Are you struggling with Acne?
Let me first tell you that you are not alone!! Acne is the most common of all skin problems. Contrary to some conventional beliefs, it’s a problem suffered not only by teenagers. Many people are plagued their whole lives with constant outbreaks of acne.
What is acne and how does it develop?
Acne is a disease of the sebaceous hair follicles. At the base of each hair follicle are glands called sebaceous glands, which make sebum. Sebum is an oily substance, and under normal circumstances it travels along the hair follicle to the surface of the skin. In acne however, the normal transport of sebum out of the follicle is impeded. This leads to an accumulation of sebum, which provides an enriched breeding ground for bacteria.
Things that can cause Acne
Factors that contribute to acne include heredity (genetics), oily skin, hormonal imbalance, monthly menstrual cycles, and candidiasis. Other possible contributing factors are allergies, stress, and the use of certain drugs such as steroids, lithium, oral contraceptives, and some anti-epileptic drugs. Nutritional deficiencies and/or diets high in saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, and animal products can also be involved.
What is Chinese Medicine?
Chinese medicine makes reference to a number of practices including acupuncture, prescription of Chinese herbal formulas, and nutritional recommendations (food cures). It especially emphasizes changing lifestyle habits. Its theoretical basis has been developed in China over the past 3,000 years!
The goal of Chinese Medicine is to restore balance to the body and treat the root cause of an illness. This approach gives Chinese Medicine a special and unique advantage as it does not just merely provide symptomatic relief.
How does Chinese Medicine view Acne?
Chinese Medicine views acne as an external manifestation resulting from an internal imbalance. Excess heat and toxin are the primary components which produce this acne causing imbalance. The general approach chosen for therapy is to reduce internal heat by cooling the blood, decreasing toxin, and removing stasis. The medicinals are also meant to alleviate sluggish substances (we call it dampness in Chinese Medicine) and improve intestinal function where toxins can accumulate. The underlying factor causing the acne such as stress, hormonal imbalance, or the menstrual cycle, will also be treated accordingly so that the acne doesn’t come back in the future.
Chinese Herbal Medicine for Acne
Chinese herbal formulas are customized according to the Chinese Medicine diagnosis made. Combinations and dosages of herbs are chosen and adjusted to work specifically for the individual. When administered correctly by a qualified TCM Doctor, Chinese herbs have been proven safe & effective without adverse reactions. In addition, quality control and safety research are implemented. Chinese herbs are provided in different forms—raw form (which is boiled to make a liquid), tablets, capsules, powders, and tinctures. In my clinical practice, I most often prescribe concentrated powders that are simply to be mixed into hot water and made into an instant tea. So easy…and so effective!
Acupuncture for Acne
I often see acne patients under much stress or struggling with anxiety and depression. They may also have irregularities in their menstrual cycle or digestive disturbances. These problems are treated so wonderfully and powerfully with Acupuncture. It calms the nervous system and shifts the body from the sympathetic state to a parasympathetic state which does wonders for the health of your adrenal glands. It also regulates hormones and balances the health of the digestive system. There is a strong correlation between stress, hormones, digestion and Acne.
I include dietary & supplement recommendations in treatment regimens. Here are some examples I start with:
Some foods that can help alleviate acne: squash, cucumbers, celery, carrots, carrot tops, lettuce, potato, cabbage, beet tops, alfalfa sprouts, mung beans, dandelions, pears, cherries, papaya, persimmons, raspberries, and watermelon. Drinking plenty of water helps too.
Some foods to avoid or limit: spicy and oily foods, coffee, alcohol, sugar, chocolate, ice cream, soft drinks, dairy foods, red meat, shellfish, bamboo shoots and white mushrooms.
“I had been struggling with frequent breakouts of acne for many years and my scars would take such a long time to heal. I didn’t think my skin would ever become clear. I didn’t want to take medications like accutane so I decided to try the natural route. Dr. Maryam prescribed a Chinese herbal formula and advised me in detail on my diet. Within 3 days I noticed my scars were healing and new breakouts weren’t coming on. I stayed on the herbs for 2 weeks and kept up with my diet and my skin showed a dramatic improvement. Now I have people telling me that I have “beautiful skin”…it feels great!”
-RH – N. Vancouver, BC -25 yrs old
“Although I am an esthetician with a lot of experience in skin care, no matter what products I would try, my skin never felt smooth and was constantly covered in small and large blemishes. I was introduced to Chinese Medicine by a friend who had had a similar acne problem. Dr. Maryam told me that although keeping the skin clean and using good products was important, I would also need to treat my body internally. It took only 4 days of the Chinese herbs for me and my friends and co-workers to start noticing the improvement in the blemish scars and the texture of my skin!”
SD – Montreal, Quebec – 27 yrs old