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Traditional Chinese Medicine For Acne

Traditional Chinese Medicine For Acne

Is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) effective to cure acne and pimples? In this article, we explore the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine for acne and pimples.


The skin is the body’s largest and most visible organ, leaving it vulnerable to a multitude of dilapidated conditions. Acne is something most people have suffered from and it can cause our self-confidence and self-esteem to drop dramatically. Acne is not only affecting our physical appearance but also harming our mental and emotional health in the long run. The condition appears in various forms, ranging from mild to severe:
•  Mild: Whiteheads and blackheads appear as small blemishes on the skin.
•  Moderate: Papules are red and inflamed, while pustules are painful, pus-filled lesions.
•  Severe: Skin may develop large and inflamed nodules or cysts, which may leave permanent scarring.

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We are always finding ways to get rid of those annoying pimples. They seem to pop out of nowhere and refuse to disappear. At times, we can be desperate for a solution hoping to get our clear and flawless skin back especially when pimples start to hurt.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is increasingly considered as an alternative form of medicine to treat various ailments. It uses various natural products and has helped many health problems. However, you might be thinking, can TCM treat acne? In this article, we explore TCM and whether it is a viable option for treating acne.

What Causes Acne?

Before we dive into the question of whether tradition Chinese medicine can cure acne, we first need to understand what causes acne. Acne is a skin condition where pores on our skin gets plugged with dead skin cells, dirt and oil. This causes pimples, whiteheads and blackheads to appear. Each pore on our skin is linked to a hair follicle and a sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland releases sebum that is transported onto our skin via the hair. The sebum secreted is meant to keep our skin hydrated and protect the skin from external pathogenic factors.

This process can lead to acne if the following occurs:
• Overproduction of sebum
• Accumulation of dead skin cells in pores
• Build-up of bacteria in pores

Acne and clogged pores are commonly attributed to many factors. These include hormonal changes during puberty and pregnancy, eating certain medications, poor diet or having parents who have had acne.

In the TCM perspective, there are 3 main causes of acne.
• Firstly, diet. Consumption of spicy, sweet, heaty or oily can cause a build-up of heat in our stomach and lungs. The gain of excessive heat in our body then disrupts the normal flow of ‘Qi’, a person’s life force. Consequently, the heat gets trapped at the surface of our skin that results in acne when it rises from our organs to our face.
• Secondly, acne is commonly associated to excessive dampness and wind. With sudden increase of dampness, our body might not be able to excrete it out efficiently through the normal way. Our body will then find other methods for excretion such as through the skin. In TCM, external wind is believed to have disease-causing ability. Acne causing bacteria obtained from pathogenic wind attacks can cause acne.
• Thirdly, acne is also said to be caused by overwhelming amounts of dampness in the body. This impairs the function of the spleen. Processing nutrients from food and water is affected which in turn disrupts the flow of Qi, blood production and circulation. This can lead to obstruction of skin pores and thus acne.

Other external causes like environmental hazards, improper use of cosmetic products, lack of sleep, overwork, as well as emotional factors such as stress, anxiety and depression, could also contribute to the disharmonies within our body.



How Does Chinese Medicine Work?

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According to TCM physicians, acne can be effectively treated by taking Chinese medicine. The human body is viewed as an integrated whole, with all parts linked and interdependent. Illness, pain and other health issues arise when the balance in the body is disrupted. Traditional Chinese Medicine seeks to restore harmony and comprehensively supplement your health. In treating acne problems, TCM focuses on promoting or restoring Qi, and reducing excessive heat, dampness and wind elements. The treatment could be achieved through acupuncture and/or herbal medicines.


Why Choose Chinese Medicine?

Western medicine and TCM look at illnesses through different lenses. Western Medicine is based on scientific technology, chemistry, anatomy. When consulting a western doctor, they will attribute the cause to bacteria or genetic disorders. The problem will be treated through prescription of medications such as antibiotics. For example, in order to treat acne, doctors might simply prescribe “a one size fit all’ oral or topical antibiotics to remove acne causing bacteria. Western medicine is more potent and powerful but sometimes too powerful with significant side effects.

On the other hand, TCM treats skin disorders in a unique way. It addresses both the root causes and branch symptoms of a condition to restore healthy balance to the body. TCM is a highly-personalised method of treatment whereby a TCM physician will prescribe herbs or use therapy to treat the ailment and restore the balance of Qi. When consulting a TCM physician, they will evaluate your body constitution and the underlying cause. Herbs and treatment prescribed to one person takes into consideration your body’s conditions such as whether you are pregnant or have other chronic diseases. As such, for the same ailment, a different treatment might be prescribed. On the other hand, in western medicine, the same drug is likely to be prescribed to treat the same problem. Chinese medicine takes a long-term action approach for treating medical conditions by attempting to restore the balance of Qi, remove excessive heat, wind and toxins from the body, thus targeting and resolving the root cause instead of the symptoms.



Who Is Affected By Acne?

Acne is a commonly seen as a skin problem among adolescents especially those at puberty growth spurt stage. However, in TCM, acne is not discriminated by age but by patterns or by types of internal imbalance. It is often associated with imbalance of heat and dampness lingering in our internal organs and meridians.



Can I Use Chinese Medicine And Western Medicine Together?

In general, there should be no problem in taking chinese medicine for skin problems while still on prescribed controlled medicine. As every individual has different health conditions and body constitution, it is advisable that you consult your doctor on whether the treatments you are receiving can be received simultaneously.



Treating Your Acne?

In general, one is advised to consume more fruits and vegetables, drink more water and maintain a healthy and balance diet to prevent acne. Other practical steps to treat acne include adopting a good skincare routine, consuming less fried, oily and sweet food, drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, having adequate sleep, managing stress well and exercising regularly. In most cases, patience and discipline are the keys.
In TCM, acne is often treated using herbal medication. Chinese medicine usually takes about 3 months to treat mild to moderate acne and in serious cases, it may extend up to 6 months.



Searching For Effective, Reliable And Trusted Chinese Medicine Products?

Tong Jum Chew is a company with over 50 years of history. Founded as a medical hall in 1965, we grew into a wholesaler and distributor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) by the 1980s. In 2004, we established our own manufacturing facility in Singapore to manufacture TCM under our proprietary brand Nature's Green. We boast a modern manufacturing facility in Singapore that includes a clean room environment. All products are produced using modern machinery and undergo stringent checks to ensure that they are safe for consumption and usage. Our plant received GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification in 2006. Since 2009, we have been opening our own retail outlets and TCM clinics across Singapore. In 2012, Nature's Green became a proud recipient of the Singapore Prestige Brand Award for Established Brands. Currently, over 80 types of our TCM products are registered with Ministry of Health Malaysia and it is our hope to make the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine accessible to everyone. If you are interested in trying out our product to treat your acne, please visit our Malaysia online shop at Accolade Chinese Medicine or send your inquiries through Contact Form 




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