According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, increase in internal heat and dampness trigger acne outbreaks. Exposure to chemicals, toxic substances or obstruction in flow of qi energy increases heat production. Excess internal heat stimulates abnormal inflammatory and hormonal activities, leading to inflammatory conditions such as acne.
Yang deficiency in the spleen induces water buildup in the body tissues. Eating excessive oily or fatty foods, poor digestion or living in damp environment increases internal dampness of the body. Excess damp encourages growth and multiplication of microbes, increasing risk of bacterial infections associated with acne flare-ups.
The goal of acne treatment in Chinese medicine is to reduce the internal heat and dampness of the body with appropriate therapies. Depending upon the underlying cause of acne outbreak, it is usually treated with formulations containing herbs that address different aspects of the skin problem. Along with herbs, foods that help to cool the body should be included in the diet to clear the acne lesions.
Chinese Medicine and Herbs for Acne
Scutellaria, also known as huang qin, is widely used in herbal formulations for treating acne. This herb is blessed with cold, spicy and bitter properties. It helps to reduce the internal heat and eases blood flow.Ointment containing the dried root of scutellaria can be applied to the acne lesions. About 15 to 60 grams of the herb can be taken internally each day. Scutellaria is usually well tolerated. However, it is not recommended for anemia patients.
In traditional Chinese medicine, phellodendron or huang bai is recommended for eliminating damp fire from the body. About 3 to 12 grams of the dried bark of phellodendron can be taken daily to cure acne. This herb should not be taken by people with stomach or spleen problems.
The root of rehmannia or shu di huang can benefit people bothered by recurrent acne outbreaks. It helps to cool the body.The immune strengthening property of the herb enhances the natural ability of the body to fight bacteria associated with acne eruptions. About 9 to 15 grams of dried rehmannia tuber can be taken daily.
Tree Peony Root Cortex
Another popular Chinese herbal remedy for acne is the tree peony root cortex, known as mu dan pi in Chinese. It helps to reduce heat. About 6 to 12 grams of the herb can be taken daily to clear the acne rashes.
According to the traditional Chinese medicine dark red clusters of acne rashes is a sign of poor blood circulation and increase in internal dampness.The root of red peony or chi shao contains a compound called paeoniflorin that helps to reduce dampness and boosts blood circulation, thereby providing fast relief from acne eruptions. About 1 to 3 grams of red peony root can be taken thrice a day to treat acne.
The root of white peony or bai saho is an excellent herbal remedy for acne. By purifying the blood, it protects the skin from toxic substances that trigger acne outbreak. About 5 to 10 grams of white peony root can be taken daily.