Beauty & Style

Pimple guide: Where it is on your face and what it says about your health, according to TCM physicians

The position of your pimples says a lot about what’s going on in your body.



Before you blame bad skin on poor hygiene, muggy weather, or just bad skin genes, take a closer look at your face and identify where the pimples are sprouting.

Doing so can actually give you clues about your body’s health, says Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician Jeffrey Ong from the Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic at Harbourfront. 

“Our skin is not only a protective barrier to the environment, but also a mirror of our internal health. In TCM, imbalances in our body often manifest themselves as skin disorders,” says Jeffrey.

He adds that in TCM, acne is often associated with heat and damp heat lingering in the organs and meridians. Below, he explains the possible causes of your acne, and what their positions on your face could mean.


On the Forehead
POSSIBLE CAUSES Accumulation of liver heat. Accompanying possible symptoms include irritability and a flushed appearance. This can be due to too much stress and too many late nights.
FIX IT Learn to relax by listening to music and doing regular exercises. Always keep emotions in check.

Between the Eyebrows
POSSIBLE CAUSES Deficiency of ‘heart yin’. Accompanying possible symptoms include palpitations, chest tightness and arrhythmias.This can be due to insufficient sleep or rest. 
FIX IT Avoid late nights and have ample rest.

On the Nose
POSSIBLE CAUSES Excessive ‘stomach fire’. Accompanying possible symptoms include digestive problems. This can be due to eating too much fried or spicy food.
FIX IT Cut down on fried and spicy food, avoid cold drinks, and consume more fresh fruits and vegetables. Stay hydrated as well.


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On the Left Cheek
POSSIBLE CAUSES Weakness in the liver function or the accumulation of heat toxins within the liver. This can be due to over consumption of alcohol.
FIX IT Avoid smoking and alcohol.

On the Right Cheek
POSSIBLE CAUSES Weak lung function. Accompanying possible symptoms include cold limbs, sensitive skin and flu. This can also be due to a weak body immune system.
FIX IT Exercise more regularly and avoid seafood.

Around the Lips
POSSIBLE CAUSES Intestinal problems. Accompanying possible symptoms includes constipation. This can be due to a poor digestive system.
FIX IT Keep to a simple, balanced diet. Consume more fruits and vegetables with high fibre.

Lower Chin
POSSIBLE CAUSES ‘Kidney yin’ deficiency. Accompanying possible symptoms include irregular menstruation. This can be due to an imbalance of hormones within the body.
FIX IT Avoid cold food and drinks.

This article was originally published in the May 2016 issue of Shape magazine.