Facial Diagnosis: What Your Skin is Saying About Your Overall Health

by Dr. Casey Dorman |

Facial Diagnosis: What Your Skin is Saying About Your Overall Health

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, it is simple to understand what is going on internally with your health just from looking at what is happening on your face. Traditional Chinese Medicine looks in to every aspect of the body to help determine one's health progress - facial diagnosis is one of them. Once you start to remember certain "organ areas" on the face, you will begin to get the general idea of what is going on "internally" with you - just by looking in the mirror.

Looking at one's face, we can observe a few different aspects: the colouring, the hydration of the skin, any puffiness, the location of any acne or pimples, any circles around the eyes, and any drooping of the skin or wrinkles. All of these symptoms can reveal a lot about someone's health.

Each Facial Area = A Different Organ System

Each area of the face represents a different organ system. Any abnormality that appears in these facial areas could indicate something going on internally with the corresponding organ.

Below is a diagram of how Traditional Chinese Medicine theory represents organs on the face - we explain specific indications in more detail below.

Chinese facial diagnosis diagram



Redness: In general, constant redness of the skin indicates your body is "retaining a lot of heat". If reddish flushing only manifests itself on the face, heat is still the issue, but it's not chronic.

Paleness: When the face lacks adequate color, your body is lacking nourishment from the digestive system. Your spleen and stomach are in control of turning your water and food into energy and nutrients for your body. If your body isn't receiving the nutrients or is struggling to retain those nutrients, then you are not going to be able to "feed your skin": in general, it will be the last organ that receives resources.

Purple: Purple spots, or darker shades of coloring on your face indicate that blood is not circulating freely within the body. In addition, if you feel really achey, purpleness is a fair indication that your muscles are stiff and are not being looked after. When these symptoms emerge, try a massage to stimulate the blood and fluids to circulate fully in the body.


I am mostly talking about the eyes when discussing puffiness.  Some people wake up puffy, while others experience constant puffy eyes throughout the day. Puffiness indicates you that your body isn't clearing fluid properly or appropriately detoxifying. Your kidneys, bladder, stomach and liver meridians are located near the eyes; these all help withdetoxifying and breaking down nutrients. If your body can't break your food down properly, the components will just sit there until something can move them along. Therefore if there's food sitting in your belly, you need fluid to come in and help get rid of it and balance it out.

If these symptoms sound familiar, try going on a detox. Many of you might have probably considered doing one anyway after waking up puffy from a night out!  Your skin and complexion might thank you!

Greasy Skin and Dehydration

Signs of sticky, clammy or greasy skin are related to your diet and digestion. Large quantities of greasy unhealthy foods, large quantities of dairy, breads, or chili, all take extra energy for the body to break down.  Sometimes your body doesn't know what to do with "excesses", so these excesses are expressed through the skin (hence that greasy texture).

Dehydration can be easily identified: Whenever you have dry skin this indicates lack of water in body. The best advice is to simply drink more water. I know many people suffer from dry skin in the winter months; this sort of dryness is typically because most people don't drink enough water in winter because it's cold. Keep your drinking-water at a warm temperature so you are more likely to drink it, and apply a nice hydrating serum to protect the dry areas of your skin from the dry air and wind.

Acne and Pimples

Okay, this is the one that intrigues everyone and I love it!

Light, small whiteheads on the cheeks are related to your digestive system.  If your skin has this issue, try cutting back on sugar and processed carbohydrates and you should notice results. Cystic acne on the jawline indicates hormone disharmony in the body: Your body can't balance hormones properly so it accumulates excessive bacteria on the face. Meanwhile, pimples on the cheeks are a sign of stomach and spleen disharmony, which would indicate your breakouts are mainly due to diet.

Pimples around the forehead are due to heat and stress, and the annoying little ones that show up around your third eye are definitely due to exhaustion, so be sureto strike balance between your work and daily life.

And Don't Forget to Wash

One key tip is to keep your skin clean. At night, cleanse your face with a natural, gentle cleanser that doesn't have any nasties that rip away your natural skin oils. Overnight, clean skin can breathe when there is no excess built-up makeup blocking your skin cells.

This facial diagram is an indication of what could be happening internally in the body. This does not mean it can cure what is happening, but it is a good tool for finding the issue. The body is a complex organism; as Chinese medicine doctors, we look into every aspect of the body to see where things need balance.

For Casey, wellness is a way of life. Fusing a love of eastern philosophies and a western approach to get the best results. Casey is the founder and owner of Meraki Holistic Health, a haven primarily focusing on women's health, Fertility, and Cosmetic Acupuncture. Casey's passion for healing allows her to keep learning to be able to give more back to her clients to achieve greater wellness. You can find her on her socials meraki.holistic health to learn more.

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