According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the face is the window to the most internal parts of the body, and what is on our faces speaks of what is happening inside us.

What acne says about your health (according to TCM)

Acne or other inflammatory skin conditions in certain regions of the face, point to possible inflammatory problems or problems related to toxins within our internal organs. That says Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is an ancient medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is not like Western medicine. It is an ancient medicine dating back 5,000 years and is based on holistic healing through modalities such as herbal therapies, acupuncture, diet, and exercise. For some this medicine fits much better than Western medicine, on how we should be treating our illnesses.

In Chinese medicine, acne is commonly a sign of pathogenic heat in certain organs. So the focus of this stream of natural medicine for the treatment of acne, is to cool that heat, cleanse, detoxify and externally heal the condition. Work with your dermatologist to find natural and effective treatments for your condition.
The following is a short tutorial on the art of the face map .

Upper front

The upper part of the forehead is believed to be directly connected to the lower digestive system (the bladder and large intestine).

An acne breakout on the upper forehead indicates poor digestive function according to the facial map in the image below. To clear up the skin and the internal problem that is thought to be creating it, eating foods rich in antioxidants (berries, lemon water, and green tea are ideal) should work for healthy skin and intestines.

Natural remedies for digestive problems can help. Another option is to cleanse the colon (which is part of your digestive system) using flax seeds and kefir.

Low forehead

According to Chinese medicine, the low forehead is said to be connected to the psyche. Pimples in the area just above the eyebrows are believed to be caused by psychological factors (stress, anxiety, or depression) and problems with blood circulation .

To avoid these problems, take steps to manage stress and get a good night’s sleep. Make sure to get out of your hectic life a bit so you can rest, relax, and keep your skin and psyche healthy.

Chinese medicine facial map for acne


Acne in the area between and around the eyebrows is thought to be an indicator of liver function, according to traditional Chinese medicine.

Acne in this area can point to a diet that puts too much stress on the liver, such as a high-fat diet and excessive alcohol consumption. To address these problems, try a low-fat diet and reduce or eliminate alcohol from your diet and also avoid common habits that can damage your liver .

If you are looking for ways to detoxify your liver, read our articles on the best foods to cleanse the liver and how to take care of the liver with herbs.


The cheeks are associated with lung function. Smokers and people who suffer from bronchitis and respiratory allergies can find themselves suffering from flare-ups in this area. Take the necessary precautions to protect your respiratory health by avoiding smoking and avoiding allergens in order to clean the annoying breakouts on the cheeks.

If you are a smoker, check out our article on the benefits of quitting smoking . If you want to cleanse your lungs, be sure to do these 2 breathing exercises to detoxify your lungs .


Acne on the nose is said to be associated with heart-related problems, such as irregular or high blood pressure , and chronic or acute stress.

Make a conscious effort to make an anti-stress lifestyle, and protect your heart. Eat heart-healthy foods and herbs and foods known to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol, and take steps to lower the daily pressures that keep runny noses (and therefore cardiovascular problems) from occurring.

Chin and mouth

These areas are associated with the upper digestive system (stomach, small intestine).

Often, acne in the chin and mouth , are associated with poor choices in diet, such as eating too much processed food. Avoid fast food, processed foods, as well as toxic ingredients from the food industry. Eat fresh raw fruits and vegetables, and eat a good amount of fiber in your diet in the form of organic whole grains and this will also help prevent constipation.

The sides of the chin are connected to the reproductive organs , urinary tract, and kidneys, according to Chinese medicine. The menstrual cycle can cause pimples here (and elsewhere, as all women know) AND can sometimes indicate an underlying hormonal imbalance problem .

It can also indicate a problem with the kidneys from working overtime. Again, the best solution for pimples in this area is to schedule a relaxation time and take it seriously. Stress can have a serious impact on health, and reducing it can mean the difference between good health and poor health. Also, be sure to avoid habits that can damage your kidneys .


Those pesky pimples that appear on the ears are said to be indicative of kidney function. When the kidneys are functioning at a less than optimal level, pimples often appear on the ears, according to Chinese medicine. To help your kidneys work as they should, consider reducing sodium intake in your diet. Also, kidney function can be affected by your body’s hydration level, so be sure to drink plenty of water each day to avoid kidney failure (and pimples in the ears). Search for foods and juices to boost your kidneys .

Healthy recommendations to treat acne


Eat: green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, cucumber, watermelon, winter melon, celery, carrots, cabbage, beet greens, dandelions, aloe vera, blackberry leaf, carrot leaves, lettuce, potatoes, cherries, papayas, pears, persimmons, raspberries, buckwheat, alfalfa sprouts, millet, rice, mung beans, lentils, and peas.
Avoid: excess sugar, dairy products, chocolate, caffeine, carbonated drinks, nuts, seeds, seafood, and processed, fatty and fried foods.

Natural remedies for acne

  • Make a tea with dandelion, carrot and beet greens: Boil 1 bunch each of the fresh dandelion greens, carrot greens, and beet greens in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain and drink the liquid. Drink 3 cups a day.
  • Drink 12 ounces of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of honey in the morning on an empty stomach to lubricate the intestines. If you don’t go to the bathroom or have regular bowel movements, the toxins end up either in the liver or on the skin.
  • Boil 1/3 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries in 2 cups of water until reduced to 1/2 cup. Strain the juice and discard the raspberries. Keep the concentrate in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Use a cotton ball to absorb the juice and apply this solution to the affected area twice a day.


  • Taking up to 30 milligrams of zinc a day can help relieve acne symptoms.
  • Vitamin A can help reduce sebum production. Doses should not be more than 5000 IU a day to avoid potential side effects, the usual daily dose is 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams.
  • Vitamin B6 can be used to treat acne that worsens before a woman’s period or in the middle of her cycle and also helps ease the mood swings of PMS. You can take up to 100 milligrams a day, all month long, to fight acne related to PMS.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is applied to acne lesions and can be used to help kill bacteria and reduce acne inflammation. Tea tree oil contains a compound called terpinen-4-ol, which is responsible for its antimicrobial activity. A 5 percent tea tree oil solution can be made by mixing 1 part tea tree oil to 19 parts water and using as a skin cleanser. The oil of oregano , which is antimicrobial, can also be used in this way.


  • Medications such as birth control pills, steroids, and psychotropic drugs, which can trigger or make acne worse.
  • Stress, the use of cosmetic chemistry, hair and skin products. Being overweight, as being overweight can also make acne worse.
  • Rest your chin on your hands, touch your face, put a cell phone to your face, or sink your face into the pillow at night.
  • It also avoids biting your nails, which introduces bacteria to the skin around your mouth.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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