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Australian acupuncturist Lauren Curtain reveals what your face says about your health

Chapped lips, dark under-eye circles and flushed red cheeks are common complaints widely accepted as a normal part of life, but medical professionals say our faces may be telling us more than we realise about our health.

Acupuncturist Lauren Curtain, a Chinese Medicine Practitioner based on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne, revealed the reasons behind everyday skin problems, and the warning signs you should discuss with an expert.

Black shadows and bags beneath the eyes can be a sign of kidney problems and a poorly functioning adrenal system, which can lead to chronic fatigue, low blood pressure and hormone imbalances in the long run.

Redness in the cheeks suggests inflammation and the presence of bad bacteria in the gut, while cracked, flaking lips indicate issues with digestion and blood production which should be examined to rule out serious health conditions.

‘The eyes are the window to the soul, but the entire face is really an insight into the inner workings of the whole body,’ Lauren told lifestyle blog Bed Threads.

Common skin complaints like chapped lips, dark circles and flushed red can be signs of health issues from kidney problems to bacterial imbalances in the gut 


Sudden development of dark circles under the eyes can indicate underlying issues with the kidneys and adrenal system.

The kidneys produce red blood cells and hormones which control blood pressure, as well as balancing minerals like calcium which helps to keep bones strong.

Prolonged adrenal problems can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD), causing damage which prevents blood and waste products to filter properly.

The disease is ‘chronic’ because it gradually causes damage over an extended period of time. 

Redness, tinges of yellowness or puffiness around the eyes suggests a sluggish metabolism and gives a good indication that something is not quite right in the gut.

Victorian acupuncturist Lauren Curtain (pictured) says redness in the cheeks can indicate inflammation and bacterial imbalances in the gut

Victorian acupuncturist Lauren Curtain (pictured) says redness in the cheeks can indicate inflammation and bacterial imbalances in the gut


Redness in the cheeks – medically known as rosacea – can indicate inflammation in the body or bacterial imbalances in the gut.

Intense rosacea can also suggest histamine intolerance, a rare condition that occurs when their is a buildup of the chemical histamine in the body, causing diarrhoea, irritated eyes and skin, unexplained anxiety, nausea and severe headaches.

Lauren suggests facial acupuncture as a natural treatment for rosacea, to combat allergies, hay fever and headaches. 


Persistent pimples and painful acne are ‘obvious signs’ of an underlying condition, Lauren warns, saying sizes, location and type provide clues to the cause.

‘If someone has lots of little bumps with no redness over their whole face, we would have a different treatment approach to someone else with large, inflamed, cystic acne around the chin and jawline,’ Lauren said.

Facial acupuncture is gaining popularity as a non-surgical treatment for acne, fine lines and wrinkles and skin scarring.


The lips are connected to blood production and the digestive system, so a chapped or broken pout is an indicator that something may be amiss in those areas.

Imbalances in stomach acid, poor diet and dehydration cause cracked lips, as the body pulls water from the intestines to hydrate cells, leading to dryness in the colon, skin and lips.

Drinking coconut water or drinks infused with added electrolytes helps to rapidly re-hydrate the digestive system and re-balance natural levels of sodium and potassium, which cells need to transport water around the body.

If you are concerned about your health or specific symptoms, book a consultation with your GP.