If you suddenly start getting spots on your face, first think about whether you've changed your skincare or make up products recently. Cosmetica acne (spots caused from make-up clogging pores) is easily remedied once you've eliminated the problem product.
In Chinese medicine every part of the face is indicative of how well different organs of your body are doing. "If your breakouts are few and far between, it's usually just a sign of a short term hormone imbalance or stress related issue," says skin therapist Lousie Thomas. Always remove make up properly and if you tend to get more black heads and little bumps under the surface, try changing your moisturiser.
Click through to the next frame to find out what spots on your forehead mean...
Experts believe your forehead is the area that reveals how well your body is eliminating toxins. "The top part is related to the bladder, the middle is digestion and the lower part, which runs between your eyebrows is related to your liver so you'll often get spots here right after party season!" says Louise.
Spots in and around your eyebrows or on your temples relate to the adrenal glands which sit on top of your kidneys and stress can be a trigger factor. "Remember exercise can help reduce stress levels," says Dr Murad, founder of Murad skincare (muraduk.com).
"If your spots are small, typically around your mouth and the skin looks red and lumpy it could be perioral dermatitis which is quite common," says Dr Murad. The cause is unknown, but it may mean you need to eliminate products you have been using on the face.
People can mistake it for eczema and use over the counter eczema creams which just make the spots worse. One of the common symptoms of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), which affects 1 in 10 women, is acne and increased hair growth, particularly around the mouth and chin. See your GP if you suspect you maybe suffering from PCOS.
In Chinese medicine the cheeks are related to the lungs, so if you suffer with regular colds, flu and asthma you may get outbreaks or irregularities in skin tone texture here. It could also be rosacea, which is extremely common in fair-haired people and can look very similar to acne so many people are misdiagnosed.
"Drinking alcohol, spicy food and caffeine have been associated with rosacea, as they are inflammatory," says Dr Murad. If the spots are flaky, it may be seborrheic dermatitis which can look similar but can also occur in the middle of your chest and in your armpits. See your GP for a proper diagnosis.
Spots usually appear on either side of your chin and on your upper lip at different stages in your menstrual cycle, because spots here are linked to your hormones."You can almost tell which ovary (left or right) you are ovulating from according to which side of your chin your breakouts appear on," advises Sally Penford, education manager for the International Dermal Insitute (dermalinstitute.com).
Over the counter remedies and specialist skincare treatments, plus certain brands of contraceptive pill can help reduce outbreaks here.
If you get severe breakouts here it may be a genetic problem so check to see if other members of your family have suffered from it in the same place. The skin on your chest can be a more oily than on other areas of your body, so you need to wash it as thoroughly as you do your face.
If you have spots on your back, and don't suffer elsewhere, it could be caused by doing a lot of sport and not showering immediately afterwards. The skin is an organ of detoxification that gets rid of a lot of waste materials, particularly when sweating, so if you're not washing straight away the follicles can get blocked explains Sally. If you're getting spots on just one shoulder, it could be caused by constant friction from your handbag strap.
Bottoms need exfoliating and hydrating just like the rest of you! Also think about whether you're wearing particularly tight underwear or using a new fabric softener. "If the spots are particularly large with a lot of discharge it can suggest underlying diabetes," says Dr Cliff, a consultant dermatologist (cliff-dermatologist.co.uk). See your GP for a proper diagnosis.
Your skin is coarser on the arms and upper legs so you can get something called Keratosis Pilaris - which appears as small spots which give your skin a rough, goose- bumpy appearance. This is caused by an overproduction of dead cells at the hair follicle and poor circulation but can also be a sign of how efficiently your body is using vitamins from your diet or of underlying asthma explains Dr Murad. The good news is it usually clears up as you get older, but in the meantime creams containing salicylic acid can be effective, along with having tepid showers and baths and using a good moisturiser.
If you have spots on your legs, the most common cause is folliculitus. Folliculitis starts when hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing, blockage of the follicle or shaving. In most cases of folliculitis, the damaged follicles are then infected with bacteria. "Between hair removal it's vital to hydrate skin, exfoliate skin gently so dead skin is less likely to trap hair under the surface and cause in-growing hairs," says Louise. Try another hair removal method or product if this persists and bathe skin in antiseptic so there's no re-infection.
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