Acupuncture for Acne

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There is nothing like finding a pimple on your face before a big event but when you face this situation every day and it’s not one pimple but acne…oh my.  The human body has a miraculous capacity to heal itself – acupuncture is a modality that activates this healing process.

Acne on different parts of the face relates to varying imbalances.  Breakouts near or around the mouth are symptoms of hormonal imbalance, while lower cheek breakouts are potentially due to respiratory congestion, and are usually found with smokers. Forehead acne tends to be related to digestive problems. Treatment depends on the individual, but generally speaking, having a clean diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, as well as making efforts to eliminate common culprits such as sugar, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and an excess of spicy and greasy foods can prove to be effective. Gut health is vital to clearing skin issues, so daily probiotics and digestive enzymes are often recommended, as well as proper hydration.

Getting more technical, cystic acne presents itself as large pimples that are hard and very painful. They usually come up on the cheeks, chin, around the mouth, jawline and neck and last for at least 2 weeks before going away, never really coming to a head. It can affect anyone, however, more commonly teenagers and adult women. Perhaps you’ve had it all your life, or only started getting it after you came off the pill.  In Chinese Medicine, cystic type acne indicates a pattern of ‘blood stagnation’. This means there is an aspect of the blood circulation not functioning as well as it should be, causing blockage and swelling to occur. Often women who suffer from cystic acne will have very dark, thick and clotted menstrual bleeding. Of course, there are many other things to take into account, but it shows us a bigger picture of what the acne may stemming from.

Whiteheads are usually small to moderately sized pimples that present with a white-coloured head. This white head is usually made up of oil and pus.  Congestion and smaller pimples often accompany this type of acne.  In Chinese Medicine, the pattern that often causes this type of outbreak is what we see as toxicity and heat in the body. A great way to imagine what this heat means is if you picture a volcano, where an eruption of heat is coming from the centre of the earth, similar to a pimple coming up from “heat” in the body. Chinese Medicine for acne is very effective in removing this “heat” (Yin and Yang) in your body to bring about balance, thus treating the cause of your skin eruptions.

Purple and brown pigmentation, uneven and bumpy, pitted skin can also be improved dramatically with acupuncture!

Toxicity in the body can arise for various reasons, however, it is most commonly from lifestyle and digestive imbalances. If your digestion is not running 100%, chances are your body is not ridding itself of wastes as well as it could. Chinese Medicine and acupuncture can help boost digestion, clear toxicity and thus improve skin problems.  Think of the body as having a symphony of invisible superhighways known as meridians, where freeways of information can become blocked and, thus, need to be cleared and balanced.

Acupuncture focuses on the root cause of the problem rather than the branch of the symptom. By targeting the underlying cause of why the patient’s body is producing acne, instead of just treating it topically, they can have more lasting results. By getting to the root of the issue – diet, emotions, or hormones, the patient is able to work with the acupuncturist to make possible dietary adjustments, augment their treatment with Chinese herbs and supplements, and treat the skin from the inside out.

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Katherine Maslen

Author

Hey, I’m Katherine Maslen, naturopath, nutritionist, host of The Shift podcast, author and renegade for health.
Since completing 2 bachelor degrees in health science over 12 years ago, I’ve been helping peeps just like you to be their best through awesome health. I’ve spent most of this time one on one in clinical practice – in the trenches with my clients to navigate them through the minefield that is imperfect health.

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