Despite the overwhelming oasis of skin-care products out there, most of us can agree that blemishes can’t merely be wiped away with a wicked cleanser or killer spot treatment—no matter how convincing the commercial’s claim may be. Although most of us will simply attribute acne to clogged pores or hormonal imbalances without a second thought, blemishes in certain areas can actually indicate underlying health problems that will only clear up once the problem is resolved.
The alternative medicine practice of examining the location of acne on the face to diagnose health issues is known as face mapping, and it dates back thousands of years to the days of ancient Chinese medicine. Although the technicalities of the method have evolved over time, the core foundation remains the same: by studying where your breakouts lie, you can discover potential health issues inside your body, thus finding a way to nix both the internal and external situation.
We’ve teamed up with Dr. Roshini Raj, certified gastroenterologist and co-founder of TULA, to map out what popular acne zones could be trying to tell you about your health. Keep in mind that face mapping is definitely not an exact science, so don’t assume that having a pimple or two in one of these areas indicates a serious health issue. Still, if chronic acne frequently appears in the same area with no sign of budging, you might want to consider consulting your doctor to examine something beyond Proactiv.
“There are lots of causes to acne, and many people don’t realize that internal factors—from how much you sleep to the air you breathe—can affect your complexion,” says Raj. “Great skin comes from taking care of both what you put on your skin and how you take care of your body.”