Skin problems of concern can range from symptoms as nagging as acne, pimples, psoriasis and eczema to a sallow, sallow complexion. In Chinese medicine, there are some basic principles that we follow to heal skin problems like acne, pimples, eczema, and psoriasis. No matter what kind of skin problem we have, it can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing when it affects our face. Long-term skin and face health requires a multi-pronged approach. Don’t be fooled by the one-off quick fixes for acne and pimples and other skin problems you read about on the internet — especially the topical creams 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 factorsthat need to be addressed in skin issues and facial health. In Chinese medicine, the skin is connected to the colon and lungs, so a good Chinese medicine practitioner should always start by treating skin and facial problems such as acne, pimples, eczema, and psoriasis through the digestive system.
1. Treat the gut:Leaky gut and parasite problems are indeed a big deal when treating facial and skin health through Chinese medicine. This approach is neither known nor widely used in western or conventional treatments. Traditional treatments mostly focus on topical skin treatments: skin and face creams, antibiotics, and steroids, which can naturally interfere with digestion, kill the good bacteria, and worsen acne and pimples. When digestion gets worse, your face and skin get worse and it becomes an annoying and frustrating, even embarrassing, vicious cycle. Therefore, improving your digestion is an important step in improving face and skin health and reducing 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. Much has been written about general diet to treat acne, pimples and other skin problems, for example avoid greasy foods, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, go on a detox diet, but in Chinese medicine we are much more specific. We have 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 right foods for you and more effectively reduce acne, pimples and other skin conditions. For example, if you are more yang, you should avoid spicy foods as they would aggravate the heat toxin already present in your body and cause the skin condition of acne or pimples. If you are too yin, you should avoid cold or soggy foods, which contribute to various skin and face problems.
3. Reduce Heat Poisons: In Chinese medicine there are different forms of heat such as heat from the liver, heat from the stomach or lungs, heat from the blood and moist heat. Different types of heat can lead to different types of skin and facial problems.
4. Healthy Breathing: Oxygenates the blood, improves blood circulation and lymphatic flow, and helps detoxify the body, face and skin so that acne, pimples, psoriasis and eczema symptoms can be reduced. Tai chi, chi kung, yoga breathing—these are all great ways to improve blood flow to your skin, help your body detoxify skin impurities, flush heat toxins, and get rid of acne and pimples on the skin.
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’ll find petrochemicals and preservatives that not only irritate your skin’s surface, but are also absorbed through the skin into your body. So read the labels and become savvy in skin care. For example, avoid methyl and propyl parabens, petroleum jelly, and overuse of skin creams that may be petroleum based. Household and garden chemicals and household cleaning products can also create heat toxins that affect your skin’s health.
6. Release Old Trauma:Areas of your body where you’ve had an accident may be weaker than the rest of you and therefore more prone to skin problems. Any area of trauma or emotional stress creates what we call “stagnation” in Chinese medicine and contributes to heat toxins in the blood. This can manifest itself in skin problems such as acne, pimples, psoriasis or eczema.
7. Emotions:In Chinese medicine, pent-up emotions build up warmth and create heat, just like old trauma. So make sure you reduce as much stress as possible to reduce the risk of acne and pimples on your skin and face.
BONUS:Probably the most important question a Chinese medicine practitioner should ask someone with acne, pimples, eczema, or psoriasis is, “Do you have constipation?” This would also help them determine what type of yin or yang foods and – activities of the skin would help. So make sure you don’t suffer from constipation and pay attention to the above factors for a beautiful, healthy face and skin.
Thanks to Dr Susan Lange, OMD