Published on June 06, 2024

Acne Face Mapping: Identifying the Cause of Your Breakouts

Acne Face Mapping: Identifying the Cause of Your Breakouts

Acne Face Map: Causes of Breakouts

The ancient practice of linking the location of the acne on your face to underlying health issues, acne face mapping offers you a new way of identifying what may be causing your breakouts and how to treat them much more effectively.

In this article, we will look at face mapping acne and describe how the skin on each part of your face relates to health concerns and causes of acne, as well as some simple skin tips to get through it.

“Acne is common, so it seems like it should be easy to treat,” says dermatologist Abby Gould, MD, “but so many factors play into it, including genetics, hormones and the natural flora, or healthy bacteria, of your skin.”

What Is Face Mapping?

Face mapping is based on the ancient principles of traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. It analyzes the particular parts of the face where acne occurs and how it indicates what goes wrong inside the body concerning organs or other bodily systems. [1] The principle is that our skin is our outward reflection of what’s going on inside, and a breakout in a particular area means a specific imbalance or problem in the body.

For example, the forehead might be connected to acne due to digestive issues, and the cheeks could be linked to respiratory problems.

acne face map

Different Face Breakouts: What Does Each Location Reveal?

Understanding the location of your breakouts can provide clues about their underlying causes. Here’s a breakdown of what acne in different areas of your face might indicate.


The T-zone, which includes the forehead, nose, and chin, is prone to acne due to its high concentration of oil glands. Excess oil production and clogged pores from makeup or dirt often lead to breakouts in this area. Hormonal changes, stress, and diet can also impact the T-zone.

To manage acne in this area, use oil-free skincare products, cleanse your face daily, and consider incorporating the products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to keep pores clear. [2]

Forehead Acne

According to Chinese face mapping acne theories, breakouts on the forehead are often linked to digestive issues and stress. Oils from your hair and certain hair products can transfer to your forehead, causing acne.

To help clear up forehead acne: manage stress, focus on a balanced diet, and ensure you’re cleansing your skin properly to remove any product buildup.

Chin Acne or Jawline Acne

Acne occurring in the vicinity of the chin or jawline is usually considered the result of hormonal imbalances. This area is part of the endocrine system; flare-ups in this area are expected before the menstrual period, during pregnancy, or with PCOS. [3] Research has found that 39–85% of women with acne had breakouts that increased before their menstruation. [4]

This type of acne can be controlled by managing stress, maintaining regular and healthy sleep, and hormone treatment under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Near the Edges of Face

Hormonal imbalances, together with external causes like hair products, dirty pillowcases, or phone screens, can cause breakouts around the peripheral areas of the face.

Other preventive methods against acne in these areas are using non-comedogenic hair products, cleaning your pillowcases now and then and keeping your phone screen clean.


Acne on the cheek might have something to do with respiratory problems and environmental causes, such as pollution and allergens. It is not unusual that this part is mostly affected by the quality of air in your surroundings. Also, touching your face frequently, using dirty makeup brushes, or sleeping on dirty pillowcases can lead to breakouts on your cheeks. [5]

To improve cheek acne: Avoid touching your face. Clean makeup tools often. Apply an air purifier for indoor pollutant control.

What Causes Acne?

Here are some common causes of acne:

  • Hormonal Imbalances: Hormones like androgens play a significant role in acne development, especially during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. [6]
  • Stress: It can often cause hormonal changes that trigger acne. When stressed, your body produces increased cortisol, increasing oil production and inflammation, leading to breakouts. [7]
  • Poor Skincare Habits: Using harsh skincare products, not cleansing your face properly, or over-exfoliating can irritate the skin and lead to acne.
  • Genetics: Your genetic makeup can significantly influence your likelihood of developing acne. If your parents had acne, you might also be more prone to it.
  • Environmental Factors: Humidity, pollution, and exposure to certain chemicals can clog the pores and irritate the skin, contributing to acne.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as steroids or lithium, can cause acne as a side effect. [8]

Effective Acne Treatment Strategies

Here are some effective acne treatment options to consider:


Effective acne treatment and prevention can be done with proper cleansing, which helps remove dirt, oil, and impurities from the skin that may clog the pores and produce breakouts.

Use a mild, non-comedogenic face wash twice daily to achieve the necessary level of cleanliness without stripping essential oils. Avoid using harsh soap that will irritate your skin.

Add exfoliation to your regimen once or twice per week with a salicylic acid or glycolic acid product to clear away dulling skin cells and prevent pores from getting clogged.

Natural Remedies

Using natural remedies may be a pleasant and gentle way of dealing with acne for people aiming to avoid harsh chemicals.

  • Aloe Vera: It has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that help ease skin irritation and healing.
  • Tea Tree Oil: This contains antibacterial properties, which would help minimize mounting acne-causing bacteria.

Prescription Acne Treatments

In either of the two cases—severe or persistent acne—treatment with a prescription can be very effective. Let’s now take an in-depth look at some of the options available for prescription medication:

Topical Treatments

These fight bacteria, inflammation, and excess oil, common causes of acne. They are available over the counter or by prescription:

  • Salicylic Acid: It helps in breaking up dead skin cells and cleaning out the pores.
  • Antibiotics: These are used to treat inflammatory and more severe forms of acne to reduce bacteria. They help to fight off inflammation. Antibiotics can be either topical or oral.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Unblocks pores and dries out acne, but it can react with other topical treatments.
  • Retinoids: Help cellular turnover and work better as long-term maintenance than a short-term spot solution. Available in both prescription and over-the-counter strengths. [9]

Hormonal Treatments

Hormonal contraception, such as combined oral contraceptive pills, can be effective at controlling acne. [10] It decreases the hormones that trigger sebum production, which leads to acne.


This drug is usually not the first line of treatment for acne. It is the drug of choice for severe acne, taken over 4 to 5 months but with variable durations of its use. It can have serious side effects; therefore, it’s crucial to discuss them with a doctor and take the medication under ongoing medical supervision.

Lasers and Light Therapy Acne Treatment

Advanced treatments can effectively reduce acne and improve skin appearance, often recommended by dermatologists alongside other treatments like prescription medicines.

  • Light Therapy: It targets acne-causing bacteria on the skin and reduces breakouts with minimal side effects.
  • Laser Therapy: Reduces oil production, kills acne-causing bacteria, and promotes skin healing. Different types of lasers are used based on acne severity levels. While these treatments offer long-lasting results, follow-up sessions may be necessary.
  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT): Combines light therapy with a photosensitizing agent to target severe acne, shrinking oil glands, and reducing inflammation.

Effective Acne Prevention Tips

Here are some effective acne preventive tips:

  • Wash your face once a day with a gentle cleanser to maintain skin cleanliness. [11]
  • Exfoliate gently once or twice a week to avoid skin irritation.
  • Clean your makeup brushes frequently to prevent bacterial buildup.
  • Avoid touching your face to prevent worsening of acne and hyperpigmentation.
  • Stick with one acne treatment for a few weeks before trying another to allow improvement time.
  • Use foaming cleansers instead of lotion cleansers for better oil and dirt removal.
  • Shampoo your hair regularly, especially if it’s oily, to prevent oil transfer to your skin.
  • Apply sunscreen before going outdoors to protect against UV rays.
  1. “Acne Face Mapping Can Reveal the True Cause of Your Breakouts.” Health,
  2. “Are Your Hair Care Products Causing Breakouts?”,
  3. “Validate User.”,
  4. “Acne Face Map: Causes of Breakouts.”, 7 Aug. 2019,
  5. “What Acne Spots on Your Face Mean, according to Science.” Healthline, 25 Aug. 2017,
  6. “Acne: Signs and Symptoms.”, 2020,
  7. “Adult Acne.”,
  8. Kazandjieva , Jana . Drug-Induced Acne.
  9. “Acne Face Map: The Cause of These Breakouts.” Cleveland Clinic,
  10. Koo, Eubee Baughn, et al. “Meta-Analysis Comparing Efficacy of Antibiotics versus Oral Contraceptives in Acne Vulgaris.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, vol. 71, no. 3, 1 Sept. 2014, pp. 450–459,,
  11. “Acne: Tips for Managing.”, Accessed 5 June 2024


Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

  • Breakouts can be triggered by hormonal changes, greasy cosmetic products, certain medications, heavy sweating, and frequently touching or rubbing the skin.
  • Jawline acne is often caused by increased androgen levels, which can boost oil production and clog pores.
  • Acne face mapping links breakouts in specific areas (forehead, nose, cheeks, chin) to factors like hormones, diet, stress, and internal organ health.
  • Acne is most severe during the teenage years, particularly between ages 14 and 19, due to peak hormonal changes.
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