Acupuncture for Acne: How Acupuncture Can Help Your Skin


You may wish that you had known about acupuncture for acne when you were in your teens, but it’s not too late to start. If you’re experiencing problems with your skin, or you’re a teen still in the thick of puberty, acupuncture can be effective in helping you clear your skin right up. It may not be the most common or well-known of acne remedies, but it’s definitely worth trying out.


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Acne in a nutshell

Acne is more than just something that can make or break school pictures. Some people may stop getting acne as much as they grow into adulthood, while others may still have bad acne even as adults. Acne has a lot of causes, and for some, it can be difficult to get rid of.


Pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, nodules, and cysts are all considered to be acne. There are various treatments that can help manage acne, such as specially formulated facial washes or medication. However, acupuncture for acne has also been found to be quite effective, and it’s something that you may want to consider if you’ve exhausted all the usual remedies without much luck.



We have hair follicles all over our skin. When these hair follicles get clogged with dirt, dead skin, sebum, they form a sort of plug. When this plug is infected by bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes, acne is more likely to occur. Acne most commonly shows up on the face, chest, back, and shoulders, and can also vary in severity.


There are a lot of things that can make you more likely to develop acne. Hormones can cause breakouts, and so can menstruation, stress, medications, a hot and humid climate, and oily cosmetics. If you pop pimples, you’ll also be more likely to develop more acne.


Usual remedies

Many people have that one acne remedy that they finally found after a long time of battling acne and that they swear by. For some, all it may take to prevent acne is sticking to a hygiene regimen. For others, their acne may flare up at a certain point during their menstrual cycle and clear up in a week or so.


A lot of factors can come into play when it comes to acne, and sometimes, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to preventing breakouts. A proper diet, a hygiene regimen, frequent hand-washing, avoiding stress, and taking measures to prevent sweating can all help prevent and clear up acne.


If your acne is severe, you’ll need to see a dermatologist or skin specialist who can prescribe antibiotics, topical remedies, or medications that can help you manage your acne. However, you can also undergo acupuncture as an alternative or a complement to those remedies.



Acupuncture for acne

Acupuncture probably isn’t something you’ve considered when it comes to acne treatment, prevention, and management. Even so, there is compelling evidence that acupuncture can help you when many other acne remedies and treatments have failed. This may seem like acupuncture for acne is a last resort, but you can definitely undergo acupuncture before you run out of remedies to try.


Of course, you may have some misgivings about acupuncture, especially since it entails the use of multiple needles. However, acupuncture is generally safe and low-risk, and the insertion of needles doesn’t usually hurt. Acupuncture needles are finer than needles used for injections and other similar purposes, so they won’t cause much pain when inserted.


The basics of acupuncture

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Acupuncture is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). According to TCM, a life force called qi (pronounced “chee”) flows through every individual along markers called meridians. When the flow of qi is disrupted, it can result in physical, emotional, or mental problems.


To restore the proper flow and balance of qi, a licensed acupuncturist inserts fine needles into acupuncture points. Each acupuncture point is tied to an organ in the body as well as specific symptoms. The insertion of needles stimulates these acupuncture points, which in turn stimulate qi into returning to its normal flow.


Acupuncture is generally safe and low-risk. Most of its risks are related to unlicensed and inexperienced acupuncturists, as well as the improper use of needles. However, a licensed acupuncturist will make sure that you receive proper care.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, this isn’t something you’ll need to worry about. Tram Pham, our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles. She also has years of experience in treating patients using acupuncture as well as other TCM modalities.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


How acupuncture can help you

Acne has been in the crosshairs of TCM for a long time. In fact, an ancient Chinese medical document called Huangdi Neijing mentions acne and concludes that it’s the result of “heat, toxicity, and dampness.” (Note that “heat” in TCM seems to be equivalent to “inflammation” in terms of biomedicine). According to this document, excess heat in the stomach and lungs can swell up into the face and result in acne.


The stimulation of specific meridians or acupuncture points can remove and regulate this heat, thus helping you manage acne. Other than that, acupuncture can also affect the activity of hair follicles. Hair follicles in acupuncture points stimulated by needles may also be induced to produce less sebum, thus reducing the chances of acne developing.



Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, we provide a variety of treatments and remedies guided by the principles and age-old modalities of TCM. This includes acupuncture for acne and other ailments and issues. The clinic has been serving the Santa Barbara area since 1986, and it is carrying on that tradition under the guidance of Tram, our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist.


You can schedule an appointment of consultation with us by calling us at 805-563-0222 or emailing us at You can also have a consultation with Tram over the phone or via video call. Contact us today and get started on your journey to clearer and healthier skin!