While we're accustomed to breaking out around that time of the month, acne may allude to issues beyond hormones. In Chinese medicine, practitioners believe that a person's complexion is a window into their internal health, with breakouts in certain areas of the face corresponding to different organs.
"Many forms of diagnosis were born to help practitioners ascertain what was wrong with patients before the age of X-rays, MRIs and ultrasound technologies," Emmanuel Sargenti, licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine and owner of Integrated Acupuncture in California, said in an interview with Dermstore. "Face mapping is one of those diagnostic correspondence systems."
Sargenti explains that if you regularly break out on your jawline, you may have a hormonal imbalance or issues with your gut health. "The jawline is the dominion of the stomach channel," he explains. He typically looks for dietary factors that could be contributing to a hormonal imbalance, like sugar. "Sugar causes insulin resistance with accompanying testosterone excess, so limiting sugar can help correct the problem."
Unsurprisingly, sugar is also highly inflammatory and has secured its place on gut health doctors' lists of food to avoid. "Foods and beverages that are rapidly converted to sugar are also pro-inflammatory," said Nicholas Perricone, MD (Well+Good calls him the "OG of inflammation").
That includes soda, pasta, white bread, fried foods, and the more obvious sugary culprits like pastries, breakfast cereals, and the like. "Trading simple carbohydrates (white flour, potatoes) for complex carbs (whole wheat flour, yams) can also help regulate blood sugar, potentially leading to clearer, healthier skin," concludes Sargenti.