Acne and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers acne as a skin condition that is mainly associated with the pathogenic effects of Heat on the Fundamental Substances, the meridians and the Zang Fu organs. Excessive heat may result from improper diet, stress, fatigue, genetic condition or a natural increase of Yang energy that is typical in puberty.

Heat may have an effect on the Stomach or Lung Meridians and can travel to the facial skin and the skin of the chest where acne’s characteristic inflammation can occur. If the acne appears on the back, it means the Heat escaped from the Small Intestine and Bladder channel. In the Lung Meridian, the External Pathogen of the Wind aggravates Heat that causes redness while it is exacerbated in the Stomach Meridian by consuming too many spicy and fatty foods.

Heat may also change into Toxic Heat or affect the Blood and cause lesions. Lastly, emotional wellbeing is also a factor in the formation of acne. Very intense emotions of stress, anxiety, sadness, or anger can disrupt the body’s harmony and lead to Qi stagnation, causing Heat to transmit to the surface of the skin and manifest as acne.

TCM acne treatment is a great alternative to conventional methods. The basic approach in Traditional Chinese Medicine in order to treat acne is to remove the underlying pathogenic heat from the related meridian, organ or Fundamental Substance. One TCM method that can be used to relieve acne symptoms is acupuncture but the preferred modality to treat acne is Chinese herbal medication.

To use herbal medicine, a combination of herbs will be prescribed according to the diagnosed type of pathogenic Heat in the body. An individual can take in herbal formulations, which may come in liquid, tablet or powder form, and apply a topical solution to the affected area to reduce inflammation and prevent new acne formation. Herbal medicine also lessens internal dampness and enhances the function of the intestines to prevent toxic buildup that contributes to acne.

Since nutrition plays a significant role in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the TCM physician will also include dietary recommendations in the acne treatment regimen. A low-carbohydrate and high-protein diet is advised while fried and processed foods should be avoided. TCM also stresses lifestyle changes, resulting in not just acne treatment but the restoration of balance in the body.

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