Every organ in our body has the ability to communicate with another. The bowel tells our brain when we have to go to the bathroom, the lungs tell the heart to pump oxygen to the cells, the digestive tract tells the liver to filter blood — so why is it so odd to think that organs on the inside can communicate with our largest organ on the outside?
Skin is a reflection of our health. Acne and skin related problems are often a sign of imbalance or are related to nutrition, diet, genetics or environmental factors. My first exposure to how food affects our skin was when I was about 10 years old. A family friend of ours who was a few years older than me was struggling with extremely bad acne. After trying everything under the sun— from purchasing new pillow cases and laundry detergents to a year of Accutane— nothing seemed to work, until he did some blood work only to find out that he was lactose intolerant. Eating bagels and cream cheese for years ended up disrupting the bacteria balance in his stomach, causing an overabundance of inflammation and surfacing acne on his skin as his gut's "cry for help."
So just like the heart talks to the lungs, the way that the gut talks to the skin is by surfacing blemishes on certain areas of our face. Skin Mapping has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. The idea is that various areas of the face, or "zones," correlate to specific internal organs. Skin Mapping urges us to look beyond the surface and treat the underlying cause of skin conditions. After all, a brown banana isn't usually brown because of what's happening on the outside, but because the inside is rotting. Ya feels?
The area above the eyebrows, or forehead, is said to be linked to your liver and gallbladder. Breakouts or rashes here could be attributed to excess fat and processed or junk food.
BETWEEN THE BROWS
The area between the eyebrows is where digestive distress would surface, as it's correlated to the stomach and liver. If your breakouts are frequently between your eyebrows, try an elimination diet or reduce items that affect your stomach acidity like caffeine, alcohol and sugar.
TEMPLES & BROW LINE
Skin issues that surface on the temples and/or brow line generally correlate to the kidneys, which might be a sign of dehydration or stressed kidneys. Make sure to use the bathroom regularly (don't hold your bladder), drink enough water and avoid processed meats, while adding more fresh fruits and vegetables in to your diet.
UNDER THE EYES
The area beneath the eyes is said to be communication from the stomach, kidneys or liver. If you're one who often suffers from puffiness under the eyes or dark circles, try reducing your caffeine, alcohol and sugar intake. Drink plenty of water and herbal tea (peppermint and dandelion specifically), while focusing on quality sleep.
BRIDGE OF NOSE & UPPER CHEEKS
The upper cheeks and bridge of your nose is correlated to the heart. This is often where rosacea shows up. If you experience rosacea or rashes on your upper cheeks, try limiting processed foods and adding more healthy fats into your diet. This might mean adding an Omega 3 supplement to your daily regimen, eating more walnuts, chia seeds, avocado, and/or wild caught fish.
The middle region of the cheeks is associated with the stomach and lungs. This is where one might see rosacea, breakouts, and/or hyper-pigmentation. If you are experiencing issues on your cheeks, between the brows and around the mouth, it's likely more stomach-based. It would then be a good idea to try an elimination diet to rule out any food sensitivities or to try and balance your gut bacteria with prebiotic and probiotic rich foods like leafy greens and fermented vegetables. If your hunch is that it's lung focused, invest in some air purifying house plants or make an avid effort to spend more time in nature.
LOWER CHEEKS AND TIP OF NOSE
Skin imbalances on the lower cheeks and bottom of the nose are said to be messages from the liver and stomach. Wrinkles and breakouts in this area can often be attributed to toxin build up or food intolerances. Dandelion tea, dark leafy greens and collagen boosting foods like salmon, citrus and berries will help to improve any issues in this area.
The area surrounding the lips is a window to the stomach. Issues here would follow the same protocol for cheek & brow blemishes. Think: pre & probiotic foods, an allergen test or elimination diet, less caffeine, alcohol and sugar.
CHIN & JAWLINE
Oh boy, this is my favorite. Most everyone is subject to a jawline breakout at least once in their life, but females truly understand the brutality of a chin breakout right before the menstrual cycle. Why is that? Breakouts around the chin or jawline are known to be correlated to the ovaries and/or colon, which can be enhanced by hormonal stress. High stress or excessive exercise will also increase cortisol levels, which can also lead to breakouts on the chin & jawline. Try scheduling time for TLC, consuming more Omega 3 fatty acids, Evening Primrose Oil, Ashwagandha and chamomile tea to help combat this. Vitanica's Women's Phase I supplement also changed my life (not sponsored) — it helped me tremendously with PMS, specifically cramping and tender breasts. Highly recommend if you struggle with similar issues.
The lymph nodes are good determiners of the way your body is fighting off stress or illness. Often when the lymph nodes swell, it is a sign that the body is fighting infection. Stress causes inflammation in the body, which can also cause the lymph nodes to swell or surface blemishes on the skin. If your lymph nodes are swollen or you experience blemishes in that area, try to make time to let your body heal. Meditation; yoga; and eating foods rich in vitamin C, like cauliflower; and zinc, like pumpkin seeds.
Understanding the basics of Skin Mapping is super simple and a beneficial way for us to understand what is going on inside our body that we might not be aware of. Sometimes we ignore the casual stomach ache and pinched back, but in combination with skin issues, we are able to explore further possibilities and find natural remedies to help ourselves heal from the inside out.