Your complexion tells the story of what’s happening inside your body…
That old saying about beauty coming from within? It’s true. Seriously, Mom and Grandma had it right all along…but maybe not in the way they intended.
You know by now that what’s going on inside your body usually makes itself known on your skin one way or another. But what you might not know is that where, exactly, that issue makes itself known on your face could be a big clue as to what’s going on internally.
You see, the ancient art of face mapping — yes, it’s a very, very old Chinese diagnostic technique known as mien shiang, aka “face reading” — is based on the idea that each part of of your face is connected to an internal zone of your body. It’s like a treasure map: wherever that breakout/dullness/irritation is, think of that as the “X” that marks the spot, and each “spot” is then connected to a certain part of your organ system where something funky may be going on. Your complexion tells the story of what’s happening inside your body.
To get more poetic, your skin is a window into the soul of your organs.
So why does this matter? The health of your skin mirrors the health of your whole body. If something weird is going on up on the surface, it’s likely something weird is going on internally where you can’t see (or possibly feel) it. When an illness or imbalance starts, your body’s way of letting you know is to send a warning to your skin so when you look in the mirror, you’re alerted that things are not all peachy keen, that you can make the necessary changes in your diet and lifestyle to make it go away. That annoying pimple on your forehead is your body’s version of Philippides, the Greek messenger who ran 26.2 miles from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to let deliver news to his people before the troops made it home. (See, I told you it was ancient.)
Curious how you can read your own face? Here’s what (and where) your skin can tell you about your health:
As the largest flat expanse of skin on your face, it makes sense that your forehead is the canvas where your digestive system would make itself known, especially since digestion controls so much of what’s going on throughout your body. If you find that your forehead is breaking out, extra dry, extra oily, or looks and feels “off,” you may have hard time breaking down certain foods like sugar and dairy, which backs everything else up. Try loading up on whole foods for a while, seriously upping your water intake to help flush out those unwanted toxins, and investing in a daily probiotic to kick your digestive enzymes into gear.
Forehead skin issues are also often connected to stress and sleep, so make sure you’re building time into your day to meditate or do yoga — anything that helps clear your mind and mellow you out. And please, nix the pre-bed phone scrolling. You want a solid night’s sleep, if for nothing else than the sake of your forehead.
The skin around your eyes is said to be connected to your kidneys, so if you’re looking a little raccoon-y, it might mean something is up with those bean-shaped organs that filter your blood and waste. Again, up your water intake to help flush your kidneys — you might just be dehydrated. If the problem is between your brows, it’s likely a stomach or liver thing aka you ate or drank something your body isn’t down with, so focus on eating more fruits, vegetables and other foods that are high in fiber. If this doesn’t help, a food allergy may be the culprit.
Unsurprisingly, your nose is linked to your heart and lungs. If the skin on and near your nose is acting up, it could mean anything from high blood pressure to poor circulation to too much salt. Pay very close attention to your diet — cut back on spicy foods, meat and salt while loading up on produce and good fats like omega-3 and -6. If tweaking what you eat doesn’t seem to be helping, visit your doctor to have your blood pressure checked.
Another large canvas for your organs to make themselves heard, the cheeks are all about your liver and lungs. Since Chinese medicine is big into the idea of left and right, it’s important to note what side of your face the cheek in question resides. If you’re experiencing on the right, it’s likely related to respiration and can be a sign that you’re breathing polluted air or not getting enough aerobic exercise. (Makes sense when you think about how flushed your cheeks get due to increased blood flow and oxygen during a workout!) Left cheek? Look to the liver once again and opt for cooling, hydrating foods like water, cucumber, aloe, etc., while avoiding spicy foods and alcohol.
If there’s one part of your face that breaks out like clockwork, chances are it’s your chin. That’s because the chin is most closely associated with your ovaries and a change in hormones aka your period. Regulating your hormones on your own is tricky and potentially unsafe without the help of a doctor, but you can help your chin out by paying attention to your diet (nix the dairy, sugar and oil for a bit; stock up on fruits and vegetables) to keep your digestive system running smoothly. Certain foods are even believed to help regulate your natural hormone cycle, like salmon, almonds and avocados — all packed with healthy fats and omega-3s.
+ What are your thoughts on face mapping?
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.