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Face mapping and your health

Face mapping is rapidly taking center stage at spas and clinics, and combines ancient Chinese medicine and clinical dermatological procedures.

Chinese face mapping or ‘Mien Shiang’ means reading the face. Chinese medicine practitioners believe that when your skin starts acting up, it indicates that something else is not going well inside you. Whatever these imbalances are, they will show up on your face.

Although western medical practitioners hold that there is little truth to face mapping, frequent acne episodes shouldn’t be ignored. “There are no medical studies to link facial mapping with specific breakout areas, but there may be factors you are overlooking,” says dermatologist Dr. Brian Russell.

Factors that can play a role in breakouts include diet, hormones and genetics. It’s also important to examine your lifestyle and consider these factors before assuming that your breakouts are linked to something else.

Acupuncturist Angela Zhang says, “Your face is a mirror of your health. Your body has a map and your face is part of the map. Each of these organs is an open window in the face. The eyes are the window of the liver, the nose is the window into the lungs and the ears are the window of the kidney. When illness starts, the energy will not flow smoothly, so features on the face, including shapes and colors, will also change.”

According to Chinese medicine doctor, Dr. Wang Zheng Hu, the location of acne on your face can indicate their underlying cause. Think of your blemishes like “Xs” that mark those spots as warning signs of your health:


Go to bed by 10 p.m. and get up by 6 a.m. Even if you can’t fall asleep, it’s good to relax to allow your liver to rest.

Drink plenty of water, especially in the morning, to flush out toxins. Taper off the water about an hour before you go to bed to help prevent water retention.

Drink less soda and other carbonated beverages and alcohol.

Get 20-30 minutes of light exercise every day, preferably outdoors.

Practice relaxation techniques to help you worry less.

Eat healthy foods, chewing thoroughly to improve your digestion.

Reduce refined sugar in your diet.

Keep a daily food journal to see if your acne is related to certain foods.

Practice better hygiene, washing face/hands, etc.

Check to see if shampoos, conditioners and other hair products are irritating skin.


This area of your face is connected to your bladder and digestive system. If your forehead is red or puffy, you may be eating too much rich or sugary foods. Other factors may include too much stress or an irregular sleep schedule. Drinking green tea can be helpful because it can help to cleanse your system.

Area between your eyes

This part of your face is linked to the liver and to the heart. Acne here may indicated the need to reduce alcohol, dairy and fatty foods in your diet. You can also ease problems in this part of your face by getting 30 minutes a day of light exercise and a good night’s sleep.

Around your eyes/ears

If you have been working extra hours, drinking too much coffee and juggling too many commitments, it is going to show up in this area. If the half moon-shaped area under the eye is puffy and blue, you are depleting your liver or kidneys by eating too much rich food. And if your ears are redder than your facial skin, you are overworking your adrenal glands. This also applies if the inner corner of the eyes have a sunken, dark blue look to it. Russell said that such a sign can also indicate a problem with allergies.


Breakouts in this area can also be caused by dirt and oil from cell phone use or sleeping on your side. Your cheeks are also linked to your lungs, so breakouts on either side of your face can be related to smoking. “Acne breakouts near the temples occur in smokers,” Russell says. “Smoking reduces the collagen in the skin, causing premature wrinkles.” Also consider cutting back on sugar, eating more green vegetables and going outdoors more often.


Oriental medicine experts suggest that breakouts in this part of your face may result from high blood pressure, poor diet or constipation. To avoid breakouts here, use makeup labeled “noncomedogenic” meaning that it won’t clog your pores. Besides better makeup, decrease your intake of meat and spicy foods.


This zone of the face is linked to the stomach and eating greasy or heavy foods.

Sides of the chin

Many women experience breakouts in this region of the face around the time of their monthly cycle. Hormones do play a role in your skin, but a hormonal imbalance or stress can cause breakouts anywhere on your face.

“Stress is a contributing factor, so if you can avoid it, it will help your skin, ” Russell says. Getting enough water and green leafy vegetables can also help with skin problems in this part of the face, he said.


This area is connected to the stomach or colon. Russell also said that students may experience breakouts along the jaw-line from resting their chin on their hand while studying.


These tips are not meant to replace a doctor’s advice. For best results, consult a naturopathic doctor, licensed dietician, nutritionist, Chinese medicine practitioner or a dermatologist.