Is Your Face Trying to Tell You Something?
Face mapping—or face reading—offers an innovative approach to wellness-based skincare that's rooted in ancient Eastern medical principles. Developed thousands of years ago by Chinese and Ayurvedic healers, this intuitive health and beauty practice gradually spread to other areas of the world, including my native Romania. The belief that our face is the mirror of our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing was fundamental to my education in Eastern European aesthetics.
The Messages in the Mirror
The idea that our complexion and even our facial features can provide important clues to organ function most likely arose from careful observation of patients not as a collection of symptoms but as individuals whose outward appearance reflected their internal health. For instance, the association between acne on the forehead and poor digestion probably emerged from years of observing this pattern of breakouts in people who had stomach and bowel complaints. When I see clients with this pattern of breakouts I often recommend changes in their diet such as eating more fruits, vegetables, and fiber or reducing wheat or milk intake to determine whether their digestive system is unusually sensitive to these foods.
Here are a few more tips on managing your diet and lifestyle based on facial mapping: Known as the T zone, the T-shaped area that includes your nose and the lower forehead) is generally associated with liver problems, which may call for curbing your alcohol consumption and upping your water intake. Foods that support strong liver function include dark, leafy greens; vegetable in the cabbage family (e.g., broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower); eggs; and garlic and onions. Sometimes blemishes on the nose signal cardiac problems, so make sure your blood pressure is under control. A puffy, red nose is sometimes a sign of heart issues as well, but can also be a symptom of rosacea, an inflammatory condition that, like acne, responds well to anti-inflammatory foods, including dark greens, fatty fish, and nuts. (Redness in the T-zone, particularly when it extends to the cheeks, can also be a normal reaction to eating spicy food or drinking alcohol as well, or could be a symptom of an allergy, a high fever, or a serious systemic illness such as lupus.) Clogged pores and blackheads in the T-zone are another common source of breakouts. The best way to control this problem is to use skincare products made with natural plant-based oils that don’t get stuck in pores and to schedule monthly pore extractions with a qualified aesthetician. (Don’t try removing blackheads at home—improper technique and unsanitary conditions can cause serious infections!)
Forehead Are deep horizontal lines on your forehead creating the impression that you're worried/irritable/dissatisfied even when you’re in a good mood? If this is the case, you may be a habitual frowner who should adopt healthy ways to de-stress such as yoga or meditation and look for ways to lead a happier, more fulfilling life, whether it’s changing careers or just taking more time out from work and family obligations to relax and recharge your physical and emotional energies.
Eye area Puffiness here may indicate kidney issues, calling for careful attention to hydration from drinking water as well as from fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water, such as grapefruit, melons, strawberries, cucumbers, spinach, and celery. Dark circles in this area may reveal a need for more sleep, while expression lines and wrinkles may indicate habits while squinting and rubbing your eyes. The cure may be as simple as stronger prescription lenses, sun glasses, a richer eye cream, or gentler handling of the delicate skin around the eyes.
Cheeks Breakouts here are associated with respiratory problems as well as stress. The best prescription for both conditions is plenty of exercise and extra vigilance in regard to diet and stress management.
Chin and jaw acne usually points to hormonal upsets. Add plenty of omega-3s (e.g., from walnuts, flaxseeds, salmon) to your diets and eliminate sugar and refined flour. A healthy balance of vigorous activity and natural relaxation techniques will also help quiet hormonal swings.
What Does Science Say?
A growing body of research shows that our face does indeed provide important insights into a variety of complexion issues and health conditions, including acne, diabetes, hepatitis, and hormonal dysfunction. There’s even exciting new evidence that facial features can help doctors diagnose genetic syndromes. The “face readers” of ancient times were the first practitioners to notice a link between the structure of the face (e.g., shape, placement of the ears, slant of the eyes, fullness of lips, occurrence of lines and wrinkles) to internal health, personality, and spiritual wellbeing. Today’s physicians can now use a highly advanced digital tool called Face2Gene to pinpoint the markers of genetic disorders that deeply affect all these aspects of wellness and functionality, including autism and Alzheimer’s, in just seconds. Immediate access to this knowledge can eliminate the long, costly, frustrating search for a conclusive diagnosis and allow for helpful interventions in the early stages of disorders that are otherwise elusive and difficult to treat. For instance, research suggests that identifying early markers of dementia may enable people to make changes in their lifestyle that could help them to maintain a healthy, fulfilling for years to come. Today, as in the past, the best diagnosticians are those who combine good gut instincts with sharp observations of each person’s unique physical characteristics. We can all nurture and practice these skills to help develop a beauty and lifestyle plan that is exactly right for us.