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Decoding Acne: The Hidden Messages Behind the Pimples on Your Face

22 August, 2023

Acne, like other recurring skin conditions, speaks volumes about what is happening to your body. A common skin concern that affects people of all ages, the location of acne on your face can offer insights into underlying issues, both within your body and in your external environment.

While there is limited scientific evidence that supports the notion that acne on your cheek is caused by the stomach or that the acne on your forehead is a result of gut issues (as suggested in Chinese or Ayurvedic practices like face mapping), the varying location of your acne spots can be brought on by different factors. Take a look at the reasons why your acne keeps coming back, and how you can facilitate their treatment in measurable, actionable ways.

Forehead Acne: Stress and Distress

Acne that pops up on your forehead is often linked to stress, where high levels of stress can trigger excess oil production to cause clogged pores, especially when the forehead tends to have bigger pores and sebaceous glands than other parts of your face. Though easier said than done, managing stress—physically and mentally—will be key in maintaining clear skin. Consider regular meditation, yoga, or breathwork, and stay hydrated and avoid sugary treats.

If you currently already suffer from forehead acne, look for products that unclogs pores and promotes skin cell turnover, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or retinoids. Keep in mind that these medications, which available over the counter, can interact with some other topical acne treatments. Consult your doctor before attempting to amend your treatment plan.

Cheek Acne: Pillowcase and Phone Hygiene

Acne on the cheeks can hint at allergies or more commonly, poor phone hygiene. The skin on your cheek tends to get irritated more easily than the rest of your skin, making it more prone to a series of acne called acne mechanica that is brought on by friction or rubbing of the skin. This makes frequent actions such as holding your phone to your face or moving your face against your pillow extremely damaging to your skin.

Consequently, however, addressing the cause of the friction will help in treating the acne. Keep your phones clean, swap your pillowcases every 1-2 weeks, and avoid touching your face throughout the day.

Chin and Jawline Acne: Hormonal Fluctuations

Albeit still highly debated, chin and jawline acne is now commonly associated with hormonal fluctuations in both men and women. It is typically caused by excess androgens—present in both males and females—that can overstimulate sebum production and clog pores, but birth control has also been linked to hormonal imbalances that are likely to lead to similar effects.

As with all holistic health practices, managing a healthy diet with the elimination of processed foods and excess sugars can help in regulating your body’s endocrine system, which produces and controls the hormones. Keep in mind that hormonal balance is a complex issue that expands beyond diet; you should still consult with your doctor about starting targeted treatment when it comes to acne.

The Key to Clear Skin

This quick guide to what acne locations can mean can be a useful springboard to complement your acne treatment, but not a one-size-fits-all solution to replace the latter. Individual factors vary and consulting with your aesthetic doctor or dermatologist will provide you with more tailored treatment regimens based on your specific lifestyle. Decoding acne and understanding its language will help you uncover a happier, more confident you.

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