What Your Body Acne Is Trying To Tell You: Pimple Location Chart & Meaning

Donald Grant
Dr Donald GrantMB ChB DRCOG MRCGP Dip.orth.medGP & Clinical Advisor

As briefly discussed in our acne FAQs article, the precise location of spots and pimples on your face can sometimes shed some light on what’s causing the problem in the first place. Our skin is often one of the first areas to show symptoms when something is wrong internally.

By observing where flare-ups happen most, we can get some idea of what’s wrong – and how to treat it. There are many factors that can be responsible for breakouts, whether it’s related to hormones, hygiene, genetics, allergies, or beauty products. This chart identifies some of the most common culprits linked to different areas of the face.

Where it is and what it means

Forehead & BrowsCheeksNoseMouthChin & Jaw

Stress and worry

Digestive problems

Dehydration

Liver or intestinal issues

Poor sleep

Too much sugar

Dirty hats or caps

Hair products

Food allergies

Lactose intolerance

Stress and worry

Digestive problems

Liver or intestinal issues

Poor sleep

Too much sugar

Dirty hats or caps

Hair products

Dirty pillowcases

Dirty makeup brushes

Dirty phone

Smoking

Respiratory problems

Allergies

Stress and worry

Digestive problems

Too much meat and sugar

Too much makeup

Respiratory problems

Allergies

Stress and worry

Digestive problems

Dirty phone

Dirty makeup brushes

Hormonal changes

Respiratory problems

Allergies

Stress and worry

Digestive problems

Dirty phone

Dirty makeup brushes

Dirty pillowcases

You’ll see there is some clear crossover, with similar issues such as stress, poor hygiene, digestive problems and allergies cropping up in several categories. It’s certainly worth looking at these areas, regardless of where the acne is present, to identify the root of the problem.

Acne zone remedies

There are various ways to help counteract and reduce acne symptoms, whichever zone yours falls into. Here are some suggestions that will likely improve your overall health as well:

  • Improve your diet – we are what we eat, and if your diet is high in sugar, fat and processed foods, you won’t be doing your skin any favours. Include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and increase your fibre intake to help overcome digestive issues. In particular, make sure you’re getting enough Omega 3 and Vitamin D
  • Hydrate – in addition to eating well, make sure you drink enough to keep the skin hydrated. It’s also worth avoiding alcohol – and certainly smoking – to give your skin the best chance of recovery
  • Exercise – fresh air and movement work wonders to clear the skin. Introducing 20 minutes of regular exercise per day will have a positive impact on your overall health, as well as improving the skin
  • Manage stress – stress is a leading cause of acne, so finding helpful ways of managing it is important. Try walking, meditation, reading or yoga. Take some time out to slow down and relax
  • Clean up – poor hygiene is another common cause of acne across various zones, so look at your skincare routine, as well as your pillowcases, phone and makeup brushes. If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned them, then you’re unknowingly introducing a lot of bacteria onto the skin
  • Check your products – some hair and skin products actually irritate the skin, so look at what you’re using on a regular basis and determine whether or not this could be the reason for your breakouts, particularly around the hairline
  • Get enough sleep – if you’re not getting 7-8 hours a night, then your skin has less time to regenerate. Try going to bed earlier, getting up later or taking naps

If the acne becomes severe, painful or chronic, this is the time to consider medical alternatives, such as Tetralysal (antibiotics) alongside Skinoren cream. Take a free online assessment for advice.

Ultimately, it’s important to do proper research and consult a professional before making drastic changes. Bear in mind that everyone's skin is different, and so certain remedies will be better than others, depending on the individual. Hopefully, the above acne chart will help you figure out what it means when you break out – and how you can take steps to tackle it.

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