Do you always break out on your chin? Or maybe zits always seem to crop up on your cheeks or your T-zone. According to New York-based dermatologist, Dr. Whitney Bowe, “based on Ayurvedic (a holistic approach to health) principles, there are reasons you might be breaking out in one particular area over another.” Hormones, diet, poor hygiene, stress, or an underlying issue with an internal organ are all factors that could trigger breakouts in a particular spot. “Great skin often starts from the inside-out,” says Lindsey Blondin, lead esthetician at George the Salon Chicago. “One of the places through which your body rids itself of toxins, illness, and stresses is its largest organ — the skin.” The method of using the location of acne to inform treatment and prevention is called face mapping.

But before you run to your bathroom mirror and start examining, it’s important to note that not all forms of acne can be cured by simply giving up bad habits; consult with a dermatologist to determine the best form of treatment for you. Still, taking clues through face mapping is a great place to start. Here, Dr. Bowe and Blondin break down the possible causes — and solutions — of those pesky breakouts on your forehead, cheeks, chin, and more.

If you frequently wear hats, the friction from the fabric could be to blame. “The acne may also be a result of using heavy hair-care products like conditioners or leave-in treatments that can clog pores around the hairline,” says Dr. Bowe.

Another possible culprit here is stress. If you have exams coming up, for example, it might be a good idea to incorporate acne treatments like salicylic acid into your routine to help control potential breakouts. And, to avoid making things worse, lay off the chips and candy. “Your forehead is linked to your digestive system, says Blondin. “Reducing the amount of fat in your diet and stepping up your water intake could help.”

Your nose is linked to your heart, and, according to Blondin, cutting back on meat and spicy foods could reduce breakouts here. She recommends swapping these for foods that contain “good fats” like nuts, avocados, fish, or flaxseed. “Also, since this area is chock full of dilated pores, check that your makeup is not past its expiration date or does not contain pore-clogging ingredients,” she says.

In Between the Brows
“This is the zone where food allergies show up first,” says Blondin. Lactose intolerance is a possible factor as is a diet rich in foods that are difficult to digest like fast food.

If you get your eyebrows waxed, treat the in-between area with salicylic acid to avoid breakout-causing ingrown hairs, advises Dr. Bowe.

When did you last clean your phone or makeup brushes? If you’re experiencing breakouts in this area, it might be time to give them all a good cleanse, says Dr. Bowe. (Here’s exactly how to ensure that they’re properly washed.)

Because this area also corresponds with your respiratory system, Blondin says that smoking cigarettes is a definite no-no (for many more reasons than just pimples, too).

Chin and Jawline
“This could be a sign that acne is due to a hormonal imbalance,” says Dr. Bowe.  Birth control or spironolactone (which decreases testosterone levels) are both effective treatment options.

While hormonal changes can be unavoidable, “you can decrease the effect by getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, eating leafy veggies, and keeping skin squeaky clean,” says Blondin.

The Ears
Because this area is associated with the kidneys, breakouts here could be a direct result of dehydration. “Drink lots of water and avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages,” says Blondin.


This post was originally published on Teen Vogue

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