Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acne

Traditional Chinese medicine often views acne as a disease primarily related to pathogenic influence of heat and damp heat on the meridians (the 12 pathways through which qi, or vital energy, flows), the major organs, or blood and bodily fluids. Heat often develops from stress, overwork, or even diet. The latter is often seen as the cause of a lot of illnesses, whether physical or mental, by TCM.

Acne and Different Skin Types

As with face reading, a person’s facial condition is important in determining his or her overall health. Normal skin is usually clear, although slightly oily. According to the book, Your Body Never Lies, by Michio Kushi, skin’s appearance is generally the result of foods eaten.

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Oily Skin

Oily skin is the result of an overconsumption of fats, oils, or disorders in fat metabolism. Many areas are affected with this skin condition, including the liver, gallbladder, lungs, and kidneys. IN addition to skin problems, without reducing certain types of fats and oils from the diet, serious medical conditions can result. Conditions include diabetes, gallstones, tumors of the breast, ovaries, and uterus and hearing loss. To reduce possible health problems, meats, poultry, eggs, animal food, sugar, flour, and vegetable oils should be eaten minimally.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is a result of dehydration or overconsumption of fats and oils. There is often a large amount of fat and cholesterol in the blood, which ultimately can affect the heart. The liver, gallbladder, lungs, intestines, spleen, and pancreas will also be affected. Symptoms of this condition reveal hardening of the arteries, irregular pulse, mental rigidity, and possible formation of cysts. All meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and sugar/sweets should be eliminated.

Rough Skin

According to Your Body Never Lies, rough skin has two causes. The first is the overconsumption of proteins and heavy fats. The second is an overconsumption of sugar/sweets, fruits and juices, or drugs. A protein overconsumption hardens the arteries and accumulates cholesterol and fat around the organs. Other symptoms with protein overconsumption include intestinal disorders, muscular tension, joint pain, stiffness of the neck and shoulders, and fatigue.

Additionally, an overconsumption of sweets will lead to disorders of the nervous and circulatory systems. Possible other issues with this type of overconsumption may be excessive sweating, frequent urination, diarrhea, vertigo, and emotional distress.

Acne and its Location on the Body in TCM

Acne is naturally under the yin category. This is because yin has a responsibility in mental (spirit) functions. The red and white coloring that acne causes is due to the expansion of blood capillaries and fatty tissues. Emotional distress and dietary habits are often the cause of acne. Different types of heat can cause the severity of the condition, resulting on where acne appears on the body.

For example, excessive heat in the lung and stomach area can be seen on the skin in the facial, chest, and shoulder areas. If there is too much heat in the bladder area, acne will appear on the back. If damp heat arises, the skin will feel greasy and nodules will be deep. Toxic heat, a severe type of heat, will create inflamed, pus-filled skin and redness. Soreness and bleeding may also occur with this type.

Treatment in TCM begins with conventional methods, such as prescribed medications. However, if the medications prove ineffective, acupuncture and herbs (the preferred method) are used to clear and eliminate the excess heat from the body.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the body works as a whole and illness is a reflection of its parts not working together. The development of acne can be spread throughout the body, depending on emotional health and diet. It is best to eliminate those foods or oils that may aggravate acne symptoms or learn relaxation methods to ensure good emotional health.