WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Welcome to Sozo!
How can I help you?

Acne Face Map: Understanding the Causes of Breakout

before and after acne treatment

Acne, an unwelcome guest on our skin, often pops up uninvited, leaving us wondering about its root cause. Have you ever noticed that your spots tend to appear in the same area or that certain zones on your face are more prone to breakouts? Traditional Chinese medicine explains the concept of an ‘acne face map’. This perspective suggests that the location of acne on your face could indicate the health of specific internal body areas. 

In this article, Dr Justin Boey, medical director of Sozo Aesthetic Clinic, will delve into acne face map, helping you know what your skin might tell you and guiding you towards potential lifestyle adjustments for clearer, healthier skin.

What is Acne Face Mapping?

Acne face mapping, often called ‘face reading’, is grounded in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. This practice links different areas of the face to certain internal systems or organs in the body. Under this framework, acne, spots, or blemishes in specific zones of the face can signal potential underlying health issues. For instance, breakouts on your forehead might be associated with digestive system problems or irregular sleep patterns.

On the other hand, acne appearing on your cheeks could highlight issues with your respiratory system or even suggest high-stress levels. This diagnostic tool thus assists in identifying the root cause of acne, nudging you towards appropriate lifestyle modifications or medical interventions, if needed.

However, it’s important to note that acne face mapping should not replace medical advice. It’s a complementary approach that offers interesting insight into potential health concerns mirrored on the face.

The Origins of Acne Face Mapping

Acne face mapping has its roots steeped in ancient wisdom, particularly in two longstanding systems of medicine: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda. Although developed independently of each other, these systems share a common belief in the interconnectedness of the body and its systems.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, face mapping is known as ‘Mien Shiang’, which translates to ‘reading the face’. This discipline considers the face a reflection of the body’s internal health, and practitioners meticulously observe facial zones for signs such as spots, discolouration, or textural changes, which they believe correspond to specific internal organs or systems. 

Similarly, in Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine that dates back more than 5,000 years, face reading or ‘Mukha Abhyanga’ is a common practice. Ayurveda views the body as constituting three ‘doshas’ or forces – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – and any imbalance in these doshas can manifest as skin problems on different face areas. 

Thus, TCM and Ayurveda employ acne face maps and mapping as diagnostic tools to identify and address internal health issues. However, it’s important to remember that these practices originated when modern medical knowledge was limited. While acne face mapping can provide valuable insights into skin health and overall well-being, it should be used alongside, not instead, modern dermatological advice and treatments.

Acne Locations and Their Meanings

Acne Face Mapping

Acne can appear on different areas of the face, and each location can signify a potential underlying health issue. Here are some common locations for acne and their associated meanings according to the concept of acne face mapping:

Forehead Pimple Meaning

Acne on the forehead is often linked to issues with the digestive system, irregular sleep patterns, and stress. Consuming an unhealthy diet, especially one high in processed foods and sugars, can cause disturbances in your gut health, leading to breakouts on the forehead. Moreover, inadequate sleep and high stress levels can disrupt hormonal balance, promoting acne formation. 

To alleviate forehead acne, consider incorporating healthier foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These can help maintain a healthy gut flora and reduce inflammation, significantly affecting your skin’s health. Establish a regular sleep schedule, ensuring you get at least 7-8 hours of rest each night. This gives your body ample time to regenerate, repair, and restore its functions, including those related to skin health. 

Managing stress is also crucial for preventing acne breakouts. Engage in stress-relieving activities such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, or simply taking time out for your hobbies. Remember, skin health is a reflection of overall well-being. Thus, maintaining a balanced lifestyle can help you achieve a clear, radiant complexion.

Adopting a skincare routine that involves cleansing, toning, and moisturising with products suited to your skin type can also help keep your skin free from impurities, reducing the chances of forehead acne. If your acne persists, consult a dermatologist who can provide professional advice and prescribe suitable treatments.

Between the Eyebrows Pimple Meaning

Acne between the eyebrows is often associated with the liver. The liver is our body’s main detoxifying organ. When it’s overburdened due to factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, a high-fat diet, or exposure to environmental toxins, it may not function optimally. This could lead to skin issues like acne between the eyebrows. Stress can also negatively impact liver health and, consequently, skin conditions such as chin acne.

Consider making lifestyle adjustments to help maintain liver health and prevent acne. Reduce your intake of processed foods, saturated fats, and alcohol, as these can strain your liver. Instead, focus on a balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that support liver function and overall health. Regular exercise also aids in detoxification and can alleviate stress, contributing to healthier skin.

Regarding skincare, ensure you keep the area between your eyebrows clean and free from excess oil. Using skincare products designed for your skin type can help manage acne. However, if acne persists, it’s recommended to seek advice from a dermatologist. While acne face mapping can provide interesting insights, it is not a definitive diagnostic tool and should be used with professional medical advice.

Nose Pimple Meaning

Acne on the nose is often associated with heart health in adult acne face mapping. This is because the nose is connected to the cardiovascular system. Fluctuations in blood pressure, especially high blood pressure, can cause breakouts on the nose. Spicy foods and saturated fats, which raise cholesterol levels and impact heart health, can also contribute to nose acne.

To address nose acne, monitoring and maintaining heart health is important. Regular cardiovascular exercise like jogging, cycling, or brisk walking can help manage blood pressure and reduce breakouts. Including heart-healthy foods in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and omega-3-rich foods like fish and walnuts, is beneficial. Limiting spicy and fatty foods can also help manage acne breakouts on the nose. Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol, as they can increase blood pressure, is recommended. If high blood pressure persists, consult a healthcare professional for further treatment options.

For nose skincare, regularly cleanse to remove dirt and excess oil that can clog pores and lead to acne. Use non-comedogenic products suitable for your skin type. If acne continues, seek advice from a dermatologist. Remember, face mapping is helpful but should be complemented with professional medical guidance.

Left Cheek Pimple Meaning

Acne on the left cheek is often linked to respiratory health in acne face mapping. This suggests that lung or respiratory issues cause breakouts in this area. Factors like pollution, smoking, and allergies can affect respiratory health and lead to acne. To improve left cheek acne:

  1. Prioritize respiratory health.

  2. Avoid second-hand smoke, and wear a protective face mask when needed.

  3. Keep your living space well-ventilated and allergen-free.

  4. Exercise regularly to enhance lung function and overall health.

For skincare, cleanse your face regularly to remove impurities and excess oil that can cause acne. Use non-comedogenic products suitable for your skin type. Cleanse your mobile phone and pillowcases regularly to prevent bacteria buildup. If acne persists, consult a dermatologist for professional advice. Remember, acne face mapping is informative but should be used alongside medical advice.

Right Cheek Pimple Meaning

Acne breakouts on the right cheek can be related to stress levels and stomach health, according to acne face mapping. High stress can trigger cortisol production, leading to increased sebum and acne. A poor diet or irregular eating patterns can disrupt gut health, potentially causing right cheek breakouts.

To alleviate right cheek acne, manage stress with physical activity, deep breathing, yoga, and meditation. Support gut health with a balanced diet, including fibre-rich foods, probiotics, and hydration.

For skincare, cleanse the right cheek regularly with suitable products. Be mindful of phone and pillowcase cleanliness as they can harbour acne-causing bacteria. Consult a dermatologist if acne persists. Remember, acne face mapping provides insights but should be used with professional medical advice.

Chin Pimple Meaning

Acne appearing on the chin and around the jawline is often associated with hormonal imbalances, especially in women, according to the principles of acne face mapping. This area of the face is linked to our reproductive system and hormonal activities, and breakouts here can often flare up during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or times of hormonal imbalance such as puberty or menopause.

Maintaining hormonal balance is crucial to managing acne on the chin and jawline. This can be achieved by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques such as yoga or meditation. Limiting the intake of dairy and high-glycemic foods can also help treat acne, as they are known to trigger hormonal fluctuations.

Skincare for this area should involve regular cleansing, exfoliation, and moisturising to ensure the skin is clean, hydrated, and free from dead skin cells, which can clog the pores and worsen acne. Products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or tea tree oil can effectively treat hormonal acne. It’s also advisable to avoid touching your face as much as possible to prevent transferring bacteria.

Around the Mouth Pimple Meaning

Perioral acne around the mouth can be linked to digestive health and food intolerances. This area is connected to the gut, and breakouts may indicate an imbalance. Inflammation from consuming trigger foods can lead to acne. To reduce mouth acne, focus on digestive health. Start by eliminating common allergens like dairy, gluten, and alcohol. A balanced diet with fibre, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains supports gut health, aids digestion, and reduces inflammation. Exercise promotes healthy digestion by stimulating intestinal muscles. Stay hydrated to aid food breakdown and nutrient absorption. Cleanse the mouth area regularly and use non-comedogenic skincare products. If acne persists, consult a dermatologist alongside acne face mapping.

Ear Pimple Meaning

Acne breakouts around the ears are less common, but when they occur, they are often associated with kidney function, per the principles of acne face mapping. This area of oily skin is believed to be linked to the kidneys, suggesting that breakouts might indicate kidney stress, possibly due to dehydration, a high-sodium diet, or other factors that can strain these vital organs.

You must ensure you’re adequately hydrated to alleviate and prevent acne around the ears. Drinking plenty of water supports kidney function and helps flush out toxins from the body, which can contribute to clearer skin. Monitoring your intake of high-sodium foods and beverages can also be beneficial, as excessive sodium can stress the kidneys. 

Regular exercise can also support healthy kidney function by maintaining healthy blood pressure and encouraging the body’s natural detoxification processes. Meanwhile, for your skincare routine, remember to extend your cleansing, toning, and moisturising steps to the area around your ears. Using non-comedogenic products suitable for your skin type can help keep pores unclogged and reduce the likelihood of acne breakouts.

If acne around the ears persists, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist. As always, while acne face mapping can provide potential insights, it should be used as a guide with professional medical advice, particularly when health concerns such as kidney function are considered.

Neck Pimple Meaning

Acne on the neck may sometimes indicate that the body is fighting off illness or infection, according to the principles of acne face mapping. The neck area is believed to be linked to our immune system, treating acne and breakouts in this region could be a sign of the body’s response to infection or stress. These breakouts may also be exacerbated if you’re not getting enough sleep or your body is under chronic stress, which can negatively affect your immune system’s optimal functioning.

To manage and prevent acne on the neck, it’s important to maintain a balanced lifestyle that supports a healthy immune system. This includes regular sleep, managing stress levels, maintaining a balanced diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins, and regularly exercising. Adequate hydration can also support the immune system and maintain skin health.

As for skincare, it’s also essential to extend your skincare routine to your neck area. Regularly cleanse and moisturise the neck using products suitable for your skin type. Exfoliation can also be beneficial in removing dead skin cells and preventing pore-clogging. Choose non-comedogenic products designed not to block pores, and always apply sunscreen when exposing your neck to the sun.

If neck acne persists or is accompanied by other symptoms of illness or infection, it’s advisable to seek professional medical advice. Always remember that while acne face mapping can offer insights, it is not a definitive diagnostic tool and should be used with health professionals’ advice.

Home Remedies and Skin Care

Home remedies and skin care routines are critical in managing and preventing acne. These non-invasive, cost-effective treatments can be easily adopted into your daily routine.

Tea Tree Oil: Known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, it can help reduce the severity of acne breakouts. Before applying, dilute it with a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil to prevent skin irritation.

Honey and Cinnamon Mask: Both honey and cinnamon are excellent sources of antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Mixing these two into a face mask can reduce acne and keep the skin fresh.

Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera gel can treat burns, rashes, and, most importantly, acne due to its healing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Green Tea: Applying green tea to the skin has significantly reduced sebum, oil production, and inflammation, thus helping with acne.

In terms of skincare routines, it is important to establish a consistent regimen. Here’s a basic routine that can help tackle acne:


  • Cleanse your face with a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser.

  • Apply an acne-fighting toner with salicylic acid or witch hazel.

  • Use a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturiser.

  • Finish with sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.


  • Remove makeup with a gentle makeup remover.

  • Cleanse your face, as in the morning.

  • Apply an acne treatment product with ingredients such as retinoids or benzoyl peroxide.

  • Finish with a non-comedogenic moisturiser.

Seek Professional Guidance

While home remedies and skin care routines can provide relief and assist in managing acne, it’s crucial to remember that they are not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Persistent or severe acne, or acne accompanied by other symptoms, should be treated by a medical professional. 

One trusted provider is Sozo Aesthetic Clinic, a renowned medical clinic specialising in acne treatments. The experienced doctors at Sozo Aesthetic Clinic provide a holistic approach to acne treatment, employing advanced technology and personalised treatment plans. 

If you’re troubled by persistent acne, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Sozo Aesthetic Clinic. Professional help can make a significant difference in the health and appearance of your skin. Remember, acne face mapping and home remedies can supplement your skincare routine, but professional medical advice should always be sought for persistent or severe skin conditions.


Acne face mapping is an interesting concept that can provide potential insights into the root causes of acne breakouts. By understanding the underlying factors linked to different areas of the face and neck, we can make more informed decisions regarding managing and preventing acne.

However, it’s crucial to rely on something other than this practice and always seek professional medical advice for persistent or severe acne. By maintaining a balanced lifestyle, adopting home remedies and a consistent skincare routine, and seeking guidance from reputable medical professionals like Sozo Aesthetic Clinic, we can effectively manage acne and achieve healthy, glowing skin. 


Medical Director

After graduating from the National University of Singapore, Dr Boey’s journey in aesthetics brought him to esteemed institutions such as Harvard Medical School, American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine and Queen Mary University of London in diverse cities like Seoul, London, Boston and New York.