Worrisome skin problems can range from symptoms as excruciating as acne, pimples, psoriasis and eczema to simply having a sallow dull skin complexion. In Chinese Medicine there are some basic principles that we follow to heal skin problems such as acne, pimples, eczema and psoriasis. No matter what type of skin problem we might have it can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing if it affects our face. For long term skin and face health you need a multi pronged approach. Don’t get seduced by the single quick fixes for acne and pimples and other skin problems that you read about on the internet – especially the topical creams that you put on your face and skin. They may be simple but they are usually not effective enough for face and skin health.
There are seven key factors that need to be addressed in skin problems and face health. In Chinese Medicine skin is connected to the large intestine and lungs so a good Chinese Medicine practitioner should always begin treating skin and face problems such as acne, pimples, eczema and psoriasis through the digestion.
1. Treat the gut: Leaky gut and parasite issues are in fact a big deal in the treatment of face health and skin health through Chinese Medicine. This approach is not well known or widely used in Western or conventional treatments. Conventional treatments focus mostly on topical skin treatments: skin and face creams, antibiotics and steroids which of course affect the digestion, kill off the good bacteria and can make the acne and pimples worse. When the digestion gets worse the face and skin get worse and it becomes one aggravating and frustrating, even embarrassing vicious cycle. So improving your digestion is an important step to improve face health and skin health and to reduce acne, pimples and other skin problems.
2. Improve your Diet: A simple first step is to determine if you are more Yin or more Yang. A lot has been written about general diet for the management of acne, pimples and other skin problems, for example avoid greasy foods, eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, go on a detox diet, but in Chinese Medicine we are much more specific. We hold the same general principles but why is it important to determine if you are Yin or Yang? Because then you can be more aware of the foods that are right for you and therefore be more effective in reducing acne, pimples and other skin conditions. If you’re more Yang for example you would want to avoid hot spicy foods because they would exacerbate the heat toxin that is already in your body creating the skin condition of acne or pimples. If you are too Yin you would want to avoid cold or damp foods, which contribute to different skin and face problems.
3. Reduce Heat Toxins: In Chinese Medicine there are various forms of heat such as heat in the liver, heat in the stomach or lungs, heat in the blood and damp heat. Different kinds of heat can result in different kinds of skin and face problems.
4. Healthy Breathing: Oxygenates the blood, improves circulation and lymph flow and helps the body, face and skin to detoxify so that acne, pimples, psoriasis and eczema symptoms can be reduced. Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Yoga breathing, – these are all good ways to improve the circulation to your skin, help your body detox impurities from the skin, get that heat toxin flushed out and acne and pimples on the skin cleared up.
5. Avoid toxic skin products: These can contribute to the heat toxins in your body and skin and contribute to acne and pimples on the skin. Even in “organic” skin products you can find petrochemicals and preservatives that don’t just irritate your surface skin but also get absorbed through the skin into your body. So read the labels and become skin care savvy. eg avoid methyl and propyl parabens, vaseline, and excessive use of skin creams that might have a petroleum base. Household and garden chemicals, household cleaning products can also create heat toxins which affect your skin health.
6. Release old Trauma: Areas of your body where you have had accidents can be weaker than the rest of you and therefore be more susceptible to skin problems. Any area of trauma or emotional distress creates what we call “stagnation” in Chinese Medicine and contributes to heat toxins in the blood. This can manifest as skin problems such as acne, pimples, psoriasis or eczema.
7. Emotions: In Chinese Medicine bottled up emotions build and create heat just like old trauma, so make sure you de-stress as much as you can, to reduce the chance of acne and pimples on your skin and face.
BONUS: Probably the most important question that a doctor of Chinese Medicine should ask someone one with acne, pimples, eczema or psoriasis is “are you constipated?” This would also help them determine what kind of Yin or Yang foods and activities would help the skin. So make sure that you’re not constipated and pay attention to the above factors for beautiful, healthy face and skin.