Chinese Medicine and Skin Health

The skin is the largest organ of the human body. Just like your lungs, liver, and heart, it needs TLC. However, when it comes to skin issues, the health of the internal organs often reigns supreme to any topical care you can give to your skin itself. That’s because when there is an imbalance happening with one or more of your organ systems, it can manifest externally, with one of the most common external manifestations being acne.

It’s important to know that your acne is different than your friend’s acne, which is different from their friend’s acne. Chinese Medicine works on a root/branch system, which is that every condition or illness has a root (cause) and a branch (symptom/manifestation). Here, the acne is the branch, so the only way to fix the problem is to get to the root, which differs with each individual.

Chinese Medicine practitioners look at the system as a whole, as well as the location and quality of the acne. From there they will determine the cause of your acne, which is likely heat, stagnation, or dampness, each one of these having a different manifestation. For example, acne caused by heat will generally be red and painful, and if we break it down even more and say it’s due to lung heat specifically, that would manifest on the forehead and cheeks. Each region of the face is connected to a specific organ.

Digestive upset and acne often go hand in hand. It’s really common for someone to come into the clinic and as we treat their digestive issues, their acne clears up. That is a prime example of the Root/Branch system at work.

Lastly, using natural topical products that are free of chemicals is key. It may seem like this concept is only working on the branch or symptom, but what you put on your skin eventually gets absorbed internally, affecting your organ systems as well.

An easy home remedy for acne:

Fill a bowl about halfway with boiling water. Drape a towel over your head to create a tent and let the steam open your pores for a few minutes. Dab your face with a towel to dry it and then, using a cotton ball or tissue, apply apple cider vinegar to your whole face. Let it dry and then apply your moisturizer. This is best done before bed, as the scent of ACV can be a bit off-putting.

Apple Cider Vinegar restores the skin’s pH level. It also has natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.