An article in the China Daily in December reported that a university student from Mongolia had been suffering from acne for three years using different skincare products without success. Then a doctor prescribed TCM and Tibetan medicine for her skin. He told her to mix a powder with egg white and apply it to her face each night. After three months she had a clear complexion with only a few fading scars. In the East, as well as the West, people battling with skin problems are turning away from conventional beauty products to try more natural remedies. From a Western perspective acne is caused by the sebaceous glands of hair follicles becoming clogged causing pimples. These are exasperated by hormones and bacteria which can become inflamed and produce cysts. Acne is common during teenage years but may also occur in adulthood.
In Oriental medicine not only are skin disorders seen from a physical perspective but the individual’s lifestyle and environment are taken into account. In TCM acne is considered to be a problem of excessive heat and dampness in the lungs, stomach and spleen caused by too much stress, sadness, anger; eating too many greasy, spicy and heavy foods; mold and fungus in the environment; and external wind pathogen. Treatment consists of acupuncture and herbal formulae containing bitter herbs, such as honeysuckle and dandelion.
The lungs are seen as being in charge of the skin. Often in a skin disorder, such as eczema, lung problems will occur. The lungs control the opening and closing of pores to allow the trapped heat that causes acne to escape through the skin.
The stomach needs some heat to aid digestion, however too much will cause blockage in the stomach meridian which runs through the chest and face, resulting in pimples in these areas. If there is dampness also, then the skin will become greasy and oily.
The spleen controls digestion. If digestion is compromised through bad food choices there will not be enough qi to dispose of any dampness, which will then accumulate and cause greasy skin and acne.
Acupuncture treatments can help by clearing heat from the stomach and lungs. Points generally used are Lung 5 at the elbow and Stomach 36 on the leg below the knee. If acne becomes more of a problem with women during their menstrual cycle there may be a stagnation of qi and blood due to extremes in emotions. In this case Liver 3 on the foot and Spleen 6 above the ankle may also help.
A combination of acupuncture, herbal remedies and a change in diet and lifestyle may be of great benefit to the acne sufferer without any of the risky side effects of laser surgery and other commonly used acne treatments.Leave a reply →