiped away with a cleanser—no matter how convincing the marketing claim may be.

Although most of us will simply attribute acne to clogged pores or hormonal imbalances without a second thought, blemishes in certain areas can actually indicate underlying health issues that will only clear up once the problem is resolved. The alternative medicine practice of examining the location of pimples on the face to diagnose health issues is known as facial cartography, and it dates back thousands of years to ancient Chinese medicine.

Although the techniques of the method have evolved over time, the essence remains the same: by studying where your acne is, you can discover potential health issues within your body, thus finding a way to balance the internal and external situation. external.

Of course, sometimes there’s no way to avoid acne no matter what you do, which is why you need to learn how to properly treat all the different types of acne. Keep in mind that facial mapping is definitely not an exact science, so don’t assume that having a pimple or two in one of these areas indicates a serious health issue. Still, if chronic breakouts occur frequently in the same area, you may want to consider seeing your doctor to look into something beyond Proactiv.

“There are many causes of acne, and many people don’t realize that internal factors—from how you sleep to the air you breathe—can affect your face,” says Raj. “Great skin comes from taking care of what you put on your skin and how you take care of your body.”


Digestive problems and stress are often the main causes of pimples on your forehead. To help flush out toxins and aid in digestion, replace caffeinated and highly processed drinks with water.

According to Raj, “sleeping at least seven hours a night, drinking plenty of water and following a balanced diet can help reduce acne on your forehead. It can be caused by major factors that affect skin health: try to keep hats and hair off the forehead area so that friction and hair products like conditioner don’t clog your pores. ”


Acne near the tops of the cheeks is linked to the respiratory system, so if you’re often walking around town or driving with your windows open, you’ll want to take extra care to clean your face.

“Clean air in the house can help: get an air purifier or some plants that clean the air. You may not realize it, but a lot of things come into contact with your cheeks every day, so cleaning things up around you can help reduce cheek acne,” says Raj.

Lower throat acne usually indicates poor dental hygiene, but surface bacteria is also a big culprit. Make sure you frequently clean items that come into contact with your face on a consistent basis, ie. your mobile phone, makeup brushes and pillows.


The T-zone refers to the area from the middle of the eyebrows to the nose and chin. Acne here is often triggered by gastrointestinal imbalances or food allergens.

“Some experts recommend reducing your consumption of dairy, red meat and fast food and eating more leafy vegetables to improve your T-zone color,” says Raj.

“There are also more oil glands in the skin of the T-zone than the rest of the face, which makes the area more likely to break out. Be sure to cleanse and use skin care that works to unclog pores. “Pimples on your nose are specifically related to the liver and kidneys, so a red nose or pesky pimples could mean high blood pressure or liver dysfunction. Try shortening those happy hours after work by consuming extra spicy foods.

Chin acne points to the biggest cause of acne we know all too well: hormonal imbalance. Raj recommends, “Try a regular sleep schedule and healthy diet, but if you continue to have chin acne, consult your dermatologist and gynecologist and see if birth control or spironolactone can help.”

Drinking sage tea and taking Omega-3 supplements are good options to try to tame the capricious hormones. Also, make sure you’re not resting your chin on your hands or touching your skin too much.

Back, arms and thighs

Hormonal fluctuations and genetics are often the main cause of acne on the back, arms and thighs, so controlling acne here can be especially tricky. Additionally, fabric wet from sweat rubbing against the skin can irritate and generate cracks.

According to Raj, “Reduce pressure from carrying a backpack or other bag, which can cause friction that causes breakouts. Wear clean and not too tight clothes. Check gels and soaps, body lotions, laundry detergents, and sunscreen for pore-clogging ingredients like natural oils. Cotton clothes should always be inspected for seams that may cause irritation, as well as hidden embroidery or labels. If acne still remains, consider changing the fiber; cotton can actually absorb irritating chemicals from its production and cause irritation in people with sensitive skin. Acne on the legs and arms is often confused with follicular rash, so contact a doctor if the problem persists.

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