Healing Acne Naturally
Here we share Letha Hadady's piece for the Academy Of Healing Nutrition.
The Academy of Healing Nutrition offers techniques for curative nutrition are preventative, empowering and time-tested. By stressing the natural over the artificial and focusing on simplicity rather than complexity, our program provides you with the tools to live the life you want—for longer.
Here we share their piece on healing acne with traditional Chinese medicine.
An acne attack may strike at any age. Stress, hormone imbalance, and unwise eating and drinking provoke temporary outbreaks because they increase inflammation. Traditional Chinese medicine offers a practical treatment strategy and simple teas to improve complexion as they detoxify acid impurities.
WHAT CAUSES ACNE?
Acne is provoked by chronic inflammation affecting the digestive tract, which results in impurities in our blood. Emotions, hormone levels, irregular sleep patterns, and addictions can all contribute to inflammation. Often when we use cleansing herbs for the complexion, other wellness issues improve. We may feel calmer, sleep better and digest with ease after using herbs that help to regulate the lungs, liver, and detoxify the colon.
Do your acne outbreaks accompany any of these?
- hyper energy or insomnia
- strong body odor
- vaginal discharge
These are signs of an internal imbalance that may be corrected with diet and herbal treatment.
Do your acne outbreaks accompany any of these, non-dietary causes?
- Anger, Frustration
- Lack of sleep
- Seasonal allergies
- Infection or contagious virus (herpes, STD)
- Hot weather
- Not changing clothing or bedding, especially pillowcases, often enough
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ACNE
In general, red irritated, itchy or painful rash indicates inflammation.
What makes it worse?
Stress, smoking, alcohol, inflammatory foods, bacteria, poor hygiene
What improves common acne?
A cleansing diet, and herbs that detoxify the blood, heals organs, and improve digestion (see below).
Wet, Oozing, Slow-healing blemishes or sores
Oozing, slow healing wounds, or blemishes can indicate general weakness, poor circulation, and an underlying condition that is increased by edema (water retention) caused by a weak spleen. This is called Dampness in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In other words, when digestion is slow, the body cannot easily eliminate wastes.
What makes it worse?
Low immunity, diabetes or underlying illness, obesity, sweets, and antibiotics or medicines that harm digestion can contribute to this type of acne.
What improves oozing sores?
Foods and herbs that support digestion and balanced gut bacteria (see below).
Fungal acne (AKA Pityrosporum folliculitis or Malassezia folliculitis) looks a lot like hormonal acne or bacterial acne but is actually not even really acne at all. Fungal acne is caused by an overgrowth of fungus that "feeds" on oil on our skin either from our own skin's oil (sebum) or any other oils or oil-rich creams applied to the skin.
For some people, this fungal infection results in a skin disorder called Tinea versicolor that looks like white patches on the skin. In others, it causes an infection of the hair follicles that resembles traditional acne—red bumps with occasional whiteheads. In contrast to real acne, with which you may see many types of different acne lesions together (some blackheads, some papules, some cysts), in fungal acne, there is a uniform appearance to the bumps...and they are frequently itchy. They appear most often in oily areas such as the forehead, sides of the nose, chin, and the upper back, chest, and shoulders.
What makes Fungal Acne Worse?
Fungal acne thrives in a hot, humid climate, with the use of oily or rancid skincare products, and with a diet high in sugar and foods that contribute to a yeast infection. Avoid soaps and clothes that irritate the skin, and try to allow the skin to breathe.
What improves fungal acne?
Antifungal treatments with organic tea tree oil, avoiding sensitive areas, and a diet that supports digestion and avoids sugar, alcohol, and yeasty foods can all help to minimize the occurrence of fungal acne.
WHERE DOES ACNE APPEAR?
Acne usually appears on the face, chest, back, or buttocks. Rashes resulting from food allergies, congesting cosmetics, irritating detergents, or heat rash may often be eliminated with a simple change in diet or beauty product.
Location of the Internal Energetic Problems indicated by Facial Acne:
The location of red, irritated facial acne blemishes can indicate which parts of the body are affected and the nature of the imbalance.
Forehead Acne: Possible causes are inflammation in the intestines, constipation, and rich congesting oily or waxy hair products.
Nose Acne, rosacea, or enlarged inflamed nose: Possible causes include inflammation affecting lungs or entire body, alcohol abuse, hormone imbalance
Cheeks and Mouth area Acne: Possible cause is inflammation affecting stomach or entire digestive tract, overly spicy hot diet
Chin Acne: Possible cause is inflammation in sexual organs, irregular menstruation, hormone imbalance, stress, and congestion in the lower body. Chin and jawline acne is often caused by fluctuations in hormones, which means a disruption with your endocrine system. It's typically a result of excess androgens, which over-stimulate the oil glands and clog pores.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Food Cures for Acne
Chinese medicine classifies food according to its energetic effects rather than according to its chemical makeup.
Certain foods are viewed as warming and/or nourishing while others are seen as cooling and/or cleansing or eliminating. Western medicine and dietetics assume that a banana, for example, is always a banana and its nutrition reacts the same way for anyone who eats one. Therefore a breakfast banana and yogurt should always have the same nutritional value, the same results for everyone no matter who is eating it. However, in traditional Chinese medicine, breakfast may be beneficial for people who require moisture to ease a dry cough, thirst, etc. They have a so-called yin deficiency. But such a moistening sweet creamy breakfast may be detrimental for people who often suffer from cold or damp weather or who overindulge in cold, raw, creamy foods that provoke edema, sinus infections, asthma, or other conditions associated with water retention.
In other words, foods have an energetic value that interacts with our constitution (inherited body, energy, immunity) and our condition (symptoms we are currently feeling.) In this context, foods can either help or hinder us to maintain wellness or recovering from illness. Put another way, not all “nourishing healthy” foods suit our individual needs.
TCM: LUNGS, LARGE INTESTINE, AND SKIN ENERGY SYSTEM
Chinese energetic medicine (TCM) links the outer body--the skin, eyes, hair, and muscles--with associated internal organs and blood. Circulation and organs are linked by meridians and the flow of energy through them is called Qi. The skin is part of a larger system including the organs and meridians of the lungs and large intestine. Here is an example of how TCM acne treatments work: If you were washing your car with a garden hose, you would first spray the roof, windows, doors, and finally the tires—from top to bottom--because you want the water to flow downward to the ground. We cleanse from inside by bringing inflammation and toxins affecting the skin, blood, liver, and lungs, to the large intestine in order to be eliminated. In the body, downward and inward is a natural pattern for cleansing.
For Acne: Bitter herbs that are cooling and detoxifying reduce impurities and those that increase bile are laxative.
FOODS THAT COOL AND CLEANSE THE LUNGS AND LARGE INTESTINE
Cooling and detoxifying foods improve inflammatory conditions such as acne, arthritis, allergies, etc. In Chinese Medicine, we recommend specific Lung-strengthening foods that are naturally fresh like sprouts and bitter greens. Also some high fiber foods that are “white” like cauliflower, blanched almonds, steamed daikon radish, potatoes, turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, apple, pear, rice, oats, and sesame seeds. We are advised to avoid inflammatory, congesting foods: meats, fowl except for white meat of turkey, onion, garlic, pepper, horseradish, chili or other hot spice.
SEASONAL FOODS AND BODY HEAT
In autumn’s dry and windy weather and in winter, when radiator heat dries the air we breathe, or if we smoke, we need to eat foods that generate fluid and moisten the lungs and skin. They include:
- Pears, apples, figs, persimmons, pumpkins,
- Snow ear fungus (tremella), soaked and cooked in soups
- Soaked nuts, seeds, and whole grains such as oatmeal, millet, rice, quinoa
- American ginseng is white, cooling, moistening and rejuvenating for the entire body and complexion.
SNOW MUSHROOM, TREMELLA
One of our favorite easy-to-make Fall soups combines pears, tremella (aka snow ear fungus, cloud fungus.) The fluffy white Tremella fuciformis is a very mild tasting fungus that grows in the tropics on the dead branches of broadleaf trees. It is a popular food in Asian cultures and easily found in Chinese supermarkets, herb shops, and online. It possesses spectacular nutrition for skin, health, and beauty. They include high amounts of polysaccharides, which are antioxidants that can help keep skin hydrated, promote nerve growth, and support the brain. Tremella may improve the levels of hyaluronic acid in the body, which can help to moisturize and improve the texture of the skin.
TREMELLA PEAR SOUP
- 1 piece of dried tremella
- 1 pear
- A handful of jujube red dates
- A handful of goji berries
- Soak the tremella overnight. Discard the water the following day. With a knife or scissor cut away the tough yellow part on the back of the tremella.
- Simmer the tremella in water for 45 minutes. It will be very soft and gelatinous.
- Cut the tremella into pieces.
- Add sliced pear, jujube dates, and goji berries and simmer for 15 more minutes.
- Sweeten with raw honey when it is cool.
CHINESE HERBS FOR ACNE
Following the principle of detoxification by bringing energy downward and inward, we combine bitter tasting, cooling, cleansing herbs with laxative herbs in order to rid the body of excess acid wastes that provoke and maintain acne. Here is a simple example.
HONEYSUCKLE FLOWER, DANDELION TEA
A bitter, cleansing tea of Japanese honeysuckle flowers (lonicera Japanica, which is antibiotic) and dandelion herb is blood cleansing, a diuretic and a laxative that can help to clear acne and eczema.
- 1 handful each of honeysuckle flower (jin yin hua) and dandelion herb.
- Blanch the herbs, then simmer for 2 minutes. Allow it to cool.
- Add a little lemon juice if needed for flavor. Do not sweeten the tea because sugar increases acidity and honey spreads acid from the blood to the skin. Bitter makes bile flow which is laxative. See a more comprehensive herbal formula based on this principle, a Chinese patent remedy, Lian Chaio Pai Tu Pien explained in Karma Herbs.
STRENGTHEN DIGESTION, BALANCE EMOTIONS TO SUPPORT BEAUTY AND WELLNESS
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Shen, usually translated as Spirit, refers to our consciousness, thoughts and emotions. A spirit or shen occupies and influences each of our deep organs. These spirits may be damaged by our actions, thoughts and emotions. This illustrates the TCM mind/body connection, an important part of understanding who we are and our ability to comprehend and act out our destiny. Our shen make us human and keeps us well. This soup, named in honor of shen, supports healthy digestion and kidney/adrenal energy with foods that detoxify the body and support vitality and mental clarity with enhanced digestion. Why is good digestion and mental clarity important? They help to keep our emotions in balance.
FOUR SPIRITS SOUP (SI SHEN HERBAL SOUP)
Fortifies energy, digestion, weight loss, mental clarity, and improved breathing, this bland-tasting soup may be used for fasting, as part of a weight loss program, or for deep cleansing from undigested food as well as thoughts and relationships. It can improve low energy that is due to poor digestion and phlegmy congestion that weakens breathing. The ingredients (high in B vitamins and minerals) are astringent (absorb digestive fluids) and diuretic (increase urination.) They rid the body of fat and phlegmy congestion that slow digestion. A traditional Chinese doctor would say that those ingredients “tonify spleen.”
- Euryale Seed/fox nuts
- Radix dioscorea/white yam root
- Lotus seed
- Tuckahoe (fu ling)
- Add the herbs to five bowls of water.
- Boil five bowls of water into two bowls, then filter and take the soup.
- The cooked yam, fox nuts and lotus seed can be eaten with a little powdered monk fruit.
If you have an underlying health condition, please consult your health provider before using this product. https://winghopfung.com/collections/herbal-soup-herbal-tea/products/si-shen-sou
For additional information and an expertly guided, comprehensive certificate program online to support overall wellness and longevity, see www.academyhealingnutrition.com