Acne patterns and how to prevent them

Honestly… I’m a scientist at heart and I don’t believe that acne on one part of your face can tell you things about your liver, kidneys, other bodily organs…. Exhibit A!

Yea I don’t think this is a thing…

Based on the development of the human body there are some areas believed to have similar origins and connections (hence why heart attacks are associated with L arm pain, etc) but I do not believe that the face in such detail is connected to various parts of the body… yea I have an eastern background, but there is no science to support (sorry!)

In this post I’ll be talking about reasonable patterns I have experienced, or have seen in close friends and family, including:

Acne along the jawline

Small pimples all over the face 

Acne on only one half of the face 

Acne around the mouth


So let’s get started!


Acne along the jawline

My face is essentially clear, but large cystic bumps along the jaw line.

I’ve had this pattern of acne during a couple points in my life… getting on oral birthcontrol, getting off oral birthcontrol, and with my diagnosis of hypothyroidism (which is a hormonal disorder). If you scour the internet blogs you can see that if you are undergoing hormonal issues, this V-line jaw acne pattern is a common complaint.

How to fix it: 

Talk to your a care professional about looking at your hormonal levels and consider changing any hormone medications you are taking. At home you can avoid foods that have too much sugar which may spike insulin levels, and exacerbate unstable hormonal levels. My theory is that your major arteries that bring blood to the face come from this area so it spreads “toxin” to this area first. Of course you have arterial blood flow to all parts of the face so this theory isn’t bullet proof… (This is not backed by anything, but that’s how I like to make sense of it)


Other explanations: 

  • Touching your face/resting your chin on your hand while using the computer
    ⇒ (Fix) Wash your hands often, and try not to touch your face! Adjust the height of your computer screen so your eye level is at the top 1/3 of the screen. 
  • Short, curled in hair that touches the chin/jawline
    ⇒ (Fix) Try to wash your hair, and prevent conditioners that have silicones, sulfates, and other toxins. You can even try washing with baking soda/water mix, and conditioning with apple cider vinegar for a natural alternative. 


Small pimples/blackheads all over the face

Small pimples all over.jpg
#when your eyeliner is so water proof you take off your make up and it’s still there.

Some people have even smaller, and more closely packed acne than this. Honestly, there was a time when I had it on my forehead but I avoided pictures at all costs because… it looked really gross. This is a classic symptoms of clogged pores. Whether you are oily skinned, or something you put on your face doesn’t agree with you (like me with silicone… check out my silicone free list) This type of acne means that your pores are being clogged

How to fix it:

The best cure for clogged pores? Chemical exfoliants/peels. Something you can use on weekly or daily basis to make sure your skin stays clear. I love the paula’s choice exfoliator and did a whole review on it. Some people online swear my aloe plant as well… but that didn’t work out too well for me. Be careful not to physically exfoliate your skin too often (like those cleansers with sand like beads). You can cause some damage to your skin as well as cause increased oiliness (which is your skin’s defense against super abrasive things).

Other explanations: 

  • Infections (fungal/yeast) due to direct exposure onto the face, or possibly changing of diet (adding probiotics, etc)
    ⇒ (Fix) Practice good hygiene, use a separate towel for your face. Trial stopping/starting probiotic supplements such as kombucha or pills.


Acne on only one half of the face 

4. day 4.jpg
My face is still kind of like this where I have acne mostly on just the left side of my face (and I’m right handed)

This one is what really made me think about what might be the cause… it is a prominent difference from one side to the other, and I think I’ve figured out my personal reason. The sun. I usually wear sunscreen meticulously when I know I’m going to be outside. But when I’m just going to work and back home I don’t go too crazy with the sunscreen. I noticed that since I am driving (in the U.S.) the sun hits me directly on my left side, and less so on my right side.

How to fix it:

I started wearing a powder foundation with spf 50 (It cosmetics celebration foundation spf 50), and I’ve been break out free on the one side!

Other explanations: 

  • Cell phone use: If you hold your phone up to your face all the time this might be an explanation. Phones are covered in bacteria… and when’s the last time your washed your phone?
    ⇒ (Fix) Speaker phone, head phones…. just don’t put that dirty thing on your face!
  • Pillow/hair hygiene (especially for side sleepers): I know because I personally have a sensitivity to shampoos and conditioners that if these products get on your face it can cause acne. (Not to mention natural oils that come off your hair!)
    ⇒ (Fix) 


Acne around the mouth

Picture credit to:

My mother suffers more from this condition… and whenever she has something with chemicals to eat (more likely sugar substitutes), she gets a new pimple around her mouth. For her, it’s usually a large cystic pimple and it seems shes not the online one!

How to fix it:

Try to look at your diet and note when you have the most pimples. My mom notes that it happens the same day as when she’s eaten something that doesn’t go right with her. When I looked it up online this condition is often associated with foods with chemicals

Other explanations: 

  • Lip product/ tooth paste sensitivity
    ⇒ (Fix) Try to not spread any products, cosmetics or otherwise too far past your lips. Or you can try switching to more natural products, or even baking soda.  
  • Perioral dermatitis
    ⇒ (Fix) Similar fix to the one above… if you have a lot of trouble your should check with a dermatologist!


That’s all I have for you guys today folks. This not a comprehensive list.. but when you deal with acne for 15 years you play scientist with your own face…

Stay happy and healthy everyone!



PSTT want more acne related posts?

1. Product picture
Getting rid of acne scars
How I cleared my acne
Going silicone free



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