Face Mapping: The Location of Your Break Outs Can Reveal the Cause - And the Solution!

Where do you break out the most? Everyone has that ‘special’ area that seems to be perfectly fertile ground for acne—whether it’s your forehead, lips, cheeks, chin, neck or nose, it’s like pimples are just attracted to this one part of your face again and again…and again. UGH. Luckily, if you suffer from repeated acne break outs in the same area, you can actually use this information to your advantage as you seek to resolve your acne.

Face mapping is the method by which you deduce the cause of your repeated break outs based on their location. The cause for pimples on your forehead can be way different than the cause of pimples on your neck, for example.

We’ll look at the various sections of your face and potential causes for acne in those areas one by one. But first, let’s examine some of the general reasons for repeated break outs.

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Why Do You Get Recurring Break Outs?

Often, the reason for repeated break outs is due to repeated behavior that causes breakouts. This behavior can include things like touching your phone to your face, which could be causing breakouts just along your upper cheek line, or repeated use of certain makeup products, such as a waxy lipstick that is causing breakouts around your lips.

Another cause for repeated breakouts is picking, scratching and squeezing pimples that already exist. Meddling with the healing process of acne by frequent and repeated touching leads to improper healing and thus more break outs. Picking can even result in spreading the breakout to other areas—eek! Better to keep your hands folded nicely in your lap and off your face ;)

Sometimes a single recurring pimple or area of acne can indicate a deeper problem. If there is a deep inflammation in your skin it will be particularly vulnerable to any stress. All the regular acne-inducing conditions such as hormones, lack of sleep, diet or topical irritants will have a higher chance of leading to breakouts in this already vulnerable area of your skin—you really need to treat the root problem to stop seeing breakouts in this area.

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Skin mapping can really help narrow down the causes for repeated break-outs. By looking at each section of the face and exploring the common acne influencers for those areas, we can figure out what particular behavior is causing the particular break outs.

So now, without further ado, let’s take the face section by section and talk a bit about common acne influencers in each region!

Jaw and Chin

Usually when you have repeated breakouts of pimples and acne on your jaw line and chin (often also spreading to your lower cheek and/or neck) it is caused by what is called a hormonal pattern. What this means is that oil glands in these areas are overreacting to hormonal responses, leading to an over production of oil, and thus acne.

Some of the factors that can trigger these hormonal responses include stress and diet (especially sugar and dairy).

Hormones also fluctuate during a woman’s menstrual cycle and this excessive oil production can be a totally normal response to these monthly changes.

It is also possible to have a hormone imbalance that causes acne to develop in a hormonal pattern. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is one such condition that unbalances hormone.


Repeated acne out breaks on the neck are usually caused by the same hormonal pattern as the jaw and chin. You could also be reacting to certain products—sometimes a lotion or oil that is fine on the face skin will cause the neck to break out—and vice versa.


Lots of people tend to break out on one or both of their cheeks. There a few potential culprits:

Makeup, such as foundation or blush, could be causing your breakouts. If you think this might be the culprit, try switching out the makeup you’re using.

Touching your cheeks frequently can be another reason for regular breakouts. Our hands are covered in germs and bacteria that we pick up throughout the day. When we rest our cheeks in our hands or over touch our face, we can transfer all that bacteria to the pores of our more sensitive face skin leading to acne.

The same holds true for phones—sometimes just holding the phone against your cheek when you talk is enough to cause pimples!

With this in mind, make sure you wash your hands frequently, and use headphones or speaker mode when you talk on the phone!

Do you get acne on only one cheek?

If so, do you frequently rest one of your cheeks on the palm of your hand? Or do you sleep on that side of your face? Our pillows, like our hands, can contain a lot of bacteria. The friction caused from frequent touching can also irritate the skin leading to acne.

Lips and Mouth

Breaking out around your lips and mouth can be due to regular use of specific products like a certain lipstick or gloss that you wear. It can also be caused by smoking, which can clog the pores.

Another potential culprit that may surprise you is toothpaste ingredients! Sodium lauryl sufate and sodium laureth sulfate (both common ingredients in toothpastes) can clog pores, causing acne. Fluoride and whitening agents can also cause irritation for the skin around some people’s mouths.


Forehead acne is often caused by hair products. Some common pore clogging-ingredients include sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and coconut oil. It could also be a number of other ingredients that your skin responds to, either chemicals or particular oils. Try switching out your shampoo, conditioner or other hair products to resolve your forehead acne.

Sometimes forehead acne is actually caused by the over production of a yeast called pityrosporum. While it’s a normal part of our skin and lives on all of us, it can get out of balance and overproduce, leading to itchy red patches and flaky skin. It’s one of the causes of dandruff and can get down into the follicles causing build up of material, ultimately leading to acne.

Other forms of dandruff could also be causing your acne when the dry skin flakes get clogged in your pores.

Another possible cause of forehead acne is wearing a hat regularly—both from friction (especially if it’s tight), and a buildup of bacteria in the hat that is transferred to the forehead.


Nose acne is often the result of a higher concentration of oil glands in this region of the face—the culprit for oily noses. Usually, nose acne presents as blackheads because all the oil that your skin produces on and around your nose (the T-zone) gets stuck in the pores and turn black. Blackheads happen when oil and skin cells that are trapped in your pores become oxidized, thus turning black.

Do you get acne on only one side of your face?

When face mapping, it’s also a good idea to note if you tend to get your repeated breakouts on one particular side of your face. If you do, your pillow case could be to blame. As noted above, pillows can be filthy—dirt, sebum and bacteria can accumulate on our pillow case and spread to your face when you sleep—eww! By being sure to wash your sheets and pillow case often, you could heal your acne!


If you want to stop break outs that repeatedly return in the same area, try face mapping! Face mapping is an effective strategy for curing breakouts because it takes into account the unique factors effecting different areas of your face. And since the cause will vary depending on where on your face the breakouts are happening, narrowing down the possibilities will make it easier to approach the healing process. For example, while changing your hair products may help heal the acne on your forehead, it probably won’t do anything in helping with acne on your lips!

At Y’OUR Skin, we are happy to help you find the cause of your acne. Take our Skin Quiz to discover the best products for your unique skin type!

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