Is it scientifically proven that so-called "face mapping" or "face reading" offers a map of disease or illness in the body? No, that's not true: Looking at blemishes on the face to determine what's happening in the body is an alternative medical practice that dates back to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is thousands of years old, but it is not proven by modern science or medicine. It is also not commonly endorsed by board-certified dermatologists who have advanced medical training to diagnose and treat skin conditions.
The claim appeared in a 15-second TikTok video (archived here) with the title "Healthbosstv: Zits Who Knew? #healthbosstv." The video opens with a narrator saying:
Next time you get a pimple on your face look at this chart because that indicates usually where the toxicity in your body is coming from.
This is what it looked like at the time of writing:
Shari Lipner, MD, Ph.D., an associate professor of clinical dermatology at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, emailed Lead Stories on November 15, 2022. A member of the American Academy of Dermatology, she wrote:
Face mapping is not commonly used by board-certified dermatologists. It is not based on robust clinical trials and should not be used in the diagnosis or treatment of skin conditions.
A May 15, 2019, article for the Top Doctors UK website says:
According to face mapping, acne and facial blemishes develop in specific zones because of internal issues, which may include high blood pressure, dehydration, and digestive wellbeing, or even as a complaint from another organ in the body, such as the 'angry' liver. There is no real scientific evidence to suggest that these principles are accurate.
The Mayo Clinic's online site recommends seeking "medical treatment from a doctor who specializes in the skin (dermatologist or pediatric dermatologist)" for persistent acne.
Like acupuncture, Mien Shiang, which translates to "face reading," and can also mean "face mapping," is viewed as an alternative therapy. Like other TCM, it looks at and treats one's health in alternative ways but is also part of fortune-telling or divining one's future. It is still used in China today and has gained some popularity in the West in the last few decades.