WHAT YOUR SKIN SAYS ABOUT YOU
From An Eastern Medicine Perspective
Your skin is your first line of defense against the outside world, and it is also often the first place to show signs of imbalance. Yes, we’re talking about your real money maker here! The more you learn about the wonders of the skin, the better you will be able to understand what might be going on internally.
In TCM, the body is viewed as a system of interrelated parts rather than separate systems or organs. The skin is the surface layer between your inner and outside world, and when issues begin to arise in your skin, this can actually be a sign of something occurring on a deeper level.
The skin is actually the largest organ in your body (who thought that was an organ? Be honest!), and when something is going on internally, it is often the first place to show it. Eastern medicine takes a unique approach to skin health by addressing things from the inside out. By understanding the wisdom of TCM, you can gain valuable insights into your skin health and access the radiant glow you’ve been dreaming of!
The Causes of Common Skin Problems According to TCM
As you grow awareness of your skin health, you will realize that it is actually a mirror for what is going on inside of you and can provide valuable insights into your overall health. So, every time you look in the mirror, what you’re really seeing back is a reflection of your inner body systems.
The essential underlying component of healthy skin in TCM is flowing qi or vital energy and maintaining a good balance of yin (cooling) and yang (heating) energies in the body. When all of these energies are balanced in your body, then your skin will automatically become clear. Skin imbalance is also often viewed as an immune issue and can signal something going on within your internal organs, particularly the liver, kidneys, and digestive system.
See below to understand more about the different variations of common skin problems according to eastern medicine and how to address them with TCM herbs.
Redness is generally a sign of heat in the body. In TCM, this can present as damp-heat toxins, stomach heat, heat in the blood, or liver heat. Redness may also be a sign of qi stagnation. Some excellent eastern medicinal herbs to reduce heat and redness include:
- Pearl powder
- Bitter melon
Oiliness or cystic acne often signifies excess dampness in the body. Dampness can accumulate due to qi stagnation, damp-heat toxins, heat in the blood, or liver heat. For oiliness, the best herbs to help reduce oil which can be used externally or internally, are:
In eastern medicine, dry skin may be due to wind-heat, qi stagnation, yin deficiency, or blood deficiency. Dryness is generally viewed as a deficient condition, and the following herbs can provide some incredible nourishment back to your skin:
- Chinese yams
- Red dates
Depending on the dryness of the rash, it may be due to either wind-heat or damp-heat toxins. The cause may also be from stomach heat, heat in the blood, liver heat, or even a yin deficiency. To balance and heal a rash, try one of the following TCM herbs:
- Sophora root
Remember to always seek the guidance of a trained traditional Chinese medicine herbalist or doctor before starting any herbal protocols to find the right formula for you. No matter how tempting it is to go on a WebMD deep dive, it might be best sometimes to leave things to the professionals.
How to Improve Your General Skin Quality with TCM
Consume Anti-Inflammatory Foods that Nourish Yin
Most skin disorders occur due to underlying inflammation or heat, also known as yang, in the body. The foods that you eat can either increase this inflammation or decrease it. To prevent further inflammation, try avoiding hot or heavy foods such as fried foods, dairy products, refined sugar, and spicy foods.
Instead of eating these foods, try consuming Yi Yi Ren or pearl barley for breakfast, a famous Chinese herbal medicine and breakfast food. You could also add cooling or yin foods to your diet, such as mung beans, seaweed, cucumber, lotus root, watermelon, lettuce, celery, squash, or bitter melon. Or if you’re feeling really courageous, maybe even some boiled jellyfish (yes, that is a real thing).
Find Balance Through Acupuncture
Your body is made of a complex system of energetic pathways called meridians. One of the reasons that imbalances in the skin can occur is due to blockages or stagnation in these pathways. Acupuncture can directly target and release these blockages, increasing your blood flow and promoting healing for your skin and internal organs. I know acupuncture needles seem like a strange way to improve your skin, but it’s surprisingly effective, and don’t worry, they don’t hurt at all!
Clear Toxins from Your Body
Environmental toxins are more prevalent than we realize, and when you are exposed to these toxins, they can cause greater imbalances internally, often showing up through your skin. The first step to clearing your skin is investigating the possible toxins in your products and home.
Many people don’t realize that conventional skin products can often cause more harm than good. With a more natural approach from TCM, you can improve your skin without accidentally worsening the issue. So, next time you get the urge to do some late-night skincare retail therapy, you might want to think twice!
Also, try adding dandelion tea as a daily drink; it is a natural liver cleanser and detoxifying drink that can flush out the toxins from your body and clear your skin. This yin herb is also excellent for excessive heat and dampness in the body.
Imbalances in your skin can also arise due to excessive stress and tension in life. Reducing stress and calming your mind is essential to improving your skin health and overall wellbeing. Another excellent self-care practice that you can add to your daily routine is using a jade roller. This calming tool can improve blood circulation and get rid of bad qi, giving your skin some much-needed refreshment. So, next time you start to get stressed from a work project or friend drama, try taking some you-time and pamper your skin instead!
Eastern Medicine: The Secret to Radiant Skin
Nothing is a greater sign of radiant health than clear, shining skin. Your skin is one of the first things that others view in the world, and it is also often the first place where imbalances show up when something arises on a deeper level. Through the wisdom of eastern medicine, you can quickly get your skin back on track, giving you confidence and clarity from the inside out.
Remember to always consult with a Chinese medicine practitioner for more detailed guidance on how to improve your skin health. TCM is a vast and complex practice, but with the direction of a trained professional, you can improve your skin in no time!