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How would a Naturopathic Acupuncturist address the common skin condition, acne?

Acne Vulgaris is one of the most common skin conditions affecting a large percentage of the adult population. It can drastically affect our emotional health, causing depression and a significant lack of confidence and self-esteem for both men and women. The continual stress that Acne brings daily to sufferers can also contribute to the progression of other illnesses, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome because of the Acne’s very visible and chronic nature. Acne sufferers are more prone to social isolation and suicidal thoughts.

Clearing Acne Vulgaris without potentially problematic long-term antibiotic use or birth control pills, requires an integrated approach to its treatment as there are many factors which contribute. Acne is a genetic issue in approximately 80% of all cases, but can also be a result of hormone, sebum and bacterial imbalances, all of which are best to identify before embarking on a treatment programme.

Training as a Naturopathic Acupuncturist with CNM means you will be able to diagnose from an integrative viewpoint and therefore be able to identify the root cause of the Acne using a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis. As well as examining the tongue and feeling the energy of the wrist pulse, you will be taught to ask many questions which will help identify the root cause. You will also be able to diagnose from a western nutrition, herbal medicine and homeopathic view-point.


Your training will encourage you to investigate the signs and symptoms of Acne, like a health-detective, so you would be interested in when in the month the acne is better or worse; what is the sleep pattern; what is the diet; and how do the bowels perform.

Acne vulgaris doesn’t present in exactly the same way with every sufferer. Everyone is different. For example, Acne spots which hurt to touch, present as red and swollen and have yellow or pustules at the centre would be described as ‘Damp-heat’ from a Chinese Medicine perspective. 

Needle for acupuncture on spa stones on table close up

Treating the Damp-heat would incorporate a mixture of approaches. Fine acupuncture needles, the width of a hair are inserted painlessly into specific Acupuncture points in the feet and hands to clear the heat and damp which may have been caused by bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes. Rarely would needles be placed around the spots.


The Damp is generally related to diet, particularly in the form of dairy. Milk in particular contains oestrogens, progesterone and androgens. Damp can also be caused by processed food, alcohol, and refined sugar which affects insulin sensitivity. Acne has been described as ‘diabetes of the skin’ so eliminating high-GI (Glycaemic Index) foods and food high in trans-fats such as ready-meals, cakes and biscuits is recommended.

Eating foods which have the right levels of vitamins such as Vitamin C, E, D and K are important. Ingesting a teaspoon of coconut oil a day is perfect to help these vitamins which are reliant on good fats to absorb.

Topically applied medicinal herbs that may be recommended by a CNM Naturopathic Acupuncturist can be effective too.

Turmeric can be applied as a face mask because of its anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties. Turmeric is a yellow, native Indian spice and has two significant effects. Firstly, it helps to clear acne scars and inflammation and secondly, it reduces any oil secretion from the sebaceous glands. It won’t turn your skin yellow as long as you buy pure, organic turmeric which contains no artificial dyes.

Clearing Acne naturally is possible with an integrated Naturopathic Acupuncture approach combining diet, herbs and Acupuncture.

By Acupuncturist and CNM lecturer Amanda Hair.

 Find out more about CNM Acupuncture courses.


By Acupuncturist and CNM lecturer Amanda Hair.

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