Ayurvedic Facial Diagnosis: What are the Lines on your Face Revealing about your Health?

Although they say you should not judge a book by its cover, it is true that you can read a lot into one’s health by examining the lines on their face.  In Ayurveda, facial diagnosis is a common practice and powerful diagnostic tool, just as reading the tongue, nails and pulse.  Often this is done as a complimentary practice to confirm ideas and findings, but also can reveal hidden secrets that may not have been so clear.  By reading the lines on a person’s face, one can reveal current disorders, past history of disorders, or even potential disorders to come.  Since the lines do not tend to appear overnight, these telltale signs are often revealing chronic (long-term) issues such as malabsorption, low liver energy, weakness in the kidneys, adrenal fatigue and even emotional disturbances such as unresolved grief.

Common findings with facial diagnosis:
  • Malabsorption
  • Low liver and/or spleen energy
  • Low kidney and/or adrenal energy
  • Weak reproductive organs
  • Weak prostate; future prostate issues
  • High cholesterol
  • Low lung energy; chronic respiratory issues
  • Chronic worry; high anxiety
  • Low libido
  • Unresolved, deep seated grief
  • History of high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Endometriosis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Future hypothyroid disorder
Ayurvedic Facial Diagnosis

Photo Credit: “Textbook of Ayurveda: VOL 2” written & illustrated by Dr Lad

As you can see in this lovely illustration above, nearly every line on the face has a meaning to it.  The deeper the groove, the more severe and chronic the issue may be.  If the line is very slight but detectable, it is most likely pointing to an issue that is a bit more recent and mild.  However, these issues should still be addressed, as without proper treatment, a mild disorder will eventually become more severe. 

Common Lines on the Face and their Meaning:

1. Horizontal lines on the forehead:

If you are experiencing lines that go horizontal across your forehead, it is most likely due to a history of chronic worry and anxiety.  These lines are telltale signs of this issue and in todays society are all too common.  Excessive anxiety and worry is considered a Vata disorder and can be pacified through Vata-reducing diet, lifestyle and herbal treatments.       

2. Nasolabial lines:

Often called “laugh lines”, prominent nasolabial lines is actually a clear indication of malabsorption (unfortunately nothing to laugh about).  Malabsorption occurs when our bodies are not absorbing nutrients properly due to a weak digestion, improper diet, toxins, inflammation in the GI tract, and other issues.  The more prominent the lines, the more serious the issue, and therefore the longer the treatment process will be.  Other physical signs of malabsorption include teeth marks on the perimeter of the tongue and vertical lines going down the nails.  Treatment for this issue will vary according to the specific cause of the malabsorption.   

Read more on Malabsorption Symptoms and Ayurvedic Treatment here.    

3. Downward lines on the outer edges of the lips (often called Marionette lines):

If you are noticing downward lines coming from the outer side of the lips (where the upper and lower lip meets), this is an indication of chronic, unresolved sadness and grief.  Often called “marionette lines”, these lines can be from past trauma, unresolved childhood experiences, unresolved issues with loved ones or a history of depression, among other occurrences.  Dealing with unresolved grief is not easy as it can bring up suppressed emotions that have been hidden away for quite some time.  Everyone will have their own way to heal from their grief, but the first step will be to examine where it is coming from and allow it the freedom to arise.  Some powerful tools for this are mediation, Yoga, pranayama, journaling, therapy and internal reflection.           

4. Vertical line between the center of the eyebrows:

A vertical line between the eyebrows that lies fairly center, is often an indication of chronic skepticism.  It often indicates a long-term Pitta imbalance and can also be related to one that is overly headstrong, judgmental or critical (all Pitta issues).  If this is the case, Pitta-pacifying measures should be practiced, especially ones that deal with the mind and emotions.    

5. Vertical line on the inner eyebrows (right, left or both):

A vertical line that forms on the right inner eyebrow (between the brows, but more to the right), is revealing low liver energy, a current liver disorder or potential future liver issues.  Alternately, if the line is forming more towards the inner left eye brow, this is a sign of low spleen energy and the possibility of a past, future or current spleen disorder.  These organ lines may come separate on some individuals, although commonly they are seen together.  As with the skepticism line mentioned above, these lines are often caused by a Pitta imbalance and may stem from deep-seated, unresolved anger (a Pitta emotion).     

6. Horizontal line between the eyebrows:

If the line between the eyebrows falls horizontal, this is indicating future prostate, cervix or reproductive issues due to low energy in each respective area.  This line is a bit less common, but may be seen along with a few of the other facial lines indicating weak energy in these areas (continue to read below).  Since this line is said to be a future sign of these issues, one can use this knowledge as a guide to prevention, strengthening these organs before potential disease arises.       

7. Bags and puffiness under the eyes:

Bags and general puffiness under the eyes seems to be a common issue and annoyance for countless individuals.  Many people relate it to being overly tired; however, there is actually a deeper root to this undesirable symptom.  Bags under the eyes are a clear indication of low kidney and/or adrenal energy.  This can be caused by many things including chronic stress, burnt out adrenals, long-term sleep disorder, excessive caffeine intake, genetics, high blood pressure or diabetes.  Treatment will vary due to the specific cause for that individual.  There are several herbs that focus on the health of the kidneys including punarnava and gokshura, and adrenals such as tulsi, licorice, ashwagandha and bala.  These can be taken while also focusing on a proper diet and lifestyle regimen, and of course removing the cause. 

8. Puffiness on the top eyelid:

If there is puffiness showing up over the top eyelid, this is indicating low liver energy.  This can indicate a current liver issue, but also may be a pre-symptom of a future liver disorder.  Therefore if one is experiencing this puffiness, appropriate treatment to heal and strengthen the liver should be administered as soon as possible.      

9. Prominent blood vessels on the temples:

When you see an individual with their blood vessels popping out over the temporal region of the forehead, this is showing a tendency of high blood pressure or hypertension.  This is often a Pitta issue that is caused by excessive stress and anger (which leads to high blood pressure).  Therefore healing these emotions and treating the overall Pitta in the body and mind will help to reduce the high blood pressure and reduce the bulging of the blood vessels.    

10. Missing outer eyebrow:

If you have begun to notice thinning of the outer eyebrows, this can be an indication of a few different issues.  This hair loss may occur in diabetes, hypothyroidism, low blood sugar issues, or even chronic anxiety.  If you are experiencing this issue, it is best to look for other indications of these multiple causes to reveal what the most likely issue is.  For instance if you are experiencing sudden, unexplained weight gain, fatigue, depression and constipation along with the eyebrow hair loss, you are most likely looking at a thyroid issue and therefore should have your TSH levels tested.  As always, the treatment will vary depending on one’s specific causes.     

10. Deep groove on the side of the outer eye:

If you notice a single deep groove stemming from the outer eye and coming outward (we’re not talking about crow’s feet), this may be indicating low reproductive energy.  This can cause issues such as menstrual disorders, infertility, low libido, menopausal issues, impotence and other related disorders.  Often treatment of these issues involves proper diet, lifestyle and herbal treatment that will remove the cause and nourish these organs. 

11. Deep nasal groove:

If you notice deep grooves on the outside of the nostrils, this is showing low lung energy, chronic allergies or a history of respiratory illness.  This could be a general weakness in this area, although it most likely stems from a history of asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia or something of the like.  When this deep groove is seen, one should work to strengthen the lungs with the appropriate herbs, while avoiding potential allergies and other triggers such as overexertion, etc.  If there is congestion and mucus in the lungs there is most likely a Kapha disorder, dryness and tightness will reveal a Vata condition; and inflammation and infection presumes a Pitta imbalance. 

12. Earlobe crease:

Amazingly enough, even the lines on your earlobe can indicate your current health condition and future risks.  If you see a line that runs downward or sideways on the earlobes, you are most likely seeing a sign of high cholesterol and potential risk for future heart disease.  These are both considered a Kapha disorder and therefore one will mostly likely benefit from a Kapha pacifying diet and lifestyle regimen while taking an herbal formula that works to reduce cholesterol levels and strengthen the heart.   

13. Prominent philtrum:

Although this is often looked at as an attractive feature on many individuals, a prominent philtrum is actually an indication of a low libido and potentially weak reproductive organs.  Therefore if you are seeing a prominent philtrum above your lips, you may benefit from a rejuvenative regimen that works to strengthen the reproductive organs and increase overall sexual potency. 

Read more on how to ignite the sexual fire with Ayurveda here.        

14. Dimples on cheeks:

Although there is no denying how cute a nice set of dimples are on an individual, according to Ayurveda, they are actually a sign of low reproductive energy.  This may be seen as an obvious dimple in the cheek area (like in the picture), or can also show up as a vertical line or crease where the dimple typically lies.  Either way, this may be an indication of a current low libido, menstrual disorders, hormonal issues, impotence, infertility or a future indication of issues to come and should be addressed accordingly.       

15. Horizontal groove below the lower lip:

If your chin is sporting a horizontal groove (often curved slightly downwards), this is most likely an indication of deep-seated, unresolved grief being held in the body.  Alternatively, this may also be a sign of a low libido (or unfortunately both).   If you suspect unresolved grief, this can be remedied by using some subtle tools to release these stored emotions, allowing them the space and attention to be processed.  This may include Yoga, meditation, pranayama, self-care techniques, journaling, therapy, or talking with loved ones.  Whatever method you resonate with, make it a part of your routine, moving slow to avoid releasing too much all at once!

15. Dimple on chin (cleft chin):

The classic dimple chin has more meaning that just a unique feature on a person.  This may instead be an implication that there is a weak prostate (or cervix in females), and can be a predromal sign of issues to come in these vital organs.  Therefore one with this feature should take precaution and strengthen this organ before any obvious disorder occurs. 

16. Double chin:

Not surprisingly, a double chin is considered a sign of a Kapha imbalance and can indicate current or future hypothyroidism.  If this is the case, the Kapha should be pacified through diet, lifestyle and herbal treatments, while working to increase the metabolism to prevent or treat the low thyroid energy. 


So now that you have a better idea of what the lines on your face are revealing, the question is, “what can you do with your findings?”.  Of course this will look different for each individual, since the causes of these issues may come from genetics, improper diet, improper lifestyle, or general misuse (or all of the above).  Therefore, once you come to realize the potential health issue that is prevalent, you can then examine further to find out the causes of the imbalance.  While you work to remove the causes (this is not always easy), you can simultaneously be taking herbs and following the appropriate diet and lifestyle plan that will help to strengthen the organs or systems needed.

For example, if you have several lines pointing to low liver energy, you can then examine why this may be.  You then realize there is liver issues prevalent in your family, and you also have a mild history of consistent alcohol intake and deep-rooted anger (the liver is the organ of anger).  You would then work to reduce the alcohol consumption, while also taking some liver strengthening herbs such as Guduchi, Kutki and Neem.  You can also perform a mild detox to flush out toxins and then go on a Pitta-reducing diet.  Finally you would also need to address the anger issues and work to create emotional balance while processing through any anger that has been stored in the body.  This can be done through meditation, Yoga, pranayama and other methods of healing the subtle body and mind.

So before trying out any magical wrinkle treatment, first examine a bit deeper and discover what your face is trying to tell you.  Although some facial lines are easier to reduce than others, treating the root cause will not only give you a more youthful look, but even more important, increased health and wellness within.

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  1. Amy Peterson January 23, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

    Awesome article, Danielle. I can attest to the loss of outer eyebrow hair due to anxiety. Incredible!

  2. Aiyappan Menon January 27, 2017 at 8:52 am #

    Useful information! Thank you.

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