Acupuncture for acne vulgaris
The most common form of acne is called acne vulgaris and is a skin disease that occurs when hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oil.
Acne is one of the most common types of skin problems and can include inflammatory lesions (cystic acne).
Causes of acne
In traditional Chinese medicine theory, skin issues such as acne are caused by too much heat in the body. Heat can be caused by:
- Hormone imbalance (luteal hormone-LH)
- Eating too much spicy foods
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Eating too much sugar
As heat rises, it tends to just affect the upper body, hence why acne tends to just appear on the face, chest and back.
Pharmaceutical drugs can be warm in nature, which causes heat that can lead to acne.
Treatment for acne
Treatment of acne vulgaris depends on the type of acne the person suffers from. Patients with acne would benefit from medical advice, which includes good hygiene practices such as cleaning of the face and skin pores. Steroid creams are sometimes prescribed to combat the acne but don't treat the root cause.
Generally acupuncture treatment is very safe and effective at treating acne. It has been used for to treat this problems for thousands of years. It can help to regulate a woman's hormones, which improves their balance and reduce excessive hormones such as luteal hormone and testosterone allowing for clear skin.
Randomized controlled trials have shown that the stimulation of acupuncture points can treat acne and may work by:
- Regulating hormones which can reduce hormonal acne problems
- Reduce inflammation (Zijlstra 2003; Kavoussi 2007)
- Enhance immune cell types (Kawakita 2008)
- Increase local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling
I am a member of the British Acupuncture Council and use acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of acne.
Download my acne factsheet.
Kavoussi B, Ross BE. The neuroimmune basis of anti-inflammatory accupuncture. Integr Cancer Ther 2007; 6: 251-7.
Kawakita K et al. Do Japanese style accupuncture and moxibustion reduce symptoms of the common cold? eCAM 2008; 5: 481-9.
Komori M et al. Microcirculatory responses to accupuncture stimulation and phototherapy. Anesth Analg 2009; 108: 635-40.
Zijlstra FJ et al. Anti-inflammatory actions of accupuncture. Mediators Inflamm 2003; 12: 59-69.