Have you ever noticed how many ProActive commercials are on TV or in magazines? Since skin care is part of my purveyance as a Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture specialist, I can’t help but tally it subconsciously and let me tell you - its a lot.
The surprising thing to me is how the marketing has shifted in recent years from a teen focus to women in their late 30’s, mid 40’s and early 50’s. Its shifted to the “perimenopause” crowd who are dealing with the combined injustice of aging skin that is wrinkling combined with breakouts, often around a (never ending and increasingly irregular) menstrual cycle.
Its unfair, right? So unfair. Yet very common as we age. Acne mid cycle (around ovulation) and right before the menstrual cycle - especially cystic acne around the mouth and chin - are tell tale signs that your hormones are running amok and need some reigning in if you want lasting relief from this unsightly problem.
A product like ProActive will work in the short term and will help minimize breakouts, but it will not change the hormone imbalance that is the root of the problem. Chinese Medicine, however, has an excellent track record with hormonal balancing, including hormonal acne resolution.
Furthermore, when you combine the theory and practice of Chinese Medicine with the efficacy of Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture - wherein hormonal imbalances specifically in the face are part of standard treatment - you can truly say that Acupuncture and Hormones seem like a match made in 天堂 (Tiantang) or heaven if you want the English translation.
Facial Acupuncture Treats Acne with Lasting Results
In Chinese Medicine, acne is considered a heat condition. Heat flares up along the Stomach and Conception Vessel meridians in particular and can combine with dampness along the way creating various break out conditions from redness (acne rosacea) to white heads, black heads and cystic presentations.
When you are young and growing, the body is said to be in a “Full Yang” state of constant change. Teenagers experiencing puberty are subject to flare ups of excess yang energy that can manifest as acne.
As you age and your Yin declines in particular, you experience Deficient Yin with Yang Rising - essentially, you lose some of your Yin element and the Yin therefore cannot adequately anchor the Yang leading to Yang rising and flaring upward to the head which can cause dryness, combination skin, wrinkling, headaches, hot flashes, night sweats and - again - acne.
Chinese Medicine - Acupuncture, Herbs and lifestyle advice - can rebalance the underlying disorder by clearing the local heat as well as tonifying the weak Yin at the root of the problem to stop the cycle allowing the skin to heal.
Facial Acupuncture takes a typical Chinese Medicine treatment to the next level by not only treating the body and the underlying condition, but also applying specific facial needling techniques to areas of concern - including common break out areas AND lines and wrinkles at the same time. It is a maximally effective hormone balancing treatment and anti-aging treatment combined.
A full 90 minute Facial Acupuncture Session also includes Facial Gua Sha, a focused resculpting massage using a jade or natural horn gua sha (massage) tool which can further disperse excessive Yang Qi (energy) in common break out areas. Learning to do simple Gua Sha on problem areas yourself at home can further increase the success of treatment and give you something simple and effective you can do to decrease breakouts long term on your own.
What Happens in a Facial Acupuncture Session? How Long Does It Take to Work?
A full facial acupuncture series is 12 treatments over a 9 week period - the first 6 treatments are done 2x/week and the next 6 are done once a week thereafter. Each treatment consists of body acupuncture to treat the general constitution and any underlying conditions present (this part can sometimes be billed to insurance), as well as focused facial acupuncture for your individual acne and anti-aging skin concerns. A facial steam with essential oils is used to soften the skin before facial needles are applied and after the facial needles come out. After the facial needles are removed, 20-30 minutes of Gua Sha resculpting massage are performed and local organic skin oils are applied to the face to heal and preserve the effects of treatment.
Mild redness is common immediately after a session and usually fades in 20-30 minutes, just like you’d experience after a classic facial with extractions. Home care is prescribed in some cases, and your skin care regime is reviewed as well to ensure that you are doing everything you can at home to successfully reach your skin care goals.
Most people can see a change in their skin after just one treatment, and see big change between treatments 6 to 8. Continued regular treatment for 4-6 weeks thereafter for a full 12 treatment series is recommended to ensure lasting change. The effects from a full course of treatment can often last for 2-5 years depending on your age and your maintenance regime.
It is the nature of Chinese Medicine to treat holistically, and Facial Acupuncture is no exception. Facial Acupuncture cannot be performed without treating underlying health concerns, because the energetic channels in the face connect to organ systems and channels that traverse the entire body.
As a natural treatment, it takes some time but the results can be visible and lasting for years to come. Facial Acupuncture treats acne as well as redness, extremes of dryness or oiliness, lines and wrinkles, sagging and eye puffiness. It can help locally with sinus congestion too! I cannot say it is miraculous, but I can say with confidence that it is lasting and effective.
Questions? Contact Rebecca via email anytime, or book a free 15 minute consultation anytime! You can also post in the comments section and I’ll do my best to address your concerns.
Until next time,
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.