Our body uses its own particular language to communicate problems to us. This may be in the form of an ache, pain, or of all things, a pimple. Our body is literally trying to talk to us to tell us something is not aligning with our physiology, and we need to learn that language.
It may be difficult to decipher this language, but no worries I’ve got your back!
We now have enough science and research behind us demonstrating that the locations of our breakouts can be caused by certain things.
For instance, if I eat dairy (an inflammatory food for me) I break out around my chin or jaw line. This is something that took me a decent amount of time to comprehend, but now that I have, it is a very reliable way to understand my skin.
So, what are the main things causing breakouts?
Acne primarily originates from two things, our diet and our hormones.
How Hormones Affect Our Skin
The most problematic hormones for your skin are the male sex hormones, called androgens a group. The two most prominent ones are testosterone and DHEA-S.Testosterone is a male sex hormone that you’ve probably heard about. It’s produced in reproductive organs in every body, though at much higher rates in men than in women. DHEA-S is not a sex hormone. It is produced by the stress glands (adrenal glands) in the body. But it resembles male sex hormones so much that it has androgenizing effects in the body. The body has unusually high concentrations of androgen receptors in certain areas:
- around the mouth
- the chin
- the jaw
- the forehead
- the shoulders
- upper back
So What Does This Mean?
Androgens or male sex hormones cause the body to do two things, make more sebum than what is normal, and boost skin cell growth rates. Too much male hormones means too much growth. Too much male hormone power in the blood means too much growth. When these growth processes occur with too much frequency or intensity, acne develops.
When we are able to eliminate hormones as the cause of our breakouts, (check out my program Clear Skin Unlocked if hormones could be the primary factor causing your breakouts.) we can then look at the next most inflammatory thing, our diet.
Dietary Factors Causing Acne
Unfortunately, there are a lot of dietary reasons we could be breaking out. A lot of them stem from causing inflammation in our bodies. The following are some of the main dietary reasons we develop breakouts :
- A diet high in omega 6 fats
- A diet high in deep fried and fried foods
- A diet that includes trans fats
- A diet low in omega 3 fats DHA and EPA relative to the amount of omega 6 in the diet
- A diet high in refined and added sugars
- A diet high in grains or dairy
I know this seems like a lot. If you have been following a paleo diet then most of these will not be an issue for you. If not, I recommend starting by eliminating processed foods, and go from there. I have more tips on how to do this, located in my program Clear Skin Unlocked, here.
So what do the locations of our breakouts mean?
- The Chin and Jaw & Neck : The highest concentration of testosterone receptors are found in the skin here. If you have a hormone imbalance you will likely see pimples in this area in a range of sizes. These can occur often around our menstrual cycles, when our hormones are fluctuating.
- Cheeks : We use our phones a lot, right? Make sure you are cleaning your phone often otherwise you are introducing loads of foreign bacteria to your face here. In addition, if you are smoking, this has a habit of showing in the cheeks because this area is believed to be linked to our respiratory system.
- Chest : Our chest is a very sensitive area that we can sometimes forget about when it comes to washing and cleaning our face and other areas of the skin. Definitely take extra time to make sure you are washing your chest adequately. If that doesn’t do it, and your breakouts are happening in the summer, check out this blog post on other things that may be causing the breakouts to occur.
- Forehead, upper back and glutes : There are also testosterone receptors found in these areas, not as potent as around the mouth. but they are real. This combined with natural sweat and dirt can cause serious breakouts.
So – long story short, we should be looking to our hormones first to understand if we have any imbalances that could be causing breakouts, especially in the jaw, chin, forehead, upper back & glutes.
Here are a few more resources for understanding hormone imbalances and what your breakouts mean:
Then, we look to our diet.
As we pay more attention to our skin and the contributing environmental and dietary factors in our life that may be influencing it, I promise it will become easier to understand and recognize where these breakouts are coming from and why. I am a big fan of journaling, especially to notice stress levels which could really be causing inflammation to spike.
Best of luck, and as always, I am always here.