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The skin is the largest organ of the body and protects us from mechanical and chemical injury. Since it is exposed to a host of dangers, there are a number of conditions that can affect the skin. In fact, there are thousands of diseases that  can change the appearance of the skin in terms of color and texture. Symptoms can stay for days, weeks or more. Many go away merely with improved hygiene. Most of these conditions are preventable.

Skin diseases vary with severity, frequency of occurrence and of course, duration. There are skin conditions that are painless while others can be very painful. Fortunately acupuncture has been shown to relieve and in many cases eliminate many annoying skin conditions. For thousands of years, acupuncture and herbs have been used to treat a wide array of common skin conditions. That same wisdom can be effectively applied today. Before delving into how acupuncture treats the skin let’s go over a few of the more common conditions that affect the skin.

Urticaria

It is commonly referred to as hives and affects about 20% of individuals at one point of their life. It has a number of triggers and begins as an itchy area of skin. The itch may be severe or mild and after a while it turns into a swollen welt. The itch may be worsened by exercise, alcoholic beverages or stress. Hives is caused by triggers like insect bites or stings, latex, bacterial infections including strep throat and urinary tract infection. Its symptoms include the raised parts of skin that may be red or the color of the skin. The red welts turn white at the center when pressed, this is referred to as blanching. Treatment of hives depends on the trigger. A medical practitioner will usually conduct blood tests and offer something to ease the symptoms. In most cases antihistamines work well, but with side effects.

Dermatitis

The name of the disease basically means skin inflammation. However, inflammation is not the only effect of the disease, it has other symptoms too. Dermatitis is caused by a host of triggers such as build up of bacteria on the skin, cosmetics and perfumes, cleaning products, jewelry with nickel and yeast fungus among others. It is identified by dry, itchy skin that has turned red. When it becomes more serious, scales appear on the skin as well as blisters oozing fluid and cracks; which are painful. Doctors identify dermatitis by looking at the irritation and location of the inflamed parts of the skin. Mild forms of the inflammation usually respond to hydrocortisone creams that you can find over-the-counter. The itching can also be reduced by an oral antihistamine.

Acne

This is a condition that many people dealt with in their pubescent years. The age bracket of those affected is 12-25 years, but even younger or older people could still be affected. Acne is a condition that affects boys more than it affects girls. It can spread over the face, shoulders, back, neck and chest. When it goes untreated, acne could last up to 4 or 5 years before it settles, however, it can last even longer in some cases. Acne is caused by blockage of pores by dead skin cells. Sebum is trapped in these pores and begins to build up. The buildup is faster in teenagers since they produce more sebum due to changes in hormone production. The sebum provides a conducive environment for Propionibacterium acnes – the bacteria that causes acne to thrive. This results in small pimples that develop into blackheads and whiteheads. The condition can be treated by topical medications such as topical antibiotics, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide and azelaic acid. It can also be treated by isoretinoin tablets and antibiotic tablets. After the condition is treated, the skin remains discolored for a few months in what is known as post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.

Eczema

This is a condition that is characterized by dry skin which is sensitive. The symptoms vary with every patient and the rash may also look different. Eczema is caused by a variety of factors like allergens, a poorly functioning immune system, genetics and activities that cause skin sensitivity. It affects different parts of the body such as the neck, elbows, wrists, hands, knees and eyelids. Symptoms such as crusting of skin, blisters with oozing fluid, scaly regions, red inflamed patches and itching. Treatment of eczema includes use of corticosteroids, antihistamines, hydrocortisone cream, immunosuppressant drugs and immunomodulators. For people with a mild form of the illness a few lifestyle changes and changing their skin care routine may be all that is needed.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that is known to last for a long time despite treatment. Its symptoms include; Scaly skin that is inflamed and red. The skin dries up and develops cracks which are painful and bleed. The illness also affects fingernails and toenails causing pitting and discoloration. The disease has causes that range from; emotional trauma and stress, certain medications, or even streptococcal infection. Psoriasis comes in 3 forms known as inverse, guttate or erythrodermic psoriasis. The condition is uncomfortable and changes the skin’s appearance. Moreover it is difficult to treat and can be very frustrating. Therapies and medications can be used to alleviate the most noticeable symptoms such as red, thickened scaly skin. Psoriasis comes and goes all through a person’s lifetime in flare-ups. Learn more

Acupuncture for skin disease treatment

Are you ready for the good news? Acupuncture, Chinese herbs and lifestyle modifications can greatly improve all types of skin conditions. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs treat skin diseases in a manner different from western medicine. TCM addresses both the root cause of a disease and the branch, its symptoms. The treatment and diagnosis for each patient are tailored to their unique symptoms. Depending on the condition, acupuncture treatment may involve acupuncture, herbal preparations, and lifestyle modifications. Treatment may be administered once or twice a week for 12 weeks. Most conditions clear quickly while others, more stubborn conditions, heal at a slower pace.

If you suffer from a skin condition, call us at Boca Raton Acupuncture for a free consultation to find out more about how acupuncture and TCM can help you.