Monday, June 3, 2013

Skincare and traditional Chinese medicine

In a recent  feature, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner wrote about clogged pores (comedones). The article states that comedones are probably caused by dysfunction of the lungs, stomach, large intestine, liver and kidneys.

It's interesting to read about dermatology via a TCM viewpoint. The 'Western'/mainstrem perception towards skincare includes benzoyl peroxide for pimples, AHA/BHA for chemical exfoliation, retinoids to accelerate skin cell turnover etc. But in the TCM feature, the practitioner recommended facial acupuncture and cupping therapy as ways to dispel the pathogenic factors.

There are no TCM dermatologists as far as I know. Most TCM practitioners view the skin as another organ to view symptoms as any problems with skin are usually accompanied by issues elsewhere. Afterall, the skin is the largest organ in the body.

The TCM way to improve skin seems to focus more on diet and treatments which would arguably take a longer period of time to see improvements vs smearing on creams. Typically when I take a TCM-prescribed remedy, it's to fix 'heat' and 'dampness' within the body. 

I've tried acupuncture (to fix a knee problem), gua sha and cupping therapy and I would personally try to keep the needles for vaccines, thank you very much. 

But just a diet of vegetables and fruits promotes good skin health, I might consider drinking some TCM-prescribed drinks to help my skin get clear and luminous. The only issue is a need to consult a TCM practitioner (on a weekly/month basis) as the TCM belief is that the body is in constant flux and there is a need to constantly adjust the prescribed remedy.    

Note: Although it might seem that collagen drinks for good skin health comes from the 'East', there is no TCM basis for drinking collagen supplements. 

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