If your dresser is full of face moisturizers, scrubs, spot correctors, and failed cleansers, and you’re still seeing unsightly red pimples every time you look in a mirror, you may need to change your methods. Living with acne can be frustrating – aside from the emotional and physical effects, it can also be very painful.
If modern treatment methods have done nothing to help you overcome your acne, you may want to try acupuncture. Acupuncture can assist to relive many different ailments, from chronic pain to psychiatric issues, and new research has shown that it can also help with acne.
How Traditional Chinese Medicine Views Acne
In Western medicine, acne vulgaris is explained as red pimples resulting from clogged, infected, or inflamed hair follicles. Oils, makeup, dead skin cells all combined on the skin can clog hair follicles on the face.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnoses pimples and blackheads on the skin as the result of excess bacteria, heat, and dampness due to poor eating habits, emotional imbalances, and toxins in the surroundings. TCM teaches that they are all in an energy channel in the body which connects all organs including the skin.
Organs such as lungs, stomach and spleen are involved in the prevention of acne due to their functions and the energy channels linking them to the skin. First, the lungs control the skin, including the hair follicles and the opening and closing of pores that release excess heat from the body. This is why most lung diseases result in skin eruptions. Research has revealed that substances that are released in the body, from skin conditions like eczema, can circulate through the body and trigger allergic reactions.
The stomach, which is naturally warm to breakdown food for digestion, can easily store too much heat. When too much heat has gathered in the stomach, pimples can then form on areas that share the same energy channel, such as the face and chest. Any dampness can then result in oily skin which often leads to acne. Dampness in the spleen is also believed to affect the skin since it works with the stomach in digestion by transforming food that has been digested to refined essences. If the spleen is not working well, dampness can accumulate more easily in the stomach. Spicy and greasy foods can usually affect the spleen’s role in digestion. TCM believes that these factors; as well as stress, eating habits, and hereditary genes, contribute to acne.
How Acupuncture Treats Acne
An acupuncturist may decide what treatment methods to use based on the individual’s diagnosis. Generally an interview is done with the client in addition to the inspection of the tongue and skin. The patient’s pulse may also be taken. Once the cause for the acne is established, the acupuncturist can begin treatment. Fine hair-thin, pre sterilized disposable needles are inserted to acupuncture points that correspond to the skin. The acupressure points used for treating acne are usually related to energy points that connect the stomach, lung, and spleen. Some acupuncturists will also recommend herbs to patients with acne.