As you probably know by now, I love treating teens in my clinic. One of the most common (and annoying) health concerns that comes up is acne.
I'm totally empathetic! As a teen myself I spent most of my allowance and money I earned at the local Payless drugstore on chemical washes and lotions that did nothing for my skin and even made it worse at times. It was an endless cycle of frustration and loosing money that just plain didn't need to happen. From a holistic health and Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, there are so many ways to heal your skin that are natural and will benefit your overall health.
Let's start with the understanding that, like most health issues, it's an inside job. Although most teens will experience some level of acne due to hormonal fluctuations, the blemishes we see on the surface of the skin start with an imbalance in the metal element, which relates to the organs of the lungs and large intestine. The skin is our biggest detox organ, so when we smoke drugs (like marijuana) or eat foods that are sticky, greasy, spicy and hard to eliminate (dairy, fried foods, hot chili peppers), this inflammation and congestion starts to show up on our skin. Does this mean that you can never eat those foods again? No, of course not. But a period of time avoiding these foods will jumpstart your journey to clearer skin.
Herbs with antibiotic properties and/or herbal formulas with ground pearl are used to treat the ongoing bacterial infections that can arise from acne (especially cystic acne). These herbs are wonderful because unlike prescription antibiotics (such as "acutane"), they do not kill intestinal flora. In fact, so called "good" intestinal flora is vital for healthy, unblemished skin. Probiotics can be used both internally and topically to help re-establish the proper intestinal flora balance.
With topical care, there are many tools that can be fine tuned for each individual's skin type. My go to for across the board inflammation and scarring, however, is witch hazel. I especially like Thayer's brand because it combines witch hazel and aloe. If your skin is very dry and/or sensitive, a simple face serum of evening primrose oil is excellent for retaining moisture without causing breakouts. Keep in mind that after purchasing a bottle it will need to stay in the refrigerator, although small amounts can be kept in a dropper bottle for use in the bathroom.
For more on clearing acne naturally you can watch my youtube video.
If you would like a complimentary 20 minute consultation to discuss how acupuncture and functional medicine can help your teen, please call me at (510)-333-6267 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To set up an Initial Patient Appointment go here.