Adulthood comes with so many amazing things: careers, relationships, happy hours, acne… wait, what? If you’re anything like us, you woke up sometime in your 20s and realized that the pimple-y plague your mom and doctors swore was just a right of teenage passage never totally went away — even after you broke all of your worst skin habits. Not cool, complexion. But instead of once again hanging all your hopes on a trendy celebrity-endorsed acne treatment or skinspirational routine, what you may need to do is start addressing the underlying cause(s) of your breakouts.

Jill Therese, the blemish-battling superstar behind the Heal Your Face With Food movement, believes you can’t tackle your acne until you really get to know it. No, not in the sense that you need to take it out for a nice romantic meal (although there are definitely foods your skin will love). We’re talking about identifying the root cause of your breakouts by looking closely at *where* and *how* it’s appearing on your face. This technique is called “facemapping,” and it’s an ancient Chinese practice that can help you determine whether the culprit behind your adult acne is hormonal, stress-induced or dietary.

Jill has struggled with acne since she was nine years old, but you wouldn’t know it looking at her glowing face now. And she says she didn’t start seeing serious results until she discovered facemapping and got off the dermatological hamster wheel. “I tried every topical cream on the market, every antibiotic, every birth control pill and hormone,” she says. “By the time I reached my mid-20s, I knew something was up. It took a really crappy appointment with a really callous dermatologist for me to finally give up on everything and decide that food was the answer.”

But when you’re trying to heal your skin from the inside out, how do you even know where to begin? Enter: facemapping. “I found facemapping after Googling ‘acne on forehead,'” says Jill. (Don’t all acne roads lead to frantic Googling?) “Depending on the season, I sometimes had all of these teeny little bumps all over my forehead. They weren’t like zits, in the normal whitehead sense, but they were acne.”

Through that Google search, she learned that digestive issues might be behind her forehead breakouts. “I had always, ALWAYS had problems with constipation, and it was like a lightbulb went off,” says Jill. “I immediately started on a really good probiotic, added in a ton of probiotic-packed foods to my diet… and my forehead has been completely clear ever since.” Jill gave us a quick guide to what the causes of your breakouts may be, depending on where they are on your face.


1. Problem area:Your forehead.

– What it means: You might have digestive or intestinal issues.

– What you can try now: Take a probiotic, and cut back on fat and sugar.

2. Problem area: Between your eyes/eyebrows.

– What it means: Your liver might be working overtime.

– What you can try now: Reduce dairy, alcohol and fatty foods. Try detoxifying foods and spices like garlic, carrots, beets and turmeric.

3. Problem area: Your cheeks.

– What it means: This could be a sign of respiratory stress or even allergies.

– What you can try now: If you’re smoking, 100 percent STOP IT right now. Also, look carefully at what you’ve been eating and see if there are any acne-related foods that could have influenced the breakout. (Dairy is the most common.)

4. Problem area: Your nose.

– What it means: Your blood pressure might be high.

– What you can try now: Reduce dairy, alcohol and fatty foods (yup, yet again), eat more veggies to fight inflammation and try fish oil supplements for a healthy fatty acid boost.

5. Problem area: Your jawline or chin.

– What it means: It could be digestive issues, but often the big culprit of acne in these areas is hormones.

– What you can try now: Avoid artificial sugars and consider taking a probiotic to rule out that it’s not just a digestive problem. If it’s definitely hormonal, you might consider male androgen-blocking supplements like Estroblock or milk thistle.

6. Problem area: Your temples.

– What it means: You might be dehydated and your kidneys are straining to pick up the slack.

– What you can try now: Drink more water and eat foods known for their hydrating powers, like cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes.

Has facemapping helped you clear up your skin? Tweet us your story and tips @BritandCo!