Chinese Medicine Dermatology: A Free Introductory E-book

The practice of Chinese Medicine Dermatology possesses a deeply-rooted history, dating back to over 2000 years.  I am proud to be one of the few Doctors of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine who work within this long tradition of treating skin diseases. 

As a part of this passion, I have had the honor to contribute to and edit a free Ebook dedicated to educating patients and practitioners about Chinese Medicine Dermatology.  This project holds a special place in my heart, not just professionally, but also on a personal level due to my close association with the partner organizations involved. 

This book is a collaboration between the International Traditional Chinese Medicine Dermatology Association and Learn Skin, an esteemed online integrative dermatology organization. It’s truly a testament to the remarkable things we can achieve when we bring together diverse expertise in the pursuit of shared goals.

The ebook An Introduction to Chinese Medicine Dermatology can be downloaded by clicking the image below.

LearnSkin An Introduction to Chinese Medicine Dermatology E Book 1 1

What’s in the Book?

An Introduction to Chinese Medicine Dermatology is a comprehensive guide aimed at illustrating the history, thought process, and powder behind Chinese Medicine Dermatology. It blends historical knowledge with the practical application of the discipline, offering readers a profound understanding of Chinese medicine’s principles and its holistic approach to skin conditions. 

Historical Context: The eBook provides a comprehensive historical overview of Chinese Medicine Dermatology, tracing back its roots to the Shang Dynasty. This foundation establishes a deep appreciation for the ancient wisdom and longevity of the practice.

In-depth Theoretical Understanding: The eBook imparts a profound understanding of the core theories underpinning Chinese Medicine Dermatology, such as the processes of disease identification and pattern differentiation. These concepts are explained with clarity and depth to allow a comprehensive grasp of these complex theories.

Modern Applications: The eBook provides a bridge between historical practice and modern-day application, detailing how the principles of Chinese medicine are utilized to treat contemporary dermatological conditions. This element is essential for practitioners and patients seeking to understand how traditional approaches apply to current health challenges.

Ethics and Safety Practices: In an era where safety and ethical considerations are paramount, the eBook places a strong emphasis on these aspects, outlining necessary precautions and guidelines for safe practice.

Integration with Western Medicine: Acknowledging the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, the eBook explores the integration of Chinese Medicine Dermatology with Western medical treatments. It provides guidelines on when referral to a Western medical dermatologist is appropriate, enhancing the overall treatment strategy.

This eBook serves as a comprehensive resource, combining theoretical knowledge with practical insights to provide an invaluable guide for anyone interested in Chinese Medicine Dermatology.

Scholarly Tradition in Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine stands out for its well-documented scholarly tradition. Since the first books of TCM, written around 300 BCE, Chinese medicine has created an impressive body of literature dedicated to dermatology. This wealth of knowledge has continually been tested, refined, and passed down through generations, leading to a comprehensive and pragmatic healthcare system that is Chinese Medicine today.

Modern Applications of Ancient Wisdom

This historical knowledge and practice can be applied to all types of skin conditions. For example, conditions like perioral dermatitis, lupus , and topical steroid withdrawal, weren’t described in traditional literature, but are now effectively treated by Chinese medicine physicians. The time-tested system of Chinese Medicine continues to provide solutions for modern health disorders.

Understanding Disease through Chinese Medicine

When patients consult a Chinese medicine physician, the process begins with an examination of the skin to determine the presence of a disease. The physicians thoroughly observe the characteristics of the lesion(s) such as shape, size, color, distribution, and presence of scaling, crusting, or erosion which not only determines the disease but also the underlying nature of the imbalance causing the disease. 

The clinician will then delve deeper into the understand of its unique manifestation in the patient. We call this pattern differentiation in that the same condition may be caused by different imbalances. This individualized approach reflects the saying in Chinese medicine: ‘yi bing tong zhi, tong bing yi zhi’ (different diseases, same treatment; same disease, different treatments). 

Treatment Strategies

Treatment strategies typically involve herbal medicines that counter and correct the underlying patterns of the disease. To construct an efficacious customized herbal formula, the disease and its correct pattern must first be identified. Determining a pattern requires understanding the link between concrete symptoms within particular disease mechanisms. Furthermore, the treatment strategy is dynamic, evolving with the patient’s changing state of health, and aims to restore equilibrium to the body-mind system.

Stages of Treatment 

The treatment of skin disease involves clearing acute pathogenic factors (inflammation). This is often related to a manifestation of heat. The herbal medicine will be used to put out the fire. The following stage involves repairing the damage caused by the disease, like rebuilding a house after a fire. This healing process might include nourishing yin and blood, promoting blood circulation, and strengthening digestive function.

A competent physician of Chinese Medicine Dermatology can understand and balance the subtle nuances involved in treating a patient. They identify the skin disease, differentiate its patterns, and design a personalized treatment plan. Furthermore, they are informed about safety issues and know when to refer a patient to a Western medical dermatologist. This holistic approach to treatment has led many patients to achieve long-lasting benefits and resolution of their skin diseases.


This book stands as a testament to the incredible effort, expertise, and dedication of a truly remarkable group of authors and collaborators. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the wonderful contributors who have shared their rich experience and wisdom in this tome. We have an All-Star Line Up to thank: Mazin Al-Khafaji, Trevor Erikson, Toni Balfour, Marnae Ergil, Kevin Ergil, Chava Quist, Thomas Leung, Pia Al-Khafaji, Ute Engelhardt, Antje Pohmer, and Peter Lio.

I wish to express my special thanks to Marnae Ergil and the editors at Learn Skin for their tireless efforts in bringing this project together, especially during my hiatus due to the arrival of my delightful new baby, Harry.

In these acknowledgments, I must reserve special mention for Dr. Mazin Al-Khafaji, a master Chinese Medicine, a globally renowned educator in the field of Chinese Medicine Dermatology, and above all, a dear friend. Mazin’s contribution to this work goes far beyond his exceptional medical expertise and insightful teaching. His passionate commitment to this project, combined with his unwavering support for Chinese medicine dermatology, and the founding of the ITCMDA, has been a cornerstone of this book’s creation. 

Further, this project would not have been possible without the tremendous support and collaboration of the organizations Learn Skin and ITCMDA. Their contribution to this work has been invaluable, and I am immensely grateful for their partnership. This book is not only a fruit of individual labor but also a shining example of the power of collaborative endeavor. Once again, my sincere thanks to all involved in making this valuable resource a reality.

Joseph Alban

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.

Joseph Alban is a Doctor of Acupuncture, New York Licensed Acupuncturist, and NCCAOM Board Certified Herbalist providing the highest quality Acupuncture and Chinese medicine care tailored to your needs.

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