If you struggle with acne, you know what a difficult problem it is to treat and to live with. In stubborn cases, conventional treatments can require multiple courses of drugs that are toxic to the system over time and various skin care agents may be helpful only to a point. If you are someone for whom these treatments have had minimal success, then you are a good candidate for acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

How does Chinese Medicine Treat Acne?

Acne is a disorder of the sebaceous glands of hair follicles. Many factors are responsible for the development of acne including hormones, blockage of the pores, sebum secretion and bacterial infection. According to Chinese medicine, the development of acne can be compounded by genetics, digestive or gastrointestinal function, emotions, skin care products and the environment. Therefore, when problems manifest on the skin, it is a signal that a deeper imbalance is going on somewhere in the body. On your first visit, your acupuncturist will ask you detailed questions about your health in order to determine where this deeper problem is occurring. Information about your health—including areas like your digestion, energy levels, stress, menstrual cycle if you are a woman and even your sleep—give your acupuncturist the information she/he needs to diagnose what may be causing your acne. This diagnosis determines the root of the problem and goes beyond just looking at the manifestation. Acupuncture treatments are then directed at adjusting this underlying imbalance. Once this internal problem is resolved, your skin problem will be eliminated.

How Many Visits will I Need?

With a condition like acne, a series of initial acupuncture treatments are necessary to address the problem. During this period, you will receive Chinese herbal formulas, prescribed specifically for your constitution, which you take daily to combat the problem internally. Chinese herbs are the most effective and important component to the treatment of acne. Your acupuncturist may also give you recommendations on supplements or skin care that will speed the healing process, as well as advise you on necessary dietary changes. Once your acupuncturist has a good idea of your particular pattern of acne and its cycles, you can transition into monthly or seasonal treatments while continuing on your herbal formula. The duration of treatment will depend on the severity of your acne, how long you’ve had it and your willingness to take herbs and adjust your diet as needed. After your first visit, your acupuncturist will be able to give you a specific treatment plan based on all of the above factors.