Face mapping is an ancient technique used to identify the cause of acne based on where it appears on the face. Pimples on the face often crop up in the same spot repeatedly, possibly indicating a common trigger. Face mapping helps in identifying these triggers based on where acne occurs. However, because of everyday exposure to several potential triggers and excessive hormonal changes, face mapping may not always accurately pinpoint the underlying problem. But it can make us aware of potential causes, thus setting us on the path to healing.
Here are 5 regions of the face that may be plagued by acne and their underlying causes as per face mapping.
1. Acne Along The Hairline
Acne along the hairline is most common in people who use hair products with harmful chemicals frequently.1 Some hair products that stay in the hair longer can leak and form deposits on the hairline and forehead. Coupled with the sebum (the oily substance that lubricates skin) that is already present on the face, they can irritate the skin and block pores, causing an acne outbreak.
2. Acne On The Forehead
Face mapping suggests that forehead acne may be linked to digestive issues and that correcting these issues can help reduce acne.2 Acne on the forehead or between eyebrows may point to a digestive issue either caused by inflammation, a possible food allergy, consuming alcohol, or late-night snacking. You may experience indigestion and irregular stool passage apart from acne.
3. Acne On The Forehead And Nose (T-Zone)
According to face mapping, acne that occurs on your forehead and nose – often referred to as the T-zone – could be due to excess sebum production. This is likely because your T-zone is home to more oil glands than the rest of your face. When more sebum than necessary is produced to keep the skin healthy and protect it from damage, more pores are blocked, resulting in flare-ups.
4. Acne On The Cheeks
Acne on your cheeks might be an indicator of increased exposure to bacteria and pollutants. This could happen if you touch your face excessively, move around all day exposed to pollutants and bacteria, hold your phone to your face while taking calls, or sleep with your cheeks on a pillowcase that hasn’t been washed for a while.
Observe if such activities are causing breakouts on your cheeks. If they are, then all you need to do is nip the problem in the bud.
- Avoid touching your face unnecessarily, especially with unwashed hands.
- Wear a pollution mask to reduce exposure to pollutants.
- Keep cleaning your phone whenever possible with a disinfectant cloth.
- Change and wash your pillowcases often.
You might notice the acne on your cheeks flaring up when your intake of sugary foods increases. In such instances, ditch those foods and eat healthily.
5. Acne On The Chin And Jawline
Many girls and young women experience flaring up of acne either as part of the premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or right when their period is due. Face mapping suggests that such a flare-up is the result of hormonal imbalance during that time of the month and is usually seen on the chin and jawline.4 If you experience this type of acne, it might continue well into adulthood. However, it is likely to fade soon after the cycle ends, so don’t take the forceps to it!
However, if the acne on your chin and jawline just won’t come under control and is accompanied by excessive hair growth, it could mean that you’re suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This condition can cause and worsen acne alongside other issues like weight gain and irregular menstrual periods.5 If you experience severe acne with these symptoms, see your OB-GYN at the earliest.
So the next time you notice an acne flare-up, you’ll know what the possible cause is and how to treat it at home.
|↑1||Plewig, Gerd, James E. Fulton, and Albert M. Kligman. “Pomade acne.” Archives of dermatology 101, no. 5 (1970): 580-584.|
|↑2||Bhatia, Tasneem. Super Woman Rx: Discover the Secrets to Lasting Health, Your Perfect Weight, Energy, and Passion with Dr. Taz’s Power Type Plans. Rodale, 2017.|
|↑3||Foods that fight inflammation. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑4||Stolla, Steven, Alan R. Shalita, Guy F. Webster, Richard Kaplan, Sid Danesh, and Alyson Penstein. “The effect of the menstrual cycle on acne.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 45, no. 6 (2001): 957-960.|
|↑5||Archer, Johanna S., and R. Jeffrey Chang. “Hirsutism and acne in polycystic ovary syndrome.” Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology 18, no. 5 (2004): 737-754.|