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Integrative Dermatologist and Acupuncture: A Holistic Approach to Skin Health

Updated: Aug 3, 2023


Dermatology

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in integrative medicine and alternative therapies for various health conditions. One such area gaining popularity is integrative dermatology, where traditional dermatological practices are combined with alternative treatments like acupuncture and Chinese medicine herbs. This holistic approach addresses skin issues working on the condition's root, emphasizing the interconnectedness of the body and the mind.

In this article, we will explore the concept of integrative dermatology and its relationship with Chinese Medicine, highlighting the potential benefits and considerations for those seeking comprehensive skin care solutions.


Table of Contents

1 What is Integrative Dermatologist?


Holistic Medicine

It is an approach that combines conventional dermatological treatments with evidence-based complementary therapies to achieve optimal skin health. It acknowledges the connection between skin issues and various internal factors such as diet, stress, and lifestyle choices.


1.2 The Philosophy of Holistic Dermatology


The philosophy of Holistic dermatology revolves around treating the whole person rather than just the skin condition. It emphasizes that both internal and external factors influence skin health and seeks to address root causes.

In Traditional Chiese Medicine, the skin is linked to the intestines; whatever happens to the intestines, it will show out in the skin, so if you want to heal any skin disease, first you need to treat the intestines.

If you only use creams to try to solve skin problems, you will only achieve temporary relief because the problem is not in the skin; it is in the Intestines.


1.3 The Role of Conventional Dermatology


Conventional dermatology focuses on evidence-based treatments such as topical creams, medications, and surgical interventions. Integrative dermatologists utilize these treatments alongside complementary therapies for better outcomes.

Conventional medicine is more beneficial when the symptoms are very acute, especially when the symptoms are life-threatening. In those cases, it should be the first option.



Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine in Dermatology:


Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Medicine sees the body as a whole, and all aspects of the patient must be observed to understand the patient's disease fully. We address nutrition, emotions, organ functions, lifestyle, etc.

Skin diseases are the same, the manifestation is external, but the root cause is internal, usually very complex, requiring to balance Yin - Yang, Qi, and Blood and the function of different organs. Unless you find and treat the root cause with natural treatments, nothing is really going to last.

When you use a corticoid cream to treat psoriasis, the patient will feel relief, but the psoriasis will return as soon as the effect of the medication dissipates.

TCM uses acupuncture and botanical medicine to treat the root cause and balance the body. Once this is achieved, the symptoms disappear, and the patients recover their health.


Conditions Treated by Holistic Dermatology and Acupuncture:


- Acne and Acne Scarring


Ance

Holistic dermatology and acupuncture offer a multi-faceted approach to treating face and body acne, targeting external symptoms and underlying triggers like hormonal imbalances. A naturopathic doctor will use natural products and nutrition to help you. A TCM practitioner will use Chinese herbal formulas, acupuncture, and nutritional advice to improve the body's ability to recuperate the normal skin.


- Eczema and Psoriasis


Psoriasis

Psoriasis and Eczema are chronic and recurrent diseases that often imply an immune system condition aggravating the skin issue. Naturopathic doctors, as well as TCM practitioners, will apply a holistic treatment to improve the overall health of the patient and help them to recover normal skin naturally.

In TCM, these skin conditions, most of the time, are related to digestion issues.




- Rosacea and Facial Redness


Rosacea

Integrative treatments can help manage rosacea symptoms, including facial redness, flushing, and inflammation, improving the overall appearance and comfort of the skin.

Chinese medicine considers Rosacea a disease of "Heat" in the Blood; the treatment with Chinese Herbs, Acupuncture, and diet will aim to reduce Heat. Once this is achieved, the patient should be symptom-free and also should feel more relaxed, with deeper sleep, less anxiety, better mood, etc.


- Dermatitis and Skin Irritations


Dermatitis

In TCM, dermatitis usually is due to a liver condition. Other doctors will prescribe a cream to apply on the skin, but a TCM practitioner would address the skin irritation with other treatment options like Acupuncture or Chines herbs to help the Liver to resolve the inflammation.


- Premature Aging and Wrinkles

Since the skin reflects our interior, natural treatment with the proper diet and supplements can provide a great healing effect that most patients will appreciate. Integrative dermatology and acupuncture can support collagen production, firming the skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.


- Stress-Induced Skin Issues

Stress can aggravate skin conditions and reduce the natural healing capacity of the patients. Integrative dermatology addresses stress management alongside conventional treatments for better outcomes.

Once again, the proper vitamins, supplements, diet, acupuncture, and Chinese herbs would help the patients be healthier.



Benefits and Advantages of Integrative Dermatology:

  • A Holistic and Comprehensive Approach

Integrative dermatology addresses the root causes of skin issues, leading to more sustainable and long-term improvements in skin health.

  • Minimizing Side Effects

By incorporating acupuncture and natural therapies, the need for aggressive medications with potential side effects can be reduced.

  • Addressing Underlying Causes

Treating the whole person helps identify and address underlying issues that conventional dermatology might overlook.

  • Enhancing Overall Well-Being

The integrative approach not only improves skin health but also promotes overall well-being, including mental and emotional aspects.



Studies on Chinese Medicine and Skincare:


- Chinese Herbal Medicine for Psoriasis: Evidence From 11 High-Quality Randomized Controlled Trials

- Efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal medicine for atopic dermatitis: Evidence from eight high-quality randomized placebo-controlled trials

- Treatment of Rosacea using acupuncture for improving the local skin microcirculation

- Identifying Chinese herbal medicine network for treating acne: Implications from a nationwide database



Conclusion

Integrative dermatology, including Chinese Medicine, offers a promising approach to enhancing skin health by addressing the root causes of various dermatological conditions. By combining conventional and alternative therapies, individuals can achieve comprehensive and long-lasting results while promoting overall well-being. If you seek a holistic approach to skincare, consider consulting a qualified practitioner and experience the potential benefits of this integrative approach.



FAQs


Can integrative dermatology treat all skin conditions?

Integrative dermatology can be effective for many skin conditions, but individual results may vary. It's essential to consult with a qualified professional for personalized guidance.


Is acupuncture painful?

Acupuncture needles are very thin, and most people experience minimal discomfort during the procedure.


How many acupuncture sessions are typically needed?

The number of sessions required varies depending on the condition and individual response to treatment.


Does insurance cover integrative dermatology treatments?

Coverage for integrative treatments may vary depending on the insurance provider and policy. It's best to check with your insurance company for details. Usually, HSA covers Chinese medicine treatments.


Can integrative dermatology help with chronic skin issues?

Yes, integrative dermatology aims to address chronic skin issues by targeting underlying causes and providing holistic support.


Eduardo Velasco

AP, LAc




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