Can face mapping tell you what’s causing your spots?

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • Here's what the location of your spots could tell you about their causes...

    It’s a sad fact of life that we all get spots from time to time. But ever wondered what might be causing you to break out? Enter, face mapping.

    While this is by no means a concrete tool, you can use it to pinpoint what might be causing your spots – rather than just slathering on your best spot treatment and forgetting all about it.

    ‘If we follow the guidelines of reflexology and acupuncture when it comes to face mapping, we can make some assumptions on what might be triggering your acne – however, acne as a whole is an unpredictable and frustrating condition,’ explains Debbie Thomas, celebrity facialist and founder of the D.Thomas clinic. ‘This is very much a guideline, not a definitive diagnostic tool.’

    Without further ado, here’s what your spots could be trying to tell you.

    Face mapping

    Face mapping for spots

    Spots on chin

    Spots on your chin or jawline are generally linked to hormones – although Debbie rightly points out that, in general, all acne is linked to some sort of hormone imbalance.

    ‘One of the most common places to get acne, typically breakouts on the jawline and chin are almost always caused by hormones,’ Daniel continues. ‘Namely testosterone, hormones fluctuate in ways which can change the levels of sebum secretion, and can lead to highly inflamed blemishes.

    ‘Stress makes all inflammatory conditions worse, which includes hormonal acne. Stress initiates the hormone cortisol, and high levels of this can lead to unbalanced hormones and changes in sebum production. This then can lead to the formation of blemishes.

    ‘The skin then acts in defence mode as the automatic immune response exacerbates swelling or redness, as the sebaceous glands are also immune organs that can create inflammation.’

    What do spots on your forehead mean?

    Spots on your forehead may be linked to the digestive system, including your intestines and liver. However, they may also be linked to your product use.

    ‘Breakouts can occur all over the face but can be triggered on the forehead due to other factors linked within our haircare,’ adds Daniel Isaacs, Director of Research at Medik8. ‘Not washing hair and face regularly can leave oily residue on the forehead that can block pores and prompt blemishes. Also hair products such as gels, oils and waxes can be linked to breakouts.’

    What do spots on your cheeks mean?

    The apples of our cheeks are thought to link with the respiratory system, while towards the temples links to the kidneys.

    ‘Spots on our cheeks can be linked to dietary triggers, the result of too much dairy, sugar and meat as well as allergies and pollution,’ says Daniel. ‘But a common cause is also the spread of bacteria from hands, phone cases and pillowcases. Here are some tips:

    1. Wash your bed linen

    ‘When you’re sleeping, blemish-causing bacteria (P. acnes) are transferred from your face to your sheets. So if you’re not washing them regularly, you could be passing bacteria back and forth for days on end. Pore-clogging oils from your scalp can also be transferred to your pillow, so it’s always best to launder your linen at least once a week.

    2. Sanitise your smartphone

    ‘Mobile phones are hotspots for blemish-causing bacteria, so keep them clean with an antibacterial wipe. Simply wipe down your phone screen at the end of each day to ensure bacteria isn’t transferred to your face when you’re making your next phone call. And better still, use the hands-free speaker mode to minimise phone contact with your facial skin.

    3. Clean up your make-up brushes

    ‘Anything that comes into contact with your face on a daily basis should be cleaned regularly. This is especially true when it comes to make-up brushes. Those powder brush bristles are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria of the blemish-causing variety. For best results cleanse your brushes weekly and give them a final rinse with an antibacterial cleanser such as Clarifying Foam™,.

    4. Keep your hands away from your face

    ‘When it comes to problem skin, it’s always best to take a hands-off approach. Carelessly placed paws can move blemish-causing bacteria from one area of the face to another, spreading your breakout across the entirety of your complexion. If you really can’t keep your hands away, ensure that you clean them regularly to keep your skin healthy and clear.’

    Spots between eyebrows

    Spots between your brows link with the adrenal area, AKA stress, Debbie tells us. The irony is not lost on us that spots also cause stress, resulting in something of a vicious cycle. If you’ve got spots in this area, it may be a sign you need to slow down and take some time out for yourself to de-stress.

    Reading now