ACNE
When oil or sebum that normally drains to the surface of the skin obstructs follicles, then pimples or zits occur. Hormonal changes near menopause, menstrual cycles, puberty or pregnancy can cause sebum secretions to increase creating additional blockage which allows bacteria and yeast to grow, causing inflammation in the skin and acne.

The type of acne is defined by the type of infection and its intensity.
-Secretions that are caught beneath the skin are Whiteheads.
-Oils & sebum that break through the skin are often black from pigment deposits.
-Painful, pus-filled infections under the skin or “underground cysts” are cystic acne.

CAUSE OF ACNE IN TCM:  
The lungs control the skin in Chinese medicine with acne being a sign of heat in the intestines and lungs.  Our approach is to clear heat in the intestines and lungs and to detoxify while reducing stress -the cause of 95% of all disease. I highly recommend you work with an acupuncturist in your area with weekly sessions for best results.

HELP ME HELP YOU.
Do the things recommended in every category below:  Herbs, Diet, Exercise, Sleep, Acupuncture!

Do you really want to make a change?  Then do it all and be the change you want to see.
Yes "Skin Clear" will help you, but to see quick, lasting results, change your life as suggested.

CATEGORIES OF ACNE & HERBAL RECOMMENDATIONS:
I like to ask patients to categorize themselves so as to direct them to the best herbal formula for treatment.  The main categories have to do with Hormones, Stress, Toxicity & Everyday Acne.

TOXICITY:
Most people have a buildup of toxins in their bodies and can benefit from a simple bowel detox.
ƒBowel movements are very important for healthy skin. Most of the toxins in our bodies are flushed and eliminated through healthy bowel movements, urination and sweating. Food should move completely through our system in 24 hours. However due to processed foods and lack of fiber, it can take some people over 60 hours. When the large intestine and colon are not functioning efficiently, wastes remain in the body for days. Toxins may deposit along the colon wall, which is a porous material designed to reabsorb unused water and redistribute in the body. The body will then try to excrete these toxins through the skin and urine.

Acne Location for toxicity -Toxicity acne can be all over and is often related to digestion.  Frequently appears around the forehead, between the brows & can even appear on the back.

Herbal Treatment Protocol:
-Start with “Poo” formula to detox bowels for 5 days and then add in “Skin Clear” for 4-6 weeks. Add in Stress formula as needed.

STRESS:
Stress is the number one cause of all ailments in the body. Stress causes the body to go into flight or flight mode which then releases excess cortisol, the stress hormone and to slow down the release of fats and oils thus clogging the pores.  

Acne Location -Stress acne tends to appear near the nose and a bit near the forehead and a bit at times on the back.

Herbal Treatment Protocol:  Start with “Poo” formula to detox bowels for 5 days and then add in “Skin Clear” for 4-6 weeks. Add in Stress formula as needed increasing dose during periods of extreme stress.  Should be taken for 4-6 weeks every day, then decrease or maintain dose according to stress levels and acne persistence.

HORMONES:
Women and Men all have cyclical hormonal changes -the most obvious being the 28 cycle that women have each month. For women, acne that comes and goes and appears most frequently during the 6-7 days before menstruation.

Acne Location  -Hormonal acne often appears along the jaw-line and near the mouth.

Herbal Treatment Protocol:  
-Note on a scale of 1-10 how bad your acne is during it’s worst time of the month. Note on a scale of 1-10 how bad your pain is during worse day of menstruation. This will give us a base from which to refer to in the future as things improve.  

Start with “Women’s Harmony” to balance hormones ongoing for 4-8 weeks. When your cycle is on time, no clots in blood, pain levels have been cut in half, then start decreasing dose of “Women’s Harmony over the next 2 weeks.
-You've had this type of menstrual cycle for year, give it one or two cycles to balance and reset for lasting results. The rest of your health and life will also improve with it.

-ADD “Skin Clear” just before you normally would start to get hormonal acne each month and continue through end of acne stage  of cycle.

EVERYDAY ACNE:
Acne that is ongoing and has been chronic for a period of months or even years needs to be addressed with a complete well balanced approach.

Acne Location: For this group, acne has appeared just about everywhere on the face and maybe other places on the body over time.

Herbal Treatment:   Start with “Poo” formula to detox bowels for 5 days and then add in “Skin Clear” for 4-8 weeks. Add in "Stress Plus Heat" formula since much of your life has been dealing with the stress associated with bad skin -it can be more traumatic then you realize.  

If stress increases, just increase dose during periods of extreme stress.  Should be taken for 4-6 weeks every day, then decrease or maintain dose according to stress levels and acne persistence.

* *  HELP ME HELP YOU * *  Do The Following!!
Give the following attention in your Life to achieve the best results!!!

SLEEP:  Sleep is the time when new cells regenerate. The best hours to sleep are 10 pm to 12 am as it is the most active time for cell regeneration.  Read the book “Sleep Smarter” by Shawn Stevenson for the best actionable tips to better, deeper sleep.  I LOVE this book and have stack of them I loan out to all my patients.

HEALTHY EATING: 
* GOOD: pears, squash, cucumbers,  potatoes, cherry, watermelon, winter melon, celery, carrots, cabbage, dandelions, aloe vera, mulberry leaf, carrot tops, lettuce,s, papaya, persimmons, raspberries, buckwheat, alfalfa sprouts, millet, brown rice, mung beans, lentils, split peas. beet tops,

* AVOID: processed foods, sugar, dairy products, chocolate, caffeine, carbonated beverages, nuts, seeds, shellfish, and fatty, fried food.

HOME REMEDIES:
* This will cool the inflammation. To make a salve blend 2 tablespoons 100% aloe gel with some blended cucumber. Apply externally to acne and leave it on for 15 minutes, then wash it off.

* Lubricated the intestines -drink 12-14 ounces of warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of honey every morning on an empty stomach. Toxins can end up accumulating in the liver and skin if the bowels are not moved regularly.

DAILY SUPPLEMENTS:
*Vitamin A can help to reduce production of oil and does size should be about 1,000 to 2,000 mg a day.

* Taking up to 30 milligrams of zinc a day can help symptoms of acne.

* A Vitamin B complex can be helpful for acne that gets worse during a woman’s period.  Vitamin B6 is most helpful but a complex is good.

HERBAL THERAPY:
* I like the use of the several formulas mentioned already based on the individual’s needs. There is also a classic formula called Fang Feng Tong Sheng San often used for acne and can be found in health stores that is descent. 

* Topically tea tree oil is a common essential oil that can be applied to acne to help eliminate bacteria. A compound called terpinen 4-ol is responsible for its antimicrobial activity.  A good level to use is a 5 percent tea tree oil solution made by mixing 1 part tea tree oil to 19 parts water and using it as a skin cleanser.

EXERCISE:
Increasing the circulation helps immunity and sweating opens the pores and dislodges oils.  Washing immediately after exercise is important for this reason.

ACUPRESSURE:
* One of the best heat clearing points in the body used by acupuncturist can also be done at home using acupressure. This point is called Winding Gulch (LI-11). This point is at the crook of the elbow, it is easiest to find by seeing a picture -google it and look at images. Then press and hold it for 1 minute, alternating arms.  Do this 5-10 minutes each day to clear heat and toxins.  

* A second point is called Inner Court (ST-44), This point is located between the second and third toes of your foot between the web. Pinch the web between the two toes. Hold for 3 to 5 minutes, then repeat on the other foot.

AVOID:
* Some medications can make acne worse such as steroids, birth control pills, psychotropic drugs.
* Being overweight can make acne worse as well as stress or the use of chemical cosmetic, skin, and hair care products.

ADVICE:
Be patient with yourself and your treatment. In my clinical experience, some cases can take 4-8 weeks to clear up and some can take 4-6 months. Each person responds differently. I recommend working closely with an acupuncturist & herbalist in your area.

BOOKS:
There is a great book on women’s hormones which can help you find additional information about hormonal imbalances called “The Hormone Cure” by Sara Gottfried, a Harvard trained MD who supports Acupuncture and herbal remedies.  
*To see which hormones might be out of balance for you, Take her free quiz here and then talk with your health care professional about treatment options:
http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/hormone-quiz-bonus/