What Causes Acne?

While some are predisposed to pimples, including those with oilier skin or a slower cell turnover, the fact is many breakouts result from internal factors—especially hormones.

Some skin and health professionals speculate that the location of a pimple can help give an indication of what spawned it.

This “acne face map” shows how different areas of the face correspond to different organs and systems throughout the body.


 Acne on the forehead is linked to the bladder and small intestines.
Triggers can be hair products, hats, fatty and processed foods, alcohol, sugar, lack of sleep.


Mid-brow pimples are linked to liver and digestion issues.
Triggers can be lack of sleep, possible food allergies or sensitivities.


A breakout on the temples can be linked to the kidneys.
Triggers can be alcohol, tobacco, poor lymphatic circulation, saturated fat consumption.


Nose acne is linked to the digestive and circulatory systems.
Triggers can be constipation, bloating, indigestion, gas, poor circulation, high blood pressure.


Blemishes on the upper cheeks are linked to the lungs.
Triggers can be smoking, asthma, pollution, lack of movement or fresh air, spicy and fatty foods.

Those on the right and left cheeks are linked to the lungs and kidneys.
Triggers can be smoking, poor digestion, stomach issues, food allergies, sugar, poor diet, stress.


A bout of jawline acne is linked to the large intestines and hormones.
Triggers can be ovulation or hormonal shifts, the body fighting off bacteria, stress.


Chin acne can be linked to the kidneys, stomach, genitals, and endocrine system.
Triggers can be diet rich in fat, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol, staying up late or lack of sleep, menstruation, pregnancy, stress.

Hormones can also be a trigger that happens during a monthly menstrual cycle or pre- or post-menopause.

Lack of sleep, poor diet, mental or emotional stress - these are all situations that cause a higher percentage of androgen in the system, which leads to increased oil production.

Too much Dairy can also potentially impact your body’s hormonal composition.
If you’re eating a lot of sugar and carbs all the time, your body is going to produce insulin constantly and insulin is a precursor to hormones that are known to be linked to acne.

How do you Prevent Pimples?

It’s not as simple as, ‘Oh, I have acne, I should stop eating carbs or cut back on sugar,’” but it may be worth experimenting with your food intake.
Trying a low-sugar, “normal-carb diet” for two weeks, one that focuses on non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and proteins, then go back on your normal diet for two weeks.
If your acne starts up with your carb and sugar intake, that’s probably not a coincidence.
If anything, acne mapping gives you a bit more awareness as to what issue may be causing stress internally.
It’s super helpful to know when your breakout is just related to your period or if you have a digestive issue.
It could just be a pimple or two, but long-term inflammation can result in much bigger health issues down the road.

**The acne face map is a helpful tool and is not set-in-stone. Please see your doctor for any issues **

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