Can Acupuncture help Acne?
Acupuncture is the insertion of hair-thin sterile needles into the skin and is a typically painless way to signal the brain to make changes within the body. And while it may be news to you, acupuncture as a form of medicine has been getting results for over 2000 years, says Mary Sabo, L.Ac., acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, and assistant clinic director at The YinOva Center in New York City. Undergoing acupuncture therapy for acne often includes dietary changes and taking Chinese herbs and supplements along with weekly acupuncture appointments—far more involved than taking a pill or applying a cream.
But Sabo says the benefits of acupuncture extend beyond a patient’s pimples, and usually long after treatment has discontinued. “Regular acne creams are just suppressing the manifestation of underlying imbalance in the body, ” along with causing unwanted side effects like irritation, dry skin, and even increased risk of birth defects, says Sabo. The needles are applied to points that send signals to strengthen (as in digestion or immunity), reduce (inflammation, known as heat) and move stagnant energy. “Treatments with acupuncture work to make the whole body healthier, and in the process resolve the acne from the inside out—which is why many of my patients also see improvement in their digestion, sleep, stress levels, and energy.”
The findings also showed acupuncture was even more effective at increasing the number of cured patients when combined with herbal medicine. In Sabo’s mind, it makes perfect sense: “I think of acupuncture as communicating with the body, while herbal medicine provides the building blocks to help the body make those changes, ” she says. “Combining the two makes healing happen faster.”