From an Acupuncturist’s perspective, Acne can occur when thick, oily skin is combined with a diet of damp producing foods (think dairy, oily/sugary foods) which increases sebaceous secretions and decreases the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins (1).
The Spleen oversees moving fluids in the body so if Spleen energy (QI) is low, body fluids slow down, thicken and stagnate. This stagnation is called Damp in Chinese Medicine, which can affect the Lung’s capacity to open and close the pores, trapping the damp under the skin to create pustules seen in Acne vulgaris (1).
During your Acupuncture consult, we look at the health of the Lungs, which controls the skin’s eliminating function, and the Spleen to reduce Damp in the body. We also look at the colour of the skin as redness can be a sign of heat or inflammation, which combined with thicker body fluids (or Damp) can indicate we need to clear Damp-Heat from the body. If left, the Heat can become toxic and accumulates under the skin with Damp to create pustules/lesions (1,2).
Many Acne sufferers also struggle with constipation (another elimination process) – which means toxins are not being cleared from the body effectively. This is called Qi Stagnation in Chinese Medicine which we address by using points to move the Qi to regulate the bowels and boost your metabolism and immune system. When we are not eliminating toxins via the bowels effectively, the body looks for an alternative way to get rid of them via the skin resulting in Acne (1).
Some studies have found that Acupuncture can have a stimulating effect on androgens which balances and reduces sebaceous gland secretions reducing Acne (2). Your Acupuncture treatment is personalised to your body (as everyone is different) and can include needling points to help with your constitution, aid the elimination of Damp, Heat and toxins from the body, and local points in your problem areas.