Here's What Those Breakouts on Your Face Really Mean

Experts break down your breakouts.

Person with clear complexion face mapping
Photo: Leandro Crespi/Stocksy

Breakouts are unwelcome anywhere, but have you ever wondered why, no matter what you do, you keep getting a pimple in the exact same spot? It turns out those stubborn zits might be your body trying to send you a signal. According to the concept of face mapping, breakouts on each part of the face all have different underlying causes.

"Face mapping is an Ayurvedic [an ancient Indian system of natural healing] tradition where each zone of the face is an outward reflection of an internal organ system," explains Dr. Jessica Weiser of New York Dermatology Group. "We now use face mapping to associate where on the face acne occurs with what is going on inside the body."

Holistic aesthetician Monica Watters of Sacred Touch Holistic Skin and Body Care says that while face mapping is commonly used to identify the source of acne, it can also be used for other skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, melasma, perioral dermatitis (facial rash), and more,

So, why should you care about face mapping? "It is helpful to map breakouts because each part of the face has a different association," says Dr. Weiser. Keeping an eye on where on your face you get pimples the most often is a good practice because although breakouts can vary depending on internal processes, the actual facial area where these breakouts happen is always associated with the same organ systems.

Below, Dr. Wesier and Watters break down the various parts of the face, and what your acne may be trying to tell you.

Face Mapping Chart
Mariya Ivankovitser


This area is directly correlated to the digestive system and bladder. "Breakouts here may mean that an individual may need to hydrate and clean up their diet by drinking purified or spring water and eating more fruits and vegetables," says Watters. "Breakouts in this area may also indicate a food allergy or a Candida [fungus caused by yeast] overgrowth in the gut."

Forehead breakouts can also be associated with stress and anxiety.

Above The Eyes

A breakout in this area can be a result of anxiety or stress, or too much caffeine and other stimulants. "Generally, I see more of an eczema type breakout here usually triggered by adrenal stress," says Watters.

In-Between The Eyes

Watters calls this the "wine and dine" area. Acne in this area can be caused by eating a lot of heavy foods, possible low lactose tolerance, and late-night eating.


If you're experiencing breakouts around your T-zone, Dr. Weiser says that this area is closely linked to puberty and stress. Other issues that may be to blame: The forehead is also related to liver and digestive troubles.


The nose is linked to the stomach and the heart. "Blemishes here can indicate digestive system inflammation, food intolerances, low hydrochloric acid in the stomach [important for controlling bacteria and digestion aid], and/or underactive liver function," explains Watters.

These breakouts can also be caused by inflammation in the stomach lining, acid reflux affecting the lower esophagus, or inflammation at the back of the throat caused by drinking hard alcohol.


This area of the face corresponds to the kidneys. Acne here may signal allergies, poor lymph flow, kidney stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, or the result of using makeup or makeup remover with comedogenic ingredients.


Since pimples on your cheeks are often the result of poor skin hygiene and excessive oil and debris, you should make some healthy changes to your routine to see if the condition improves. However, Watters says that pimples on the upper cheeks correspond to the lungs, and the gums and teeth correspond to the lower cheeks.

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Breakouts here are related to fiery emotions like anger, frustration, and rage.


More often than not, chin breakouts are hormonal and linked to women's menstrual cycles, but Dr. Weiser says they've also been linked to imbalances in the colon (large intestine).

"Acne here may indicate a build-up of toxins in the colon or bumps or cysts associated with estrogenic toxins and testosterone imbalance or from toxins absorbed by the colon of an individual is constipated," adds Watters.


Like your chin, acne around your jawline is also menstrual-related and sometimes is a sign of an issue in the large intestine. "Generally, bumps or cystic acne here is caused by estrogenic toxins and testosterone imbalance," says Watters. "It's also related to a sluggish lymphatic system."

While face mapping can be a handy guide, if your breakouts concern you, it's best to visit a doctor to find out the underlying cause.

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