When talking about adult acne, we’re essentially talking about women and the hormone imbalance that gives rise to it. The prevailing Chinese medicine approach to adult acne is not altogether different from popular Western approaches, though experienced Chinese medicine doctors’ approach differs considerably. Below is a discussion of this more nuanced approach.
There is no one size fits all approach to acne. This is because there are many factors that can give rise to it, and the organs involved in its genesis vary. An internet search on acne remedies will turn up a litany of options that have proven effective for certain individuals. What lacks from almost all of these reports, with the exception of essential nutrients, is a way to understand these interventions systematically in terms of cause and effect. This is where Chinese medical herbalism, when practiced correctly, excels.
In Chinese medicine the presence of acne is first evaluated in terms of where it appears in terms of Chinese medical facial diagnosis. Acne along the jaw and cheeks involves different organ imbalances from that which appears along the forehead or chin. Each region of the face corresponds to different organs, in a fashion that mirrors the hand and foot charts with which many are familiar that correspond to varying organs. Where acne appears guides selection of one’s tailored herbal prescription. There are literally scads of herbs that possess antibiotic properties in the Chinese herbal pharmacopaeia, but each herb possesses its own nature and tendency to work on different organs.
When it occurs and the nature of acne is also a consideration. Premenstrual acne is typically identified as a hormone imbalance, which Chinese medicine associates with liver imbalance. This requires herbs to balance liver function. After ovulation the body temperature rises. Heat burns vital fluids, thickening the blood and congesting the liver. Depending on the circumstances some balance between heat clearing, fluid restoration, blood quickening, and liver boosting is necessary. Pustular (white heads) and hard bumps require different herbs from little bright red bumps or dusky redness that stays stuck beneath the surface.
The point is that there are varying metabolic processes and organ imbalances that converge in the formation of acne. Typical Chinese medicine approaches that aim exclusively toward clearing heat often provide very quick benefit with rebounding effects or little result at all. This is because in such instances there is often underlying weakness that strong antibiotics can not only address poorly but which create greater blood congestion and overall weakness, which is what accounts for the rebound effects. This is why acne should not be viewed as an isolated problem. When boosting the body’s strength is in order, the treatment course will likely be long, but such an approach will also provide longer-lasting results.
Tailored Chinese medical herbalism excels in the treatment of acne because it provides a systematic approach that views acne in terms of organ imbalance not just a baterial imbalance. Where, when, and the nature of acne guides the selection of herbs for addressing the presence of acne and the organ-related factors giving rise to it.