Acne is one of the most common problems for young people, especially during adolescence. Boys suffer with acne more than girls, but occasionally the complaint persists beyond the teenage years.
Western medicine considers acne a hormone imbalance. However Chinese Medicine regards acne as a problem of damp heat which is brought about either by overeating hot and damp foods, or as the result of the digestive system being unbalanced. This means that the spleen and stomach are not functioning adequately and occasionally the trouble can be traced to the lungs.
Teenage acne usually clears up by itself, but those who have a problem with it should avoid deep-fried food like fish and chips or crisps, or hot food like chilli and curry. They should drink very little alcohol, and cut down on chocolate. Severe cases of chronic acne can be treated with antibiotics by a Western doctor, but if it persists, a Chinese Medicine doctor will investigate the action of the spleen and stomach and use purging herbs such as rhubarb to open the bowels. A Chinese Medicine practitioner will also give herbs to purify the blood and will recommend a special diet. It is better not to put too many external preparations on the spots. Smothering them in oils and lotions will only make matters worse.
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