Acne: Answers & Solutions

Still struggling with that acne? Read below to get TCM's take on it.

Who doesn’t want to put their best, most beautiful face forward in today’s world? Well, if you struggle with acne or otherwise troubled skin, you know that owning and having confidence in your facial glow is sometimes a little more challenging (or devastating!). You may also be fairly familiar that in western medicine, it is widely understood that the cause of acne is mainly due to a bacteria called ‘Acne Vulgaris’. It blocks skin pareses and causes the sebaceous (oil) glands to become blocked. The result of this blockage appears as bumps - with or without oily liquid or blood in them.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a little bit different and views acne like so:

In TCM there are internal pathogens (damp-cold-heat-phlegm…) which will cause problems in one way or another. As for acne, it is due to mostly damp-heat or heat in the lungs, stomach, spleen and/or blood. The micro organisms such as Acne Vulgaris are very opportunistic. This means this Microbes are everywhere and everyone has contact with them, but the reason that some experience symptoms such as acne and others do not is actually determined by if the individual’s skin has the appropriate environment for these types of pathogens to grow.

In TCM, this environment is explained as heat or damp heat in the organs’ channels. This is one of the reasons that TCM works holistically. It treats the root cause of diseases as well as the symptoms all together. 

So, where do you go from here? Well, the following outline four TCM suggestions for preventing and treating acne at the source: 

  1. Neutral Diet. Turning down the heat is your diet - and thus in your body - is key. You can do this by avoiding hot spices, hot nature foods like garlic and ginger, greasy and oily foods like fast food or fried food, and consuming less fats and meat (if you do eat meat there is no need to cut it out entirely as that can cause blood deficiency - just be aware of balance and monitor consumption to keep it on the lower end) and add in more neutral foods such as steamed vegetables.

  2. Move the Qi. Practicing physical activity in a moderate (and not sweaty!) fashion to move the energy/blood flow throughout your body will open any stagnations (blockages) that can cause acne. Exercises such as Pilates and Qi-gong that don’t cause stress on your body (like other intense workouts) are a perfect choice. 

  3. Reduce your stress. As well all know, stress can have a significant impact on your skin, and thus by using herbs that are meant to reduce your stress will ultimately help to clear your skin. A soothing and balanced blend of good quality organic herbs (such as our STRESS LESS product) is a beneficial herbal protocol in more ways than one.

  4. Work with a practitioner. Finally, our suggestion is to visit a licensed acupuncturist or TCM Practitioner for your exact diagnosis and customized treatment plan. Cosmetic acupuncture has been a winner in so many cases, and we now see celebrities raving about it too! A TCM doctor will work with your individual needs to eliminate the damp, heat or phlegm in your body and aim to bring it back to its normal and healthy functioning by using acupuncture, herbs and TCM diet therapy.

Don’t let acne get the better of you - you are not your acne, and it does not have to be your identity nor your destiny. With the right regime, it can simply be your history!