Adult Acne and hormonal imbalance treatment with Chinese Medicine, Toronto ON

The quality of skin reflects the health within. Having clear, radiant skin is a job from the inside! As a Chinese medicine practitioner, I work with my patients to help them get rid of their acne not only for the look but also for health. Often the initial reason they come to see me is because they realize that even if they did everything right (or as close as they can manage) on their diet and lifestyle according to scientists and experts from Google, and have tried various skin products and supplements on the market, their skin is still inflamed and breaks out. Lots of them are not even teens anymore. More than 50 percent of women between the ages of 20-29 and more than 25 percent of women between the ages of 40-49 are affected by acne, according to a study from the American Academy of Dermatology Even if you never experienced breakouts as a teenager, you can be plagued by acne as an adult.

What causes Acne?

Most of us would agree that hormonal imbalance is what is behind the scenes. However few may ask the follow-up questions: is that all? Is there anything else? Yes, hormones are definitely an important factor behind acne. That is why lots of women’s skin breaks out before their period(another health issue most of us think is mainly controlled by hormones). The fact that birth control pills work for some also supports this hypothesis. And No, hormones are not always the only one in play, at least not in case of Chinese Medicine.

Based on Chinese medicine, there are few things behind the hormonal imbalance scene. Stress response, Circulation, Inflammation and Digestion. And these factors are also intertwined and affect each other. When I look at an acne case, adult or teen, from a Chinese medicine perspective, I always take these factors in the assessment and evaluate how much they are in play for the individual. Some women may have more inflammation than others, some may have more digestion problems etc. In the treatment, Dalu will compose a treatment plan, with acupuncture and herbal formula, a team of different herbs, ranging from 10 to 20, to address all factors that affect the hormone balance and skin health. As the result, his patients not only get improved skin quality, their circulation, mood, digestion are also improved holistically.

The following two cases are good examples to demonstrate how I apply the principle of Chinese medicine to treat acne.

One patient named G, is a 29 years old caucasian female working in IT. Besides the acne, she also has menstrual cramps and headaches, cold feet and hands, and has a little bit of constipation problems. Her acne is red, hard and deep rooted. She came to me in Dec, 2020 to help her skin. Within the first two weeks of my herbal treatment, her acne improved so much that she couldn’t believe it. She has had this problem for years and she didn’t want to “jinx” it when I asked her how she is doing. At the end of January next year, the period after she was on the herbal formula, had almost no cramps and headaches. And her skin started to show some nice pink color (it was pale before). She couldn’t be happier with all the changes in her health including the acne. It has been 10 month since her first visit. She is not coming for acupuncture but still taking the herbs periodically, she said taking the herbs not only help the skin and overall health, it also helps her deal with the stress.

Another recent case is a 39 year old Brazilian working mom with two children. I was treating her young boy’s asthma. As his breathing problem got better, the Mom asked me to help her with acne. She has been using different products for decades to treat her skin but never able to get rid of it. And she is tired of putting chemicals on her face everyday. She has a typical Brazilian-Italian dark skin, slightly rounded body, her other health issues include bloating, loose stool, difficulty to relax and sleep. I used different formulas to treat her acne with focuses on the digestive issues. In Chinese medicine, we use the term “dampness” to describe the type of pathology that I think underlies her acne. Usually the dampness is coming from a weak or dysfunctional digestive system. Right after she was on the herbal formula, her acne started to get better along with her bloating and digestive health. Even though she sometimes forgot to take it because the busy lifestyle as a working mom with two small children. Overall she is very satisfied with the result of the treatment with both improved skin and digestion.

Different treatment for the same problem, the unique approach of Chinese medicine

In the formula of the first case, I use several herbs that help the circulation and blood coagulation, which is indicated in the nature of the acne and cramps, headaches around her period. The second case, the rounded body type, loose stool and bloating indicate dampness in the gut as a primary contributing factor to the acne. Chinese medicine always looks at the body as a whole regardless of the name of the problem. We may use the same treatment for different conditions as long as the underlying factors are the same. And vice versa, we may use different, even opposite treatments to treat two patients coming with the same condition.

How Chinese medicine addresses Hormonal Imbalance?

In both cases, none of the herbal treatments are directly targeting hormones. However, beside the herbs that target digestion and circulation in the formulas, both formulas have herbs that target the hypothalamus system, the central part of our limbic system that lies between lower and higher brain. The hypothalamus is the regulatory body of our stress response through the neural network connected to the surrounding part of the limbic system, as well as the hormone system through the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis. Both Chinese medicine and modern medicine acknowledge the critical role of stress response in regulating hormonal balance. Western medicine treatment uses hormones in the form of pill, injection, patch or IUD, to directly manipulate the hormone level in the body, in an attempt to achieve hormonal balance. Chinese medicine uses a more holistic approach to address deeper regulatory components of the hormone issue, either through herbal medicine or acupuncture, which may result in a more natural and holistic outcome with less side effects.

Not only for acne, I use the same approach to treat all of my patients with hormone related conditions, Endometriosis, PCOS, PMS, Cramps, Heavy bleeding, insomnia (has been recognized as another hormonal issue in recent years.) If you are struggling with chronic, recurrent adult acne, or any of the above problems, or thinking of getting off the birth control pills but worrying about the previous problems coming back. Chinese medicine may be able to help you. Call the clinic or go to my website to book an initial consultation with Dalu Wang R.TCMP

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