Beauty 911: What Are Your Breakouts Telling You?

In recent years, I’ve become fascinated with the Eastern tradition of face mapping. Face mapping, which combines modern dermatology with ancient Chinese medicine, is the idea that there’s a correlation between your internal organs and different zones of your face. I talk about face mapping extensively in Lauren Conrad Beauty, and I wanted to share a little overview with you here on the site.

Face mapping makes a lot of sense when you consider the fact you’re your skin is an organ too (the largest organ in your body, in fact). Case in point: when I was traveling in India, I noticed my skin breaking out on my cheeks because of the poor air quality and high level of pollution. My aesthetician can also tell when I’ve just been sick or am about to get sick based on the area right above my brows. I don’t know about you, but I find it all very fascinating! Besides just being an interesting topic, educating yourself about face mapping can actually help to clear up your skin. Once you’ve identified what’s causing your acne, it’s easier to prevent it. While some causes are unavoidable (monthly hormone swings, for instance), diet and lifestyle changes can definitely help to clear up your skin.

Without further ado, here are what your breakouts are telling you in five different zones of your face…

Face Mapping

  1. Forehead. Breakouts across the forehead are often triggered by stress or sleep deprivation. Make sure to log 7 to 9 hours of beauty rest a night to keep your forehead clear.
  2. Above the brow. The area above the brow is affected by your immune system. Breakouts here tend to happen right before, after, or during a cold or flu. If you notice a breakout in this zone, slow down for a couple days, drink plenty of water and eat these 10 immune boosting foods.
  3. Between brows. Breakouts between the brows can be caused by overindulgence of unhealthy foods or a food allergy. Cutting back on sugar, dairy, rich foods, and alcohol can help clear up skin in this zone.
  4. Cheeks. Your cheeks are linked to your respiratory system. Smoking or breathing polluted air can cause breakouts here.
  5. Side of chin. The sides of your chin are affected by hormones. Breakouts here occur around the time of your period and happen on one side or another depending on which ovary is ovulating that month.

Pick up a copy of Lauren Conrad Beauty for even more about face mapping and my other skincare secrets.

And let me know what beauty crisis you’d like me to cover in my next Beauty 911 post!


P.S. Here’s how to ban blackheads for good.

Photo: Gen Kay via All Women Stalk

Categories: Primp, Skincare
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  • Sarah

    Interesting! I never knew about the correlation between chin breakouts and ovaries, although it explains a lot now!

  • Stefie

    It’s so weird that I very rarely get breakouts between my brows since all I eat is unhealthy food!

  • Brittany Charlebois

    What about getting acne directly on your nose? I use Proactiv now so I’m all clear, but I used to get terrible acne on my nose. What is that telling me?

  • Brittany Charlebois

    And I’m not sure if you’re ever written this article yet, but I’d love to see something on what to do when you over pluck your brows! lol Or how to apply makeup for women with sunken or non-standard eye shapes.

  • Melanie Erwin

    Side of chin – that is so good to know! I seem to ONLY break out here as well as up my jaw line and it is incredibly annoying.

    Since it’s hormonal, is there anything I could do to prevent the breakouts or am I just out of luck?

  • Kita

    hmm.. what about breakouts on nose? was looking forward to that…. :) I have been having 1 -2 breakouts on my nose since 1 month… tried Vitamin C etc.. didn’t help much ! am thinking to officially try for Minnie Mouse at Disney .. :P

  • sissel

    What about the nose?

  • Lesley

    I was eagerly awaiting this post! It’s interesting that you said that your cheeks broke out while in India. When I was in Shanghai for a summer my skin broke out like crazy, especially on my cheeks. I didn’t even think about it being from pollution!

  • Nhung Do

    Wow I feel like this is so true! Now I understand why I always break out on my forehead and chin

  • Katie Daly

    When I click on ban blackheads it takes me to a target web page. Is that suppose to happen?

  • Osnapitzlauraa

    I’ve #2 ! And it explains a lot because at the moment I’ve the flu. Thanks Lauren!


  • Laura-Maria

    Is there any books or articles you recommend reading to get a better grasp on this? I was frustrated for years over my breakouts- especially when I was “”eating healthy””, little did I know I am lactose intolerant and allergic. Once I have dairy, my face/throat area begins to itch slightly and then up go my hands to start itching. Since this happened for years growing up, I was never even aware I was ‘itching’ by reaction; become aware! Thanks for the great post Lauren, I truly look forward to these posts.

  • erika garcia

    what abou in that area where your cheeks meet the sides of your nose, all along there? would that be cheeks as well?

  • Jen burrell

    I breakout really bad on my ears. Is there anything I can do?

  • Jordan maus

    I would love to see an article on getting rid of comedogenic acne in the next Beauty 911!

  • Olivia charnet

    Great advice there !! I smoke, and I was desperate to understand why my cheeks were breaking out ! Thanks Lauren !

  • Alina ermilova

    A really great post! Thank you!;)

  • Megan Elliott

    I love this! But I have breakouts on my cheek and I would never let myself get caught around smoke or air pollution. Any other causes?

  • Carolina Escalante

    Really interesting, is amazing how everything in our body is connected, and it can give signs of when something is not working well… Xoxo!

  • Jessica Tobon

    Excellent post!!! Thanks for the info, I had absolutely no idea about this!! :)

  • Zabrinna

    This makes so much sense considering I am both stressed and sleep deprived. Kind of figured that my breakouts might be related to stress but had no idea that you can tell the cause from the area of the breakout. Thanks for introducing me to face mapping!

  • BerryBloomxo

    This is really helpful! I am going to start eating more immune boosting foods and (try and) stay away from unhealthy foods! Thank You!

    ooh, and I recently posted a skincare brand review:
    maybe it’s helpful?


  • Elizabeth A.

    I was just having a conversation about this the other day with a friend. I have horrible break outs on my chin and she told me it was hormonal. Blah, so that one didn’t surprise me. Although, I definitely didn’t know about #3. I’ve had this pesky break out in that exact spot It gets smaller, then bigger, then is about to banish…and comes right back. It loves that spot :(. I noticed that when I cut dairy out completely it helped my skin a lot – still working on the sugar though :).


  • cfgrrl

    What would breakouts by one’s nose mean? Approximately above the 5s but collinear tot he 4s?

  • Maddieknockonwood

    What about the nose? If I ever have a breakout it is on my nose!!!

  • Sarah Frantz

    This is totally true for me! Esspecially #5!

  • Pearl

    what can I do to stop breakouts by the cheek? I mean I don’t have a lot but its not really in my control besides cleansing morning and night.

  • Leah

    Whoa, 5 is ‘spot’ on. ahah

  • missleahbean

    what about the nose!

  • katie at Miss enchanting

    A really interesting and useful article! I have always had trouble with my skin (like most)and your post is spot on! ;)

    Just this week I wrote a feature on my personal favorite skin care product:


  • Ashley at Sincerely Miss Ash

    Great Post! I always suffer with #5! So annoying…


  • Ana Sofia
  • Ashley

    So what can we do about these breakouts? Especially the environmental one. This one doesn’t usually effect me but it would be good to know!

  • Nat

    What about the places between the nose and the cheeks? I’ve never had breakouts or blackheads in that little space (which by the way i very sensitive) and in the last 2 weeks I’ve noticed that the borders of my nostrals are being attacked by little pimples and blackheads! HELP PLEASE!

  • Amy Burnham

    Of course, the one I’m dealing with is the only one you can’t do anything about… #5. Ugh! Any suggestions?!

  • Hailey G

    This is so helpful! Thank you so much!

    Hailey from

  • Lena Ameri

    This is great! Such helpful information!!!

    I also believe breakouts are directly linked to what you eat and how that food affects your body. Check out my article on how to heal breakouts through food choices:

  • iris

    what are tricks for skin marks or tricks on dry skin

  • oksana

    while i was in beauty school we studied this and i can say its definitely true. you are what you eat. i stopped eating meat and cut down on dairy and my cheeks and forehead cleared up. i also started drinking alot more water, it helps to flush away any toxins. cut out food that have added hormones, antibiotics, and preservatives.

  • stephaniesstyle

    “”Side of chin (…) and happen on one side or another depending on which ovary is ovulating that month.”” LOL is this really true? So if i have a breakout on the left, my left ovary is ovulating? :S

    • I tend to get one on each side, particularly when I’m stressed. I would be very curious to see their source on this one. Unless they point to a medical journal, I think this is just an old wives’ tale.


    Glad you found this to be useful :)


    Thank you for sharing your tips!

  • oksana

    sometimes cheek breakouts could be from eating too much dairy. cut out dairy products for two weeks and see if the inflammation goes down.

    • Jessie

      I will try this thank you! I have been breaking out with bumps for over a month now and I was in England when it first happened and I had no idea why it was happening! I still don’t and I am so flustered to still have it

  • Deanne Castro

    I’m always breaking out at the chin area! :(

    For more on fashion and beauty, check out my blog:

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  • oceangirl25

    Awesome! This helped me :)

  • Sarah Frantz

    I take a multi-vitamin daily and drink 5 – 16oz bottles of water a day, I up the water intake usually about 3 days before I know I’m going to get my period and for some reason that seems to help me out a TON

  • Amy Burnham

    Thanks, Sarah! I will put your advice to good use, so nice of you to share your secrets! :)

  • indira rodriguez

    Thanks Lauren, good information, ya hab

  • noelle m.

    omg this is actually so true!

  • Diamenrose

    dry eyelids :D

  • nicole Smith

    Wow! This is sooo true!

  • Ashley burke

    Favorite advice yet! Thanks for the great article. xoxo

  • kalamityray

    man, #1 really hit home for me. I couldn’t figure out why I suddenly started breaking out around my forehead–not only did I have a big interview coming up, I’ve been working overtime at both my jobs, and trying to get my website going on the side. Stress it is! Thanks for the great advice–getting more sleep is a def. need for me.

  • Janeisie14<3

    wow # 5 makes so much sense for me now!!!

  • Renisha

    #1 and #4 are me at the moment

  • Jen

    I’ve had breakouts on the sides of my chin, pretty badly in my opinion, since I was probably about 19 and also around the same time I started taking medication for mental health, which also has acne listed as a side effect. So I think it’s a combination of both when I think about it. I also found I had mild, or at least seemingly mild allergies to certain foods, and I’ve been slowly cutting them out of my diet, at least mostly, and really try to lean into a vegan way of living. I’m getting there…the thought of giving up cheese upsets me, so I’m mostly vegetarian…anyway, yeah…

  • Madeline Grey

    I love her:)

  • yvonne cort

    Thank you, this was very informative!

  • Meg Lamb

    That’s so interesting! About two days ago I had a breakout above my eyebrows and now I have a bad cough and sore throat :o

  • Gabrielam07

    I’ve always wondered why my breakouts were always in the same place, this was so helpful!

  • taylormariexox

    Looking for a bride to be beauty regime and a wedding countdown guide

  • Sonya

    This is true, cleared some things up for me. Thank you.

  • Marina hernandez

    You’re so amazing Lauren !!!Thanks for all the help!

  • Courtney Serrano

    Totally makes sense ! Thank you so much !

  • DAni

    What are your sources on this? Or are you just making things up?

    • Julie

      These are facts. Ask any dermatologist, esthetician, etc. Now, can you get breakouts in these areas and them not be related to these things? Yes, but these are the common causes.

      • Tylar

        If you actually did ask a dermatologist or esthetician, they would tell you diet and smoking has never been proven to cause breakouts

        • Mocksoup

          Must have gone to a different esthetician course than me. EVERYTHING can affect your skin in odd ways. Even a bladder infection.

  • cat

    I love this article. I don’t normally have bad skin but I am a smoker and have been extremely stressed recently. This was very helpful!

    Thanks xoxo

  • Rorojones

    I’ve recently been getting spots over my lips. between my mouth and nose basically. As soon as one goes, another appears. all recent, i haven’t changed my diet so i dont understand why :(

  • Natalie Avila

    same thing is happening to me. i get like pimples under my nose and above my my mouth and its really annoying because they are noticeable

  • Lilly

    Is there a reason for acne on the nose? Also do you have home remedy tips for breakouts

  • Dawn

    Wow this is so interesting, I get spots on the left of my chin but only the left, I had my right ovary removed so this makes total sense!

  • Josie Renae

    interesting! this will help me so much!

  • Kierie

    I get a lot of acne right in the corner of my lips or on my chin right below my lip. I wash my face twice a day with an acne clearing face wash. What does right below your lips or on your lips mean?

  • Kierie

    I get them in the corners of my lips and under my lips. I also get a lot of blackheads on my nose. I wonder what that means…

    • Raquel

      Do you wear chapstick or any lip product? This can cause breakouts there, especially if you wear it to bed.

    • Ania

      I’ve always had blackheads, since the day I hit puberty but I have found that now, finally in my 30s they are getting smaller. I personally think that blackheads are caused by a lack of vitamin Bs. Supplementing can by tricky because there is such a delicate balance of these vitamins so I find food is a safer source. I am Polish and notice that when I add “Kasha” (as we call it in Poland) to my soups, my skin looks better. I think it’s the vitamins Bs in this grain and the fact that they can soak in my soup probably helps release them. Good luck and take care!

  • Jessie

    I have been breaking out with bumps on my cheeks on and off for over a month now but I work outdoors? What could the air pollution be? I traveled from England and then back home and I work outside? I do this often and this is the first time it is happening. Please help :)

  • Alyssa Adelle Judson

    I have Cystic Fibrosis (a respiratory disease) so that explains the irritation on my cheeks!

  • Julie

    And if you’re pregnant, you may just get to enjoy breakouts in all of these areas due to crazy hormones- oh yippee! Thats my life right now haha

  • Chen

    what about nose or temple?

  • Jenn Terry

    I break out on my cheeks. Very interesting, but I don’t know how to not breathe polluted air. Unless I move to the country :-)

    • Kiera

      Before anything else, best to assume your menstrual cycle. :3 That’s the only thing I’ve ever read that makes sense.

  • Dominique

    What about the men?

  • Charina

    Thank you. That’s why I’ve been getting pimples on my forehead and between my brows. I’ve been really stressed recently…

  • Angelaa

    really helpful

  • kc

    doesn’t make sense! i don’t even smoke but ive suddenly broken out on my cheeks. could it be because of the makeup i’ve suddenly changed to?

    • Mocksoup

      I get breakouts on my cheeks when I have an internal infection. A round of antibiotics usually clears me up. Also it could be something called irritant dermatitis, and you may be developed an allergy to something you use. Allergies can develop even if you’ve been using a product for YEARS.

      • ohyes

        You’re so right about the allergies developing. I’ve developed a skin reaction to gold… GOLD!!

  • Deena Feifer

    what about around the nose ? sometimes i feel like they are trying to frame it …

  • tash

    I get breakouts on the side of my head along the hair line and next too my eyebrows, do you know why i might get these?:)

    • Too much sebum secretion. I get these when I skip showering/washing my face regularly.

  • Chloe

    I’ve suddenly had a rash of spots appear all down the side of my face which I have never had before. Ever. I eat healthily and don’t live in a heavily polluted area. Any idea?

  • Danielle

    What does it mean if you haven’t hit your period yet but have them on your chin

  • Tressa

    This is amazing! I’m pregnant, so I’m having trouble sleeping, and obviously my hormones are crazy, and I’m breaking out in just the same spots you identified with both of those problems!

  • k

    cheeks is absolutely dietary, guys. sugar, non-rbst free dairy, soy, peanuts, other hormonal triggers. stress also hits here. but chin’s correct.

  • Calling your bluff

    Just FYI: This is total and utterly unfounded bullshit.

    • radar326

      I was wondering where the evidence of this is. No link to any scientific articles or anything here…

      • sciencethough

        If you even google it, the only things that come up are blog sites and companies..which sell skin products. This author probably got paid by them to do this.

  • Curious

    That reference model is breathtakingly exquisite.

    • NA

      Reference model is photoshoped to bits. *Whitened and enlarged eyes (you can tell by no marks or veins in the white of eye and smoothened areas under eye sockets.) Skin has been cloned and smoothened to hide blemishes (it’s slightly blurred to hide the PS work. Sinched in jaw line, colour tone of skin changed, elongated forehead, enlargement of lower lip, raised eyebrow arches, reduction of upper lip, sinched in nose bridge, elongation of neck and highlighted face. Would be very interesting to see before and after pics.

  • Chloe

    Wow this is actually really interesting! Great information, thanks Lauran:) x

  • Siena

    i get them between the brows, a lot on my forehead and the sides of my nose..i hate it.

  • Mocksoup

    AND if you weren’t so blinded by your self righteousness, you could have noticed I didn’t mention anything about the face mapping. I personally, don’t think that has anything to do with where you break out.

    My own reason is BIOLOGY. Infections in your body can wreak havoc elsewhere. Skin can slough off because of a reaction to antibiotics. There is also this thing called ‘referred pain’ where you experience pain in weird places, like a shoulder for gallstones.

    You know, it’s just science…though.

  • Toronto Product Photographer

    Can you provide scientific evidence?

  • Stefanie Wills

    What do you mean exactly by Break out? How many blemishes constitute a break out?

  • Bailey

    Whaaat, I knew that the chin breakouts were hormonal, but had no idea it was an indication of which ovary was ovulating!! That’s amazing and makes so much sense!

    aka Bailey

  • chantelle

    wow this is one of the best articles you’ve ever posted! Thanks Lauren xox

  • Lily

    What about on your upper lip? I get tons of breakouts there and for me those hurt the most!!



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