Ugggh!   The dreaded pimple(s)!  Why does acne always show up at the worst time?  You may feel like you are caring for your skin in all the right ways yet low and behold, BAM, a nasty pimple!  Maybe a breakout occurs right before a first date, a dance, a romantic getaway or before a presentation you have to do for work?  You get the idea.  If you pay attention to when and where a breakout shows up, you can understand the deeper underlying issue inside your body.  Where a problem or breakout shows up on your face corresponds to an organ/area inside of your body.  Eating certain types of food can trigger acne.  Fluctuations in hormones, toxicity build up, as well as infection can all play a part in this puzzle.  It's time to become your own skin detective and solve the problem of how to prevent and what to do when a breakout occurs.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this theory is called "face mapping".

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Let's take a look at what your face is telling you: 

FOREHEAD - This area can be associated with digestive imbalance.  It could mean that your body is having a difficult time breaking down different types of food.  There could be issues with the small intestine.  If there is a build up of toxicity in the body, this could be pointing to the liver (you can refer to my previous post which is all about detoxifying the liver and the foods that support cleansing this system here).  If you are not getting enough sleep and/or you are under stress, it can show up here as well.  You could take a digestive enzyme in capsule form or try one tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar about 30 minutes before a meal.  Strive to get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.  If you suspect, you might have a build up of toxins, you could consider a liver cleanse.  You could also eat salads with dandelion greens because dandelion is an excellent liver detoxifier.  When you wake up in the morning,  drink a glass of warm water with one to two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and a couple dashes of cayenne pepper. This is a great cleanse/tonic because it helps to flush the toxins from your body and get your digestive system functioning well for the day.

BETWEEN THE BROWS - It could be an issue with a weak heart.  Eating too much dairy and greasy and fatty foods or too much alcohol can show up here.  What were you up to yesterday?  Try to get enough sleep at night.  It is also important to consider incorporating more exercise into your weekly routine.

TEMPLES - Breakouts here could be a sign of sluggish lymphatic circulation.  Try eating Burdock Root, which is a great lymph mover that will support the immune system.  Try to cut back on unhealthy fats.  This area also represents the gallbladder.  Make sure to limit your intake of processed foods.  You could eat more cooling foods such as dill and cucumbers.

NOSE - This could show that there are some gastrointestinal issues resulting in a poor diet.  You could also be experiencing bloating, constipation and indigestion.  Add fennel to your salads as it helps dispel gas.  If you have peeling skin around your nose, it could indicate poor blood circulation.  Adding turmeric and ginger to your meals are also good because they are both circulatory stimulants.  You could massage the area around your nose to increase circulation to that area.  Try eating foods that are warm (not too hot and not too cold).  Get more vitamin B into your diet.  Eat less meat, salt and pungent foods.  Get outside and take a walk.  Try to get more fresh air each day.

CHEEKS - This can be a result of environmental toxins.   The left cheek shows trouble with the liver.  Try to eat more "cooling foods" such as cucumber, dill or winter melon.  The right cheek is associated with the lungs.  This might show up if you are having trouble with your respiratory system in the form of allergies.  This area might also indicate you have consumed too much sugar recently.  Are you aware of how much sugar you are consuming?  No, I mean REALLY aware?  How much sugar is in your favorite organic yogurt, or your non-dairy milk, salad dressing, even your crackers?  You do need to be conscious of exactly how many grams of sugar you consume each day.  However, if you had birthday cake or cookies, etc. the day before, it might not be such a mystery.  Make sure to always wash your skin before you go to bed at night.  Try to include foods high in antioxidants to your diet, such as red grapes, berries, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, nuts and wild caught fish such as salmon.

MOUTH AREA - This could be a result of diet.  The area around your mouth is related to the digestive organs such as your intestines.  Try to incorporate more vegetables, fruits and fiber.  Cut back on fried and spicy foods.

CHIN - This area represents your hormones.  Is it your time of the month?  If your hormones are out of balance, you can bet it's going to show up on your chin.  Are you under more stress than usual?  Make sure you are getting enough rest at night.  Try increasing your intake of omega-3.  Foods that can support hormone balance are rosemary, legumes (they contain isoflavones, which help balance hormones), garlic and onions (they contain sulfur which is good for processing hormones), cruciferous vegetables and foods high in selenium and zinc such as pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms and wild caught salmon.  Sea vegetables are also good because they contain iodine, which is good for the thyroid.  Make sure you are getting enough magnesium in your diet, which helps with relaxation.

The different types of breakouts are also something to be informed about.  Here's what I mean:

CLOGGED PORES AND BLACKHEADS - You could have dry skin in the area they are showing up.  This could be an indication of liver toxicity or congestion/stagnation.  Give a liver juice cleanse a try with foods that support the liver for 2-3 days and see if there is an improvement.

CYSTIC ACNE - Those swollen bumps that sit below the surface of the skin and take weeks to heal.  It doesn't matter if your skin is oily or dry.  It most likely is a result of hormone fluctuation.  Your digestive system could also be struggling.  You could incorporate probiotic rich foods/fermented foods a few times a week into your diet (Kimchi or any other fermented vegetable, yogurt or kefir).

ACNE THAT SHOWS UP FREQUENTLY - This could be either whiteheads or blackheads and are usually small.  This could be from an ingredient in a product you are using that you are sensitive to.  Try to limit the amount of products you use and switch to products with natural ingredients.  You could even try a DIY skin cream so you can control the ingredients.

ACNE THAT SHOWS UP HERE AND THERE - This can happen when you feel like you are using good quality skin care products, eating healthy and then there it is out of no where.  This can be a result of stress.  Perhaps this is your body's wake up call to slow down and press pause.  You could try meditating for five minutes each morning, or taking a gentle yoga class.  One of the best things you can do to reduce stress is to give yourself twenty minutes each day for some form of self-care (a warm bath, dry skin brushing, warm towel scrub at night, massage, etc.).  You really need to put this in your calendar and make sure you do it.  You may be surprised how your outlook on life and all that is going on in your life improves.

Try keeping a journal each day with what you eat and how it affects the way you feel and what shows up on your skin.  This is a great way to help decode the problem.  Make sure you are getting enough water for your body type each day.  Staying hydrated is really important to luminous skin.

Your skin really is the window to what is going on inside your body.  If you are interested in learning more about what your skin is trying to tell you, contact me at 614-620-7420. 

Abby Mason