Acne affects many people. Traumatically common in those oh-so self-conscious high school years, it sometimes affects older people too. There are a multitude of creams and lotions available for use, with varying degrees of effectiveness, but there is a safe, simple alternative – acupuncture for acne.
Acne is a disorder of the hair follicle sebaceous glands. When they are blocked sebum is unable to drain to the surface and is instead trapped. In simple terms, at the bottom of each hair is a little hole. In the hole is a gland producing oil. If the hole gets blocked, the oil can’t get out and builds up below the surface. These are usually called whiteheads or blackheads. If the blockage continues and the sebum (oil) breaks out of the side of the follicle (hole) under the skin, it progresses to inflammatory acne, and this is what you’re usually looking at when you see a pimple.
Acne is more common in people aged 12 -20, although it can occur later in life. It’s genetic, so if your parents had it, you probably will too. It’s influenced by hormones, which is one reason why it’s more common in teenagers and women during certain stages of their menstrual cycle. It’s most common on the face, chest and back, because that’s where those pesky sebaceous glands are.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the main underlying cause of acne is Heat in the Blood. The body expresses the heat outwards (towards the skin) and upwards (towards the face) to clear the heat. Additional diagnoses may be heat in the Lung (because the Lung controls the skin’s pores in TCM), Heat in the Stomach (if it’s easily affected by diet), or perhaps Stasis of Blood (the heat is caused by the body’s energy striving harder to move the stagnant blood).
Acupuncture for acne will be individually tailored to each case, depending on diagnosis, however common acupuncture points used for acne treatment include LI4 (on the hand), LI11 (on the arm), SP6 (on the leg) and GV14 (on the back). Acupuncture uses thin, single-use sterile needles that are usually inserted and left in place for approximately 20 minutes. It is generally not painful and most people quite enjoy acupuncture treatments.
Chinese Herbal Medicine may also be used to treat acne, and dietary advice will usually be given – fatty and spicy foods are generally a big no-no. Squeezing pimples can cause scarring and should be avoided. Keep the affected areas clean with warm water and a clean cloth – no soapy stuff – and lay off the make-up.
So if those pesky zits won’t go away, maybe acupuncture for acne can help you!