Holistically Treating Acne with Face Mapping


For over 5,000 years, Chinese medicine has used changes on the skin of the face to help diagnose health concerns. There is a reason this analytic approach has persisted in Asia. After two decades of analyzing various skin conditions in combination with their medical history, I have discovered a tremendous amount of information can be obtained from patterns of redness, pigment and acne.

Holistic skin mapping is an empowering and invaluable tool for skin care professionals in understanding why people develop acne, rosacea and other skin concerns. In this article, we will be focusing solely on acne because it is the fastest growing skin condition and the most confusing.

Misunderstanding Acne

Why does holistic skin mapping matter if acne is about bacteria? Because it isn’t. Textbooks and Western medicine will often tell you that acne is a bacterial infection most likely related to a blockage of sebum within the follicle. However, the more recent research suggests it is an inflammatory condition more than a bacterial one. What is the source of this inflammation? I propose that the inflammation is coming from the body’s efforts in dismantling and removing toxins.

Anecdotal evidence points to dietary connections with dairy consumption, sugars and fast food. Most people think that dirt or a buildup of cells on the barrier are factors. No one has ever explained why these foods would stimulate an infection in the skin, and that is because they don’t. Kids live with dirty skin all the time and do not develop acne as a result.

Do you find yourself ever thinking about or pondering these questions:

  • Why does birth control causes acne in some and help clear it for others?
  • Why do antibiotics help some and make other’s acne worse?
  • Why does someone that actively exfoliates and has very little oil production still get hormonal breakouts like clockwork?
  • Why does stimulating skin care seem to trigger an acne purge in many, is it really triggering an infection?
  • Why do many clients have specific recurring locations for their acne?
  • Why do colonics help clear acne?
  • Why does avoiding dairy help acne?
  • Why do women with low body fat develop “bacterial infections” along the jawline?

The answers to these questions will forever change how you treat this condition.

Not Bacteria but Skin Toxins

Let’s start by reminding ourselves that the skin is one of the key organs involved in detoxing the body. It is my theory, based on 20 years of analysis and a proven track record of results, that acne, in virtually every case, is caused by toxins. This explains why the focus is more on inflammation now as the skin “processes” these toxins. Why does the skin seem to get better with peels and peroxides if it is not about bacteria? The answer is that wounding the skin suppresses inflammation including toxin purging.

Accutane suppresses healthy immune function thereby reducing the skin’s ability to detox. Antibiotics suppress healthy immune activity and can also reduce the swelling and redness in that way. Research shows that prolonged antibiotics do not shrink the bacterial population, so we know it is not about that. While modest results are considered better than no results, we should be asking why suppress the immune system and increase scar potential when you can diagnose and treat the real cause of the acne, an increase in skin toxins.

Breaking Down Skin Toxins

So, where do these skin toxins come from? There are two primary sources; candida toxins and estrogenic toxins (xenoestrogens). If you do not know about these, you should, because they are impacting virtually everyone’s hormone balance. Depending on the location on the face and body, we can map on the face what organ is involved or what environmental toxin is to blame.

The map shows us that the digestive tract, a common place for candida overgrowth, can be found mostly in the upper face. Acne breakouts along the jawline, neck, chest and back are where estrogenic toxins purge. The more toxins you are exposed to, the more likely you will develop cystic acne because they stack in the follicle. Candida overgrowth is accelerated by dairy, sugar, hormones and antibiotics. This is why diets matter. Depending on the state of a digestive tract, candida promoting foods or medications may create instant acne, or it may take time to build the candida population up.

Xenoestrogens include chlorine, pesticides, plasticides, parabens, sunscreens and food preservatives. Ingesting, absorbing or inhaling these toxins causes the body to reduce real estrogen and that results in a relative imbalance of testosterone. This explains why people get oily and why hormonal acne happens. Women with low body fat have higher testosterone levels that exaggerate the hormone imbalance caused by xenoestrogens resulting in purging of these toxins. “Hormonal acne” occurs as the body attempts to correct the imbalance by removing the cause, estrogen toxins. It most commonly occurs in the week prior to menstruation after there is a surge of testosterone in the cycle.

This also occurred in clinical trials where testosterone was being administered. In those trials acne did not occur in the oily zones of the upper face, they occurred along the jawline. The details from face mapping get even more specific as we know which estrogen toxins purge in each location on the map. For example, jawline acne is most commonly caused by food preservatives, chest and back acne is most commonly caused by chlorine and neck acne is likely caused by pesticide overexposure (See Figure 1: Holistic Skin Mapping).

Holistically Treating Acne

For far too long the skin care industry, including dermatologists, have been putting forth their best guess as to the causes of acne. The practice of wounding the skin to “clear” acne is the norm. Even though acne is transient, scarring lasts a lifetime. My philosophy is that we need to be kind to the skin since it is simply doing its best to remove toxins on your behalf. Accelerating wound healing and assisting in detoxing the skin will dramatically reduce the risk of scarring compared to the trauma often imparted by chemical peels and harsh topicals.  Even if you want to continue those practices, wouldn’t it make since to test this theory to see if addressing the internal toxicity does in fact help clear them?

I completed a double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial proving that a wellness supplement targeting candida cleared acne in 54 patients by 60% in one month. There has been ample evidence that certain toxin binders, like DIM (diindolylmethane), help clear acne because of their ability to remove estrogen toxins from the body. Holistic skin mapping and a targeted wellness campaign can give you the insight and results to make you a leader in this field. You can teach your client what to avoid to keep clear and you can dramatically improve their gut and hormone health in the process. Treat acne with kindness by letting the holistic skin map teach you the most proven and efficient way to get your clients clear.


Benjonshon 300

Ben Johnson, M.D., founder/​formulator of Osmosis Skincare, a graduate of Creighton University School of Medicine is a physician, entrepreneur, inventor, and outside-the box thinker who has spent most of his career in aesthetic medicine beginning with a chain of medi-spas and then developing innovative  skincare that’s changing the industry. His holistic approach incorporates highly effective, revolutionary strategies that treat skin conditions at their source providing permanent results.

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