Your skin is your largest organ. It’s also your most reliable messenger. How? When your health suffers or your internal system becomes imbalanced, your skin will be the first to show it.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to get frustrated with our loyal “messenger” when we’re constantly struggling with irritable skin.
Thankfully, Traditional Chinese medicine often offers a powerful solution for those with frustrating skin problems (and sometimes outperforms conventional pharmaceuticals and products). Even better, Chinese medicine helps correct those underlying issues so you not only reveal healthier skin but improve your whole-body health, too.
Let’s learn more about Chinese medicine for skin conditions, and how you can use herbal medicine to support your skin naturally.
More than Skin Deep: The TCM Perspective on Skincare
Chinese medicine takes a whole-body approach when diagnosing and managing skin conditions.
In this system, beautiful, glowing, clear skin is the result of balance and wellness. When we experience skin issues, this is a sign that there is an imbalance at play internally.
To fix this imbalance, the Chinese medicine approach always starts with the root cause. Rather than cover up or override what’s happening in the body, TCM aims to restore the body to balance so the skin heals on its own. To do that, we need to know what the underlying imbalance is. Here are some of the very basic root causes of skin conditions in TCM:
Excess heat in the body (often due to inflammation or hormone imbalance) is one of the most common causes of skin issues. Hot-type skin issues are typically red, warm to the touch, itchy, and angry. Skin issues with bleeding (like bleeding rashes or sores) also commonly have a heat component.
Dampness is an intriguing concept in Chinese medicine. Just like excess water builds up and stagnates in marshes and swamps, so do excess fluids in the body. When it comes to the skin, we can see a build-up of dampness with issues like whiteheads and acne, psoriasis lesions, hives, and more.
Stagnation is a common problem in those who live sedentary lifestyles or are highly stressed. In the skin, stagnation shows up as painful breakouts, irritated skin, and scarring.
Sometimes there simply aren’t enough fluids, blood, or qi to nourish the skin. This can lead to itching, pale skin, aging skin, slow-healing skin, and autoimmune-related skin conditions.
What Skin Conditions Can Chinese Medicine Treat?
Traditional Chinese medicine therapy has been used to help relieve skin disorders for at least 3600 years in China. Because this system addresses the underlying root cause of skin conditions, it is a potential solution for almost any situation. Here are some of the most common reasons people seek out Chinese medicine for skin problems:
Herbal Skincare at Home: How to Use Chinese Herbs to Enhance Your Skin Care Routine
Chinese herbal medicine helps improve your skin’s health from within. But how can you start? Here are three simple ways to get started using Chinese herbs in your daily routine to improve the look, feel, and health of your skin:
Drink a skin-boosting herbal tea daily.
Staying hydrated is an important habit for healthy skincare. To enhance the benefits of those eight glasses per day, why not make some of them a skin-boosting herbal elixir?
Several Chinese herbs can be enjoyed alone or in a simple combination as a daily tea for skin health. Try one of these blends:
Make your own herbal skin care products.
Chinese herbs can be used topically in products like toners, mists, and balms. A simple way to incorporate Chinese herbs into your daily skincare routine is to make a hydrating, acne-clearing honeysuckle and rosebud tonic face mist.
To make the mist, blend 2-4 tablespoons of rosebuds (mei gui hua) and honeysuckle (jin yin hua) in a small pot. Cover with 1 cup of distilled water and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the herbs out of your liquid. Let it cool, then transfer to a glass spray bottle. You can add a tablespoon of pure aloe gel or vitamin E oil to your mist for added hydration (be sure to shake well).
Get a customized Chinese herbal formula.
A Chinese herbal formula is one of the most effective ways to combat your skin problems. A Chinese medicine practitioner will consider your unique constitution, skin symptoms, underlying root causes, and whole-body health to create a formula that’s focused on treating your unique skin imbalances.
Heal Your Skin with Chinese Medicine
Skin conditions can be frustrating, but you don’t have to live with them forever. Chinese medicine offers a fresh perspective on a healthy skincare routine and many effective natural remedies for achieving clear, healthy, glowing skin.
Check out our Summer 2022 newsletter for more tips on using Chinese herbs for beautiful skin.