The eyes may be the window to the soul, but according to a skin care diagnostic technique called facial mapping, the face is the window to understanding why your skin is breaking out in the same (or very similar) areas over and over again.
Facial mapping uses the ancient practice of dividing the face into distinct zones to pinpoint any underlying issues occurring in your body that can manifest as breakouts.
To find out more about the technique, how it works and what it actually means when you breakout in certain areas, we spoke to Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica, Emma Hobson.
What facial mapping involves
According to Hobson, facial mapping and Dermalogica’s own service, Face Mapping Skin Analysis, works to combine the best practices of both Western skin diagnosis and Eastern methodologies to analyse “every aspect of a person’s skin, from the cause as well as the effect of various skin concerns.” Hobson also revealed that the practice “dramatically enhances not only the effectiveness of a skin treatment, but also ensures an accurate and bespoke home care regimen that fulfills individual needs.”
The process of Dermalogica’s facial mapping service “works by dividing the face into 14 distinct zones before each zone, or perhaps group of zones, are methodically reviewed,” says Hobson. A therapist then uses sight and touch to analyse a person’s individual facial landscape. The five-minute process can either be conducted on its own or incorporated within a treatment.
What your breakouts mean
If you consistently breakout on your jaw or cheeks…
“Breakouts on the neck and the lower jawbone are often as a result of hormonal (adrenal) stress,” explains Hobson. Additionally, Hobson says that if you’re getting persistent breakouts on your lower cheeks and jaw area, it may be due to dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, gingivitis or possibly irritated wisdom teeth. To nip these pimples in the bud, Hobson recommends applying a chemical exfoliant a few times a week, coupled with a daily application of a spot clearing treatment.
If monthly pimples popping up on the sides of your chin are more of a concern for you, Hobson explains it could be due to the surge in the luteinizing hormone that is seen during your period. “This hormone can trigger sebaceous gland activity, leading to increased oil production and the perfect environment for any invading bacteria to cause inflammation.”
As hormonal breakouts are so common, it’s good to know they can be treated with the right diet and spot clearing treatments such as Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel, Mario Badescu Drying Lotion and Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel.
If you consistently breakout on your forehead…
“The forehead links with the bladder and the stomach,” explains Hobson; “These breakouts could be as a result of a recent bladder infection or something similar. It can also relate to poor diet and sluggish digestion, which may be a result of eating too late at night or a build-up of toxins in your digestive tract.”
To combat these types of breakouts, Hobson recommends exfoliating with salicylic acid “as it’s fantastic at clearing blocked pores and skin congestion. [It] is the only exfoliating ingredient that can work on the ‘inside’ of the follicle/pore.”
If you consistently breakout throughout your T-zone
When it comes to the cause of breakouts in the T-zone, Hobson claims insufficient cleansingand exfoliation are often the main culprits. To avoid pesky pimples from appearing, she recommends “incorporating decongesting and purifying ingredients such as salicylic acid, charcoal and clays” into your cleansing routine, as well as “mattifying ingredients to absorb excess oil, including niacinamide, nordihydroguaiaretic acid and enantia chlorantha bark.”
More specifically, she suggests double cleansing every night, first with an oil cleanser before following up with a clay-based cleanser. We recommend Erno Laszlo Sensitive Cleansing Oil, The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil and Dermalogica Dermal Clay Cleanser.
If you’ve already converted to using a cleansing oil but are a little hesitant to incorporate oils into other areas of your skin care routine, this guide will have you changing your mind, stat. Also, now you know how much your diet can effect the quality of your skin, check out the top six foods you should be eating for a smooth, clear and flawless complexion.
This article originally appeared on BeautyCrew.