Face mapping: What is your acne trying to tell you?

acne face mapping
acne face mapping

Breakouts seemingly always seem to crop up at the absolute worst times. It can feel like your skin has turned against you — even though you are feeding it very expensive skincare products. Sometimes, it can feel like it’s entirely outside your control.

There are many elements that go into maintaining healthy skin, but sometimes a flareup can be indicative of an internal health issue or an environmental factor you’re not thinking about.

The process of face mapping has been around for centuries. According to The Face Reader by Patician McCarthy, “Mien Shiang” is a 3,000-year-old Taoist practice of art and science that literally translates to “face reading.” Back then, face mapping was sometimes used as a diagnostic tool to figure out illnesses or mental ailments (today, we’d refer to some of that as stress).

While we’ve certainly advanced in terms of methods for identifying illnesses, face mapping can also apply to figuring out what is causing breakouts in certain areas of your face.

For example, the T-zone. If you grew up reading teen gossip magazines or beauty blogs, you know that the dreaded T-zone section of your face has the most secreting oil glands. It’s made up of your forehead, nose and chin.

“There can be three causes for [breakouts in this area]: Oil, stress and lack of sleep,” In The Know producer Phoebe Zaslov explains in her video on face mapping.

To prevent and treat acne along your T-zone, avoid touching your face — the oil from your hands just adds to what’s already on your face — reduce your stress levels and prioritize your sleep schedule.

If the concept of reducing your stress levels seems impossible, Phoebe recommends taking time out of the day to do deep breathing or at least swapping out that second cup of coffee for a mug of herbal tea.

“Next, we’ll talk about acne on your cheeks. There are a few possible reasons for this, including dirty pillowcases,” Phoebe says. To combat that, she recommends swapping out your pillowcases at least once a week. If laundry is daunting, perhaps buy more than one set of pillowcases to rotate.

What else touches your face a lot? Your cell phone.

“I don’t even want to get into how dirty our cell phones are,” Phoebe says. “Stop taking your phone into the bathroom. It might be good to get into the habit of washing your phone each night.”

For those who deal with breakouts around the hairline, it might come as no surprise that it could be your hair products causing it.

“When you use products in your hair that are thick, oil-based products, it might block up your pores,” Phoebe says.

Adding a clarifying shampoo to your weekly hair routine will make a major difference — and it’s a pretty low-lift addition to your shower time.

Finally, another common place to experience breakouts is around the jawline. These breakouts are usually caused by hormonal changes or hormonal imbalances. It can also be related to your diet.

“Test out changes to your diet,” Phoebe says. “[Change] one thing at a time and see for a week or two if you notice a change.”

Figuring out what’s causing your breakouts is the first step to treating this very, very common — but annoying — condition.

If you liked this story, check out this article about why conditions like skin picking and hair pulling need to be part of the mental health conversation too.

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