I’ve been curious about acne lately. Is it really just about clogged pores? Does it flare up when a person has more dairy than normal? As a firm believer that our bodies constantly give us signs when something is out of whack with our health, I wonder if acne could be yet another warning about a specific issue that needs resolution.
Maybe it’s time for a new way to think about acne?
I started dealing with acne around the fifth grade. From what I remember, it was mostly concentrated on my forehead. Lucky for me, feathered bangs were all the rage at the time, and they helped cover it up—for the most part. I never thought about why it only showed up on my forehead. That is, until the same trend repeated with one of our boys.
I know he keeps his face clean and moisturized every day. We eat a pretty healthy diet as a family. Yet he still has a splattering of zits on his forehead on a fairly regular basis. My curious self-healther brain began to wonder if there was something significant about the recurring location of acne. There was only one way to find out: do some digging. 🙂
According to Chinese medicine doctor Dr. Wang Zheng Hu, localized acne may have more to do with the amount of time you spend cleaning that area. Pay attention to where your acne is located, and then try using this Chinese Acne Face Map to see what it could be trying to tell you. The location of your acne may be related to something simple or something a bit more complex; such is the way of Chinese medicine.
Traditional Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years. It’s rooted in a philosophy that’s always made sense to me: systematically treating the whole person rather than covering up symptoms. One of the really compelling aspects of Chinese medicine is that it doesn’t rule out the obvious “surface” causes of any particular health issue.
For example, zits on your forehead could simply mean that the baseball cap you wear most days needs to be washed more frequently. Or perhaps it means you need to change your skincare products. Try making those easy changes and see what happens. If the acne doesn’t clear up, consider a more complex solution, such as optimizing your sleep routine or paying attention to your digestion.
What I found intriguing about the Chinese map of acne was how the more complex issues seemed to fit our son pretty well. You see, earlier this summer we found out that he hasn’t been sleeping very well. He’s been stressed out since we moved a little over a year ago, and he has a tendency to be a worrier (much like his mother). These are all signs that show up in forehead acne. To boot, in working with our clinical nutritionist to support his healing and balancing, we discovered his body hasn’t been digesting proteins very well. Digestion is yet another issue associated with acne on your forehead.
If working with this ancient wisdom intrigues you, pick up a copy of Chinese Medicine by Siamak Shirazi and Julie A. Shivley. It’s all in there: interrelationships, common syndromes, signs and symptoms of imbalances, dietary guidelines, simple recipes to restore balance and health, recommendations for nutritional and herbal supplements, and relevant protocols.
As we’ve been getting our son’s body the nutritional support it craves and figuring out a consistent sleep routine he can stick to, his acne has improved. When he has a flare-up, we take note of what’s been different, whether it be the stress of school starting up again or eating too many treats during a visit back to Wisconsin to see family.
Since the body can take a little time to heal and get back into balance, we’ve experimented with some of the surface solutions too. Just for kicks, one day I grabbed our tube of USF Ointment from Standard Process to see what it would do. Wowza, it’s been a big help. During a flare-up, our son routinely puts it on each night during, and it looks better and better each morning.
As Stephanie Selene Anderson explained to me, USF ointment “works by reason of the ingredient lard. The vitamin F fatty acids in the lard draws calcium to the area, which then heals inflammation, redness, etc.” It works for other things too, like bug bites. I can tell you from first-hand experience, it’s worthy of a spot in your medicine cabinet. And since a little USF Ointment goes a long way, you’ll be reaching for it frequently.
Is it time for you to take on a new way of thinking about acne?
Images from iStock/chombosan (main), mixandi(post image).