Acne treatment with acupuncture:
Acne is a very common skin disease affecting a majority of the population at some point in their life. Acne is caused by bacteria infection, increased oil production and inflammation. Acne is not life-threatening condition but it does affect people quality of life dramatically and damage people’s confidence. It is one of the most difficult conditions to treat. Acupuncture is used to treat acne effectively.
There are 10 reasons that you should try acupuncture to get rid of acne.
No1, Acne is chronic condition that can last for years without responding to any treatments.
No2, Acne spoilt your look especially those more inflamed spots such as cysts, nodules.
No3, Acne damage your confidence in social life.
No4, Acne spots do not occur on the surface of the skin. The blockage in the pore is in the hair follicles which are deep beneath the skin surface. They are not dirt which cannot be washed away.
No5, Inflamed acne spots can irritate the skin and cause pain on the face. Acupuncture reduce pain and skin irritation.
No6 Inflammation plays a key role in acne lesion formation. Acne lesions develop in the oil gland follicles. Increased oil production and accumulation combined abnormal inner lining cells growth cause the formation of pimples. Bacteria grow in the follicles and trigger immune response causing inflammation which contributes to the acne lesion formation. Inflammation occurs in the early stage of lesion development and is present throughout the whole process of development of acne lesions until the later stage. Acupuncture can reach deep into the skin and reduce inflammation, release tension and improves local circulation to reduce acne.
No8, Hormonal imbalance plays a role in acne spots formation, acupuncture can help regain hormone balance.
No9, Stress makes acne worse. Acupuncture can reduce stress to get rid of the risk factor for acne.
No10, Acne causes scarring and acupuncture can help reduce inflammation to reduce the chance of scar formation and repair scar that already formed.
Suffer from acne? Acupuncture can help
Acne has great impact on quality of life
Acne is a very common disease in adolescents. Acne has great impact on quality of life. A study involved in 600 high school students investigated this aspect. There were 303 girls and 260 boys aged between 13 and 19. 83% of them was self reported acne. 40% was mild, 36% was moderate and 6.5% severe. There was a direct link between subjective, severity of acne and symptoms of anxiety, depression and lower self-esteem.
Stress makes acne worse
Acne is a very common disease in adolescents. Psychological stress has also been identified amongst factors that worsen acne. Recently a study involved in 160 students was carried out to investigate the association between acne severity and stress levels as well as the mechanism for this. They demonstrated a statistically significant positive correlation between increased self-reported stress and increased severity of acne; there was no correlation between increased stress and sebum levels. They explained that increased acne severity may result not from increased sebum secretion and excretion but from changes in neuropeptide secretion and sebum lipid composition. Other studies have shown that stress may affect the production of inflammatory mediators and specific lipids involved in inflammation by the sebaceous glands rather than the quantity of sebum. Acupuncture reduces inflammation and is used to treat acne effectively.
Do you know acupuncture helps reduce acne? Acupuncture may help with treat acne by reducing inflammation from promoting release of anti-inflammatory factors, modulating immune cell activities including natural killer cell activities and improving local blood circulation.
There were many case reports that acupuncture can treat acne. For example, Son BK et al studied the effect of acupuncture on acne. They found that 12 sessions of acupuncture over 6 weeks reduced inflammatory lesion counts and quality of life in patients with acne. Recently Li B et al studied the current situation in research to evaluate the therapeutic effect and safety for clinical randomized and controlled trials of treatment of acne with acupuncture and moxibustion in China. They analysed 17 papers involving 1613 cases with acne and they found that acupuncture and moxibustion is safe and effective for treatment of acne and it is possibly better than routine western medicine.
Here is an example of a case. Lily is 30 year old. She had acne on her face on and off for 6 months. There are many newly formed pimples, cysts and some of them are infected by bacteria forming pustules. Scars can be seen on her face. She also had mouth odour and constipation. She heard from a friend that acupuncture may help her and wanted to try acupuncture. After a course of acupuncture, the acne symptoms were improved significantly. Also mouth odour was improved and there was no constipation at all. After 3 courses of treatment, acne was cured.
Acne treatments can take months to have some effects. Acupuncture is used to treat acne efficiently. There was a study using acupuncture to treat acne. In this study the criteria of participant selection is that they (older than 13 year old) had more than 10 papules and less than 10 nodules on the face and had acne for more than 3 months (chronic stage). They did not use retinoids, antibodies or herbal medicine for acne before. They did not have chemical peeling, intense pulsed light or laser treatment within the past month. After 6 week treatments, there was a significant reduction in the inflammatory acne lesion counts.
They suggested that acupuncture treatment of moderate acne vulgaris was associated with reduction of inflammatory lesions and improvement of the quality of life. The significant effects can be obtained in 6 weeks.
Acupuncture has better effect for treating acne than oxycycline
A study has compared the efficacy differences between acupuncture and oxycycline tablets for the treatment of moderate to severe acne vulgaris. Sixty cases of moderate to severe acne vulgaris were involved in this study and they were divided into acupuncture group and medication group with oxycycline treatment). The treatment duration was 20 days. The fading time of skin damage, including papule, pustule, nodule and cyst in the two groups was recorded and clinical efficacy was compared. After the treatment, two-month follow-up was performed to observe the recurrence rate in the two groups. The results have shown that the curative rate was 69.0% (20/29) in the acupuncture group, which was significantly higher than 40.0% (12/30) in the medication group. The fading time of each type of skin damage in the acupuncture group was shorter than that in the medication group. Recurrence rate was similar between two groups.
Study has shown that acne patients used antibiotics too long
Acne is not a life threatening condition, however it affects patients quality of life so much. The spots take their happiness away. Women cannot go out without covering the spots up first. They often use over-the-counter creams, prescription gels, and finally: oral antibiotics. Antibiotics was used too long and increased the antibiotic resistance makes antibiotics loss their effects. A research study at a dermatology practice in an academic medical center has shown that the average duration of antibiotic use was 331.3 days. In all, 21 patients (15.3%) were prescribed antibiotics for 3 months or less, 88 patients (64.2%) for 6 months or more, and 46 patients (33.6%) for 1 year or longer. Patients treated only at the study site had a mean duration of antibiotic treatment of 283.1 days whereas patients who also received antibiotics from another institution had a mean duration of 380.2 days.
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Son et al Acupunct Med (2010) 28:126-9
Acupuncture is effective for eczema
Eczema is a very common skin condition due to skin inflammation. Atopic eczema is the most common form and is included in a group of allergic conditions like asthma, hay fever and food allergy. They are all linked by an increased activity of the allergy side of the body’s immune system. Eczema often starts in childhood, and it may also start later in adult. It tends to run in families. People with eczema typically have alterations in their skin barrier, and overly reactive inflammatory and allergy responses. Environmental factors include contact with soaps, detergents and any other chemicals applied to the skin, exposure to allergens, and infection with certain bacteria and viruses.
Eczema comes from the Greek word to boil and is used to describe the symptoms of the condition: red, dry, itchy, skin which can sometimes become weeping, blistered, crusted, scaling and thickened. The main symptom of eczema is skin rash associated with itch. Scratching can fire up the skin rash and makes the itching worse. Itch can be severe enough to interfere with sleep, causing tiredness and irritability. The symptoms can sometimes be severe while other times less severe. Some people only have small patches of dry skin, but others may experience widespread red, inflamed skin all over the body. atopic eczema can affect any part of the body, it most often affects the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face and scalp. Many things can flare up atopic eczema: such as heat, dust woollen clothing, pets and irritants including soaps and detergents, cold and infections, teething in babies, food allergies and stress.
Acupuncture is effective for atopic eczema. For example, a study involving in thirty participants with eczema. They were received four weeks of acupuncture treatments. All eczema symptoms were improved in 4 weeks’ time. A recent study analysed a total of 434 participants in the eight RCTs. All participants were diagnosed with atopic eczema. The age of the participants ranged from 18 to 70 years and the course of AE ranged from 6 months to 35 years.
The results of one included RCT showed that acupuncture was better than no treatment at reducing itch intensity measured using a visual analogue scale in patients with AE. The combined results of six RCTs showed that acupuncture was better than conventional medicine at reducing the eczema area and severity index (EASI) and the combined results of seven RCTs showed that acupuncture was better than conventional medicine in terms of global symptom improvement in AE. The conclusion was that acupuncture might be effective at reducing itch intensity and may be more effective than conventional medicine at reducing EASI and improving the global symptoms of AE.
Kang S et al Complement Ther Med2018 Dec;41:90-98. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.08.013. Epub 2018 Sep 10.
Ruimin Jiao,et al Acupunct Med. 2020 Feb; 38(1): 3–14.