What is Your Acne Telling You about Your Health?

· August 24, 2015
According to Chinese medicine, we can determine what's going on internally by the type of acne and where it's located on the face.

Acne is a disease of the skin that occurs when the sebaceous glands produce more oil than normal, clogging pores and trapping dead skin cells and sebum.  When this happens, what are commonly known as pimples and blackheads form, which can range in levels of severity.

Acne is usually associated with the hormonal changes that occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, from using birth control, and stress, among others; Chinese medicine suggests that the location of acne on parts of the face can reveal health problems in different parts of the body.  In order to identify whatever condition you may have, first identify the type of acne and and note the location on your face.

Acne on the Upper Forehead

Acne in this area reflects problems with the digestive system or bladder.

What should I do?

  • Drinking water helps remove toxins from the body, so it’s a good idea to increase the amount you’re drinking and to take a look at the foods you’re eating.
  • Reduce your consumption of carbonated beverages and caffeinated drinks.  Instead drink herbal teas, especially green tea.
  • Eat less chocolate, snacks and soft drinks and in their place drink more water.  Eat more foods that help eliminate toxins from the body like boiled cabbage and baked apples.
  • Get at least 8 hours of restful sleep each night.
  • Exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day, outdoors if possible.
  • Practice relaxation techniques to worry less.
  • Wash skin and hair properly.

Acne on the Lower Forehead

Acne in this area can indicate heart problems.  The heart is a massive organ responsible for pumping blood to the entire body.  If stressed by poor nutrition, inactivity or mental or physical stress, not only will you get pimples on your forehead, but the whole body will be affected.  Keeping your heart healthy means exercising regularly to strengthen the cardiovascular system, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding stress.

What should I do?

  • Exercise regularly
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Eat healthy, preferably a high fiber, low fat diet
  • Quit smoking

Acne in the Ears

This can indicate problems with the kidneys.  When the kidneys are not properly cared for, large, painful pimples can develop on or in the ears.

What should I do?

  • Drink more water
  • Avoid excess salt and caffeine
  • Cleanse your kidneys with diuretics like parsley and water.

Acne around the Eyes, Orbital Area and between the Eyebrows


Acne found here indicates liver problems.  Oiliness, redness, peeling and blackheads between the eyebrows can signify an overworked liver that needs cleansing.

What should I do?

  • Eat fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C (kiwi, sweet peppers, oranges).
  • Try to avoid eating late at night; especially just before bed when your body won’t be able to digest foods with maximum efficiency, leading to an accumulation of toxins.
  • Reduce your consumption of fats, sweets, greasy foods, alcohol and milk products, especially if you’re lactose intolerant.
  • Some of the best foods to cleanse the liver include garlic, grapefruit, green tea, carrots, beets, leafy greens, lemons and limes.

Acne on the Cheeks

This can spell problems with the lungs and respiratory system.  Breakouts on the cheeks can be caused by stresses like smoking, asthma, allergies and respiratory infections.

What should I do?

  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Exercise.
  • Avoid polluted areas.
  • The best foods for healthy lungs include kale, brussel sprouts and squash.
  • Include oatmeal, rice and fresh vegetables in your diet.
  • Eat more foods like pumpkins, winter squash and green beans.
  • Don’t overeat.
  • Avoid fast food and junk food, sodas and artificial sweeteners.
  • Avoid mango, wine, and seafood.
  • Eat less sugar.

Acne on the Sides of the Chin


This usually indicates hormonal problems.  When the sides of the chin develop acne, it’s a sign of a hormonal imbalance, often caused by menstruation.  Sometimes, emotional or physical stress can cause a hormonal imbalance.

What should I do?

  • Quit eating before bed.
  • Eat more fruits and fresh vegetables.
  • Rest and sleep more.
  • Exercise for at least 20 minutes a day and massage your body to relax.
  • Take herbs that promote hormonal balance like licorice, Chinese magnolia, holy basil, maca, red raspberry leaves and green tea.

Acne in the Middle of the Chin

This may indicate problems in the stomach and intestines and is often caused by poor nutrition and food allergies.  Remove any bad foods from your diet.

What should I do?

  • Eat more fruits and fresh vegetables.
  • Get more rest.
  • Increase your consumption of water and the amount of fiber in your diet.

Chest and Neck


Acne in areas like the chest and neck is generally caused by stress, so it’s important to find out why you’re stressed and eliminate the cause.  You should be able to feel at ease at work and home.

What should I do?

  • Try to eliminate the things that are stressing you from your life.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Drink more water and take vitamin C to fight infections.