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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.


In acupuncture theory, acne is caused by too much heat in the body. Heat can be caused by:

  1. Stress (cortisol)
  2. Testosterone
  3. Hormone imbalance (luteal hormone-LH)
  4. Eating too much spciy foods
  5. Drinking too much alcohol
  6. 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.

Acne is commonly seen in women due to the fluctuation of their hormones. For this reason, acne can typcially occur around a woman's menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS commonly have acne.

Pharmaceutical drugs can be warm in nature, which causes heat that leads to acne.

Acupuncture for Acne

Generally acupuncture is very helpful at treating acne. It can help to regulate a woman's hormones, which improves their balance and reduce excessive hormones such as luteal hormone and testosterone.

Research has shown that acupuncture can treat acne and may work by:

  1. Reduce inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Zijlstra 2003; Kavoussi 2007)
  2. Enhance natural killer cell activity and modulate the number and ratio of immune cell types (Kawakita 2008)
  3. Increase local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling




Kavoussi B, Ross BE. The neuroimmune basis of antiinflammatory acupuncture. Integr Cancer Ther 2007; 6: 251-7.
Kawakita K et al. Do Japanese style acupuncture and moxibustion reduce symptoms of the common cold? eCAM 2008; 5: 4819.
Komori M et al. Microcirculatory responses to acupuncture stimulation and phototherapy. Anesth Analg 2009; 108: 635-40.
Zijlstra FJ et al. Anti-inflammatory actions of acupuncture. Mediators Inflamm 2003; 12: 59-69.