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TCM Rejuvenation, Rehabilitation and Life Cultivation in

the Prevention and Treatment of ACNE

Understanding Background Factors about ACNE


• Chronic inflammation of the hair follicle and sebaceous (sweat) gland
• Can also manifest in non-inflammatory forms which are referred to as pimples,
spots, zits
• Frequently occurs in adolescent girls and boys
• Also seen in girls and middle-aged women prior to their monthly period
• May occur in adult men and women (up to ~45 years) facing extreme stress, oily,
greasy, meaty diets with or without poor digestion
• Believed to be related to the production of free fatty acid in the local area by
propionic acne bacillus in the sweat gland (i.e. bacteria enters the pores)

• Overall is caused by diet, lifestyle


i. Diet: excessive greasy, oily, meaty, fast food, deep-fried, rich, dairy (milk
& cheeses) foods, including seafood, irregular meals, eating meals too
late at night; drinking alcohol
ii. Lifestyle: go to sleep too late, lack of quality sleep (affects endocrine &
hormone system when not enough sleep); lack of quality exercise;
stressful emotional school or workplace; filled with negative, harmful
thoughts about self or others; watch or play violent video or TV (mind,
body, spirit absorbs harmful energetic toxins that accumulate over time
from constantly engaging in this activity à creates negative thought
patterns that in turn harmfully affect the genetic makeup and DNA of
human structure)

• Result is accumulation of heat in Lung and Stomach that fumigates the face
along the meridians pathway leading also to dampness
• Repeated or sustained acne conditions lead to poor qi mechanism, phlegm
accumulation and blood stasis (can become toxic heat)

Diagnosis
• Mostly occur on face, forehead, cheek, beside nose, upper neck and upper
region of chest, back and scapula
• Raised red papules the size of a sesame seed, sometimes with black or white tip
• If squeezed, tip is seen in grey/black in colour with yellow and white fat discharge
• After rupture and absorption, temporary pigmentation or small-pitted scar may be
left
• Severe stages seen in adolescence is often cured gradually by itself following
adolescence period

Health Care in Prevention of Acne and During Acne Period


1. Wash face daily with gentle soap cleanser or herbal-based specialized face wash
for acne skin (eg. Pi Zhi Washing Water or Dian Dao San Washing Water)
2. Massage face during face wash
3. Apply non-comedogenic (non-clogging of skin pores) face moisturizer after
washing
4. Eat less chocolate, sugar, candy, dessert, dairy products, oily, deep-fried, fast
foods, seafood & spicy foods
5. Eat more fresh vegetables (raw and cooked), mung bean soup and fruits
(especially pears, apples)
6. Do not squeeze acne papules à can cause infection and scarring of skin
7. Drink enough warm fluids daily (not cold drinks) to help flush out toxins
8. Maintain smooth bowel movement to assist healthy functioning of qi mechanism
(if constipated get heat stagnation in LI causing acne to worsen since LI is
interior-exterior pair of LU)
9. Regulate emotions so they are more calm and less prone to harmful negative
environments à avoid violent TV or video games, think positive thoughts about
self, others and the future; forgive and accept self and others; seek to be around
happy, sincere, trustworthy, encouraging, unconditionally accepting kind friends
who are well-thinking
10. Develop an exercise routine 2-3 times per week that gets heart rate up and
sweat glands producing sweat to open skin pores to release stagnation build-up
in the skin and also soothes liver qi
11. Avoid alcohol (too hot and is absorbed directly into blood from stomach)

Acupuncture for Acne

1. LI4, LIV3 (four gates to open up for toxins release and LI4 is command point for
face, clears heat);
2. LI11 to clear heat
3. LU5, LU10 to promote Lung qi meridian circulation and to clear heat
4. ST36, ST40 to clear heat using reducing method, support zheng qi of SP and to
promote resolution of phlegm build up and prevent further phlegm accumulation
5. SP6 to support yin base
6. Back shu pts depending on organ differentiation based on root cause (diet,
emotions, lifestyle, etc.) à BL13, 20, 21, 18, 19

For inflammatory acne, prick and bleed DU14 and/or apex of ear

For girls and women who get acne before their period, this is disharmony of Chong and
Ren meridians and may be combined with irregular menstruation or PMS; in addition to
regular health maintenance, improved diet and regulated emotions, begin acupuncture
treatment one week before period to prevent acne onset.

Ear Acupuncture

Use ear seeds or needles at these points: Lung, diaphragm, endocrine, subcortex
Can also add liver, stomach, kidney depending on organ differentiation

Herbs for Acne

1. Huang Lian Jie Du Tang + Pi Pa Ye, Sang Bai Pi, Ju Hua, Jin Yin Hua
2. Chai Hu Shu Gan San or Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San for girls/women getting acne
prior to menses
3. Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin (for nodular and cystic acne of phlegm & blood stagnation
syndrome) + Ban Xia, Xia Ku Cao, Chi Shao Yao, Chuan Xiong, Qing Pi

References
1. Surgery of TCM textbook and notes from Dermatology of TCM class
2. http://tcm.health-info.org/Dermatology/
3. Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton