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Skin Care | Try a New Tactic for Ending Acne

Try a New Tactic for Ending Acne

As you may have noticed, the end of adolescence doesn’t mean the end of pimples (otherwise known as acne). It just means the loss of a pat explanation for it. “I’m just forever young,” you might rationalize. “That’s what they created makeup for” may be another motto. But you don’t have to spend your life explaining it away. Adult acne is a common problem, and one that can be remedied.

From special face products to taking vitamins to visiting a dermatologist, many people search in vain for new solutions to this stubborn problem. If you fall into this category, you are not alone. Acne is one of the most common skin disorders in the United States, affecting nearly 85 percent of all people, and while many treatment options exist, there is no cure.

You may not have tried acupuncture and Chinese herbs, but they work! Chinese herbal remedies are part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a body of medicine that works to correct the deeper imbalances of the body that can give rise to symptoms.

“There are several kinds of acne in TCM,” says Allen Sayigh, an acupuncturist and the manager of the Chinese Herbal Dispensary at Bastyr, “and they are nearly always a condition of excess 'heat.'” In Chinese medicine, which considers humans to be a part of nature, one way to view disease is in terms of an excess of some combination of heat, cold, dampness, dryness or wind in the body, which can contribute to the expression of certain symptoms. “Some reasons for this excess heat may be a person’s natural constitution,” says Sayigh, “but it can also be influenced by hormonal fluctuations.”

Both women and men get adult acne, but it is more common in women, where it is called post-adolescent female acne and is usually related to the menstrual cycle. In this type, pimples tend to appear on the face, usually around the jaw and chin and around the mouth, says Sayigh. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly half of all women experience acne flare-ups and increased facial oiliness during the week preceding menstruation.

One benefit of a TCM approach is that you will be prescribed a tailor-made Chinese herbal formula, which may work better than a general acne antidote. Sayigh explains, “Some herbs are better for oily skin, some are better for the post-adolescent female type, and some are more effective for adolescent acne.”

So if you truly want to achieve an acne-free complexion, make a personal consultation with a Chinese herbal medicine practitioner. For best results you will need to make a long-term commitment to taking the herbs and modify your diet to reduce your intake of sugar, spicy foods and alcohol. Within a month, most people see some results, but it can take three or six months for a person’s complexion to become clear, says Sayigh. In our culture, where we’ve come to expect a “quick fix,” this may sound like a long time, but getting to the root of a long-term problem is worth the wait. To make an appointment with a Chinese herbal medicine team, call (206) 834-4100.

Sources: Allen Sayigh, LAc; American Academy of Dermatology

Writer: Sydney Maupin, staff writer

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The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.

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