Skip to content

What Your Face Says About Your Health

Your body’s unique intelligence has a way of telling you when something is wrong and it needs help. Many underlying health conditions, some very serious, first appear as skin problems.  Not understanding this language makes it difficult to know when your body is talking to you. In Eastern medicine a doctor will read what is written in your face, tongue, eyes, skin, and pulse. The signs of depletion are all there and may have been for some time.

Under-eye shadow

A light grey shadow running at a 45-degree angle from the inside corner of the eye towards the cheek indicates a liver problem, according to nutritionist Mary-Lou Harris.

“You may also suffer from nausea, especially after eating fatty foods, as well as headaches and backache caused by nerves from the liver which run up to the shoulder blades,” she says. “The liver collects all the toxins and takes them away, so if it isn’t working at its best you may be suffering from toxin congestion, especially if you drink a lot of tea and coffee.”

To support the liver, cut down on caffeine and eat turmeric, leeks, spring onions, garlic, beetroot and pumpkin seeds.

Butterfly rash

A butterfly rash across the face is often the first sign of lupus. But don’t jump to conclusions. “It could be rosacea, it could be contact dermatitis. Unfortunately, sometimes it is a sign of lupus,” says University of Miami dermatologist Paolo Romanelli, MD. Only further tests can tell if it’s really lupus.


The mouth, rather fittingly, correlates to the stomach. Where the actual lips relate to the stomach and intestine, the surrounding area at the sides that run down toward the jowls are linked to the colon. Any spots or discolouration dotted around your lips could, therefore, be a sign of poor bowel movements, bloating or a poor appetite. Find a local nutritionist and explore any food intolerances or allergies that may have gone unchecked over the years.

Bloody gums indicate an acidic stomach, while dry and flaky lips are a fairly obvious sign of dehydration. Cracks or sores, alternatively, suggest a spleen in need of care. Stock up on vitamin B and iron if that’s the case.

Pimples on the forehead

“This could indicate internal symptoms, such as problems with the liver and stomach congestion,” says Knightsbridge-based skin expert and facialist Nataliya Robinson.

“Drink plenty of water to flush out any toxins. You should also eat more liver-friendly foods, such as leafy green vegetables, and cut out processed foods, as well as caffeine.”

Under-eye bags

“Eye bags are usually seen on people who have a blood sugar imbalance,” says Harris. “When stressed, we often turn to sweet food such as chocolate to keep our spirits up, but within half an hour we get a blood sugar crash.”

Harris suggests avoiding white bread, rice, flour, pasta and sugary drinks. Instead, sprinkle cinnamon on cereal or porridge to help stabilise blood sugar and eat proteins such as fish and nuts to support the adrenal glands.

Acne around the jawline

“Oestrogen is a friend to our skin, ­suppressing sebaceous ­activity, but when levels reduce as women get older, skin lacks lustre and you may experience acne cysts deep in the dermis and commonly found on the jawline and hairline,” dermatologist Dr Howard Murad says. “Try eating apricots, shiitake ­mushrooms, sweet ­potatoes, and ­mangos as they all contain ­vitamin A to ­normalise the ­production and life cycle of skin cells.”

Spots on the cheeks

“These can be caused by not cleaning foundation away properly so the skin ­becomes congested,” Helen Ambrosen, co-founder and product inventor of Lush cosmetics company, says. “This might be from using a water-based cleanser that doesn’t remove make-up fully. Use an oil-based ­cleanser and take a break from wearing make-up to let the skin breathe.”

Vertical lines

Two lines just above the bridge of the nose between our eyebrows suggest the liver might not be working as well as it could.“I call these liver lines,” says Harris. “We can support the liver by eating garlic, red onions, leeks, grapefruit, asparagus and turmeric. Sometimes if people tackle this problem with nutrition, the lines fade.”

Basically, the condition of your health is all right there, each morning, in front of your eyes. Your face never lies. It shows us that when energy becomes blocked in any part of the body, it affects us both internally and externally. According to visual diagnosis, every blemish, mole, and discoloration has a deeper meaning. Pay attention, watch, and listen to your body, and it will let you know when your health condition changes from day to day.