Even when we are doing our best to nourish and care for our skin we may get the odd pimple or break out. And according to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, which have both been used for centuries as health diagnostic tools, the location of your spots can reveal imbalances in certain systems or organs in your body.
Good hydration, a well-balanced diet, a good night’s sleep, stress management and keeping your make up brushes and mobile phone clean can all help to keep your skin clear. But Eve Kalinik, Nutritional Therapist and ambassador for YOUNG LDN London’s latest beauty and skin destination, tells us which factors which can cause unexpected breakouts and what you can do to prevent them.
If you suddenly start developing spots on your cheeks then they might not actually be ‘spots’ at all. “Red bumpy pimples across your cheeks could be a result of a condition called rosacea, which has been linked to bacterial imbalances on the skin and in the gut,” says Eve. “To improve your gut and skin health, it is important to support your microbiome – aka the trillions of microorganisms that live on and in us – and growth of beneficial microbes in your gut through your diet.” A good way to do this is incorporate plenty of fibre in to your diet, in the form of veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, wholegrains and fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, organic full fat natural yogurt and sauerkraut. A good probiotic supplement may also help.
If they look more like your usual pimples then it could be you need to literally take a deep breath. “In traditional Chinese medicine, spots on the cheeks may link to respiratory organs, so think about including deep breathing exercises or practises such as yoga, as well as quitting smoking,” says Eve. Also, be mindful about the cleanliness of your phone, as you would be shocked at the trillions of bugs and bacteria that linger on your phone, which you hold regularly to your face.
Remember when you were a teen and had break outs? Chances were they were around your jawline. This is because spots around the jawline can often be hormonal in their nature. “You might find that these are more prevalent around menstruation or when there is a shift in hormones, such as puberty or menopause,” says Eve. “You may also see these worsen during periods of heightened stress and anxiety.”
To improve symptoms, try adding in foods that can help balance oestrogen levels, such as the cruciferous vegetables which include broccoli, kale cauliflower and cabbage. Turmeric is also useful for supporting the liver and hormones, as is garlic, so try adding these into your diet regularly. Another important factor which can affect your skin is stress management, so invest in some R&R time, which can really help support clearer skin.
Read: How to banish hormonal breakouts for good
Perhaps you have been thinking of cutting in a fringe because of those pesky blemishing on your forehead? Spots in this area can often be linked to an imbalance in sebum (oil) production. “This relies on zinc, so try to up your intake of foods rich in this mineral, for example organic grass-fed red meat, shellfish such as crab – oysters being the highest source of zinc!, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, and high percentage dark chocolate in moderation. Avoid high sugar and refined foods in excess, as these can also affect oil production.” Although it might seem counterintuitive to have more oil when you are already over producing oil, including healthy oils found in oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds can really help.
“Traditional Chinese medicine also links spots on the forehead to digestive issues,” adds Eve. “So make sure to include plenty of vegetables and other fibre such as nuts and seeds and wholegrains, as well as fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, organic full fat natural yogurt and pickled veggies, such as sauerkraut and kimchi in your diet.”
More: Is zinc the secret weapon for gorgeous skin?
It’s perhaps one of the most annoying places to develop a spot as it feels like it really sticks out! But a spot on your nose could be highlighting a nutritional deficiency. “Traditional Chinese medicine links this area to the cardiovascular system, so make sure you increase your omega 3 fatty acids intake by adding oily fish, like salmon, mackerel, sardines, organic grass-fed meat and plant-based sources such as flaxseed, walnuts and hemp, to your diet,” advises Eve. Try to also up your green leafy veggies, which are a rich source of vitamin K which is important for cardiovascular health.
It’s also worth taking stock of your makeup brushes too asthis area of the face is full of diluted pores, and can fall foul of poor makeup brush hygiene.