The Link Between Cheek Acne and Your Respiratory System

The Link Between Cheek Acne and Your Respiratory System

Did you know that what's going on in different parts of your body affects where acne occurs on your face? If you experience pimples, redness, and flaking on the cheeks, there might be an underlying problem- originating from your respiratory system.

Face mapping helps us understand our overall health

In ancient Chinese times, the tradition of face reading was used to understand a person's health, personality, and fortune. There were no blood tests and imaging scans in those days. Traditional doctors relied on touching and looking at the face to help make a diagnosis.

These days, we have come to understand that the condition of our skin reflects not only how we care for it, but also our entire bodies. Our exercise, diet, and stress relief strategies contribute to skin health.

Acne on the cheeks linked to the respiratory system

The state of the skin on your cheeks reveals a lot of issues that could be going on internally. For instance:

  • Top of the cheek: the area right under the eyes is connected to the kidneys.
  • Upper cheeks: the cheekbone area is linked to the lungs and sinuses.
  • Lower cheeks: Connected to the teeth and gums.

Other face mapping practitioners use this division:

  • Left cheek: linked to the liver.
  • Right cheek: connected to the lungs

There are various ways to clear up the cheeks, but they're all relatively simple. 

The respiratory system

The respiratory system is the group of organs and tissues that takes in oxygen and eliminates carbon dioxide. It includes:

  • The lungs
  • The trachea (windpipe)
  • The sinuses
  • The diaphragm


An overworked respiratory system can create stress on the cheeks. This appears as redness, inflammation, acne breakouts, and irritation. Sources of stress include:

  • Asthma
  • Air pollution 
  • Lack of exercise and deep breathing
  • Allergies
  • Smoking

Other potential causes of cheek acne

If you're not a smoker, you don't suffer from allergies, and you get plenty of fresh air, you may need to look for other causes of your cheek acne.

If the issues occur on your lower cheeks (the part that lines up more with your upper teeth), it might be due to:

  • Tooth pain or irritation
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Gum disease or gum irritation
  • Consuming too much sugar 

Seven solutions for cheek acne & redness

Thankfully, there are solutions to these problems, and they don't cost much.

  1. Breathe clean air: If you have allergies, limit your exposure to triggers as much as you can. Dust and vacuum often, avoid going outside during high pollen times and add houseplants that help clean the air. You could also invest in a quality air filter for your home and office, change clothes after coming home from outside, and open the windows when pollen levels are down to ventilate indoor air.
  2. Good dental hygiene: Brush and floss your teeth daily and visit your dentist at least once a year. If your teeth are sensitive, use a sensitive toothpaste. Avoid over-using teeth whiteners, as they can be harsh. Reduce your intake of sugary foods.
  3. Beware of bacteria: Exposure to bacteria can also cause cheek acne. The grime from your hands, your cell phone, your pillowcase, and anything that touches your cheeks contains bacteria. Avoid touching your face while going through the day, change pillowcases at least once a week, and clean your phone regularly. 
  4. Nourish your kidneys: If the breakouts and irritation show up high on the cheeks, try drinking more water. Also, eat more water-filled foods like melons, cabbage, cucumbers, strawberries, and lettuce.
  5. Relax: It can be hard to manage stress in today's fast-paced world, but being worked up is harmful to the skin and overall health. Do at least one stress-relieving activity every day. Examples include deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, journaling, walking, and massage.
  6. Reduce dairy intake: Pimples on the cheeks could indicate that you're sensitive to dairy products. Try omitting dairy from your diet for a few weeks to see if your acne disappears.
  7. Regular aerobic exercise: In a 2011 study, researchers found that aerobic exercise could help in strengthening the muscles involved in respiration. You don't have to do intense exercise, anything that gets your heart rate up will do. It might take a few weeks of regular exercise for the cheek pimples to go away. 

With love,

​The Sole Toscana Beauty Team

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