Acne is a disorder of the hair follicle sebaceous gland. This gland can get clogged up with proteins and oils from the skin. The clogged pore develops into a pimple, a white head or a blackhead.
The pimple allows for a situation which bacteria can take advantage. When the pimple becomes infected, it leads to inflammation, and the acne cycle begins. Clogged pores and bacteria lead to more inflammation and more acne. The pimples become what is called a papule, a pus filled lesion. In some people this develops into large painful pimples, commonly referred to as cysts.
Acupuncture, topical herbs, and internal herbal formulas can help reduce this cycle of acne development by regulating hormones that effect skin secretions, decreasing inflammation and reducing infection.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach to Acne
In Chinese medicine, acne is most often associated with imbalances called heat, dampness, and blood stagnation. The correct analysis and treatment of these imbalances leads to the long lasting improvement. The imbalances can develop from stress, interaction with the environment, hormonal changes, or other causes.
Dampness- Dampness is the main cause of white heads and black heads. People with dampness generally have oily skin and may sweat a lot. Dampness may occur from hormonal imbalances which is why teenagers often get acne. It is also the reason that stress may lead to acne, because stress can have a profound effect on hormones. Acupuncture and herbs that treat dampness help to decrease oiliness on the skin and regulate the hormone imbalances.
Heat – Heat imbalances are reflected in red skin, red inflamed papules and possibly pustules scabs and crusts. This is very common with those suffering from acne. If there is very bad inflammation, it is called “heat toxicity.” This is the Chinese medicine way of describing infection and inflammation in the skin. The acupuncture and herbs that clear away the heat have been shown to have many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Blood Stagnation- Blood stagnation occurs from long term clogging of the pores. Purplish skin and purple raised lesions is the main sign of blood stagnation. Herbs that help with blood stagnation help to increase circulation in the area to release the clogged pore.
I would be happy to speak with you more about how acupuncture can help reduce your acne and break the cycle of breakouts. Call 212-319-5757 or e-mail us to make an appointment.