A Chinese Medicine Practitioner View on Skin Conditions – Dr Billy He

​The skin is the body's largest organ, prompting skin diseases to occur most commonly. These transpire when the normal physiological activities of the skin are interrupted. Under the guidance of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture theories, the specialized discipline of Chinese dermatology studies the prevention and treatment of skin diseases. in order to achieve the maintenance and restoration of skin functions.

The history of the treatment of skin diseases by Chinese medicine can be traced back two thousand years ago. The "Emperor's Internal Classic" is the source of traditional Chinese medicine theory. It records the prevention and treatment of skin diseases using acupuncture and herbal medicine. Chinese medicine believes that the organs of the human body encompass the whole system. Although symptoms of skin disorders appear externally, they are caused by blood disorders, functional changes in organs, and the imbalance of yin and yang in the body.

For example, the "Emperor's Internal Classic" states there to be specific connections between the five organs and the body. The essence of the heart is on the face, the essence of the lung is on the skin, the essence of the spleen is on the lips, the essence of the liver is on the nails, and the kidney associates with the hair. Therefore, the skin is closely related to the five internal organs, rendering internal organ dysfunction the cause of skin issues.

​The Chinese medicine treatment of skin diseases connects external skin symptoms with internal organs, systems, meridians and blood. It uses acupuncture, natural herbs, moxibustion, and diet therapy.

Herbs for Skin Condition

Causes of Skin Diseases in Chinese Medicine

​Wind

Many skin diseases are closely related to wind.

If the human skin defense function is low, wind will invade through the skin pores, leading to abnormal movement of blood and a lack of nutrition in the skin. This results in itchiness, wheal, pimples, rubella, papules, and other conditions. Common diseases are urticaria and alopecia areata.

​​Damp​ness

If dampness invades the skin, there may be rash, itchiness, exudate, and more. Dampness possesses a sticky and greasy character, causing blisters or erosion with a lengthy healing period. Common diseases are eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.

​Heat

Heat infringes the skin, producing burning, itching, and aching. Skin diseases caused by heat often exhibit with redness, abscesses, and warmth. Heat skin disorders may also present with body heat, thirst, and constipation. Common diseases are herpes zoster and acne.

​Blood

A deficiency in blood is the cause of chronic skin diseases. The symptoms are often longer in duration and include dry skin lesions, hypertrophy, roughness, and desquamation.

Blood stasis presents itself in skin diseases as dull skin, dark purple spots, ecchymosis, nodules, and lumps. The common diseases are psoriasis and pityriasis rosea.

My Skin Diseases Treatment Theory

Skin diseases are manifestations of the body's systemic imbalance. Therefore, I advocate "the treatment to be preceded by all internal factors," taking into account local skin lesions and whole body conditioning.

After 12 years of practice with skin diseases, I formed a "soil theory". The main clinical manifestations of skin issues include: rashes, pimples, blisters, nodules, cysts, ulcers, and desquamation. Repeated onset of these symptoms can damage the patient's physical and psychological health. 

My soil theory relates the appearance of dermatological symptoms to weeds growing in soil. Western medicine uses antibiotics, hormone creams, and immunosuppressants to directly affect the skin lesions. However, I believe these treatments are not enough to heal and control dermatitis as they solely play the role of the “herbicide” or “weeder”, which is followed by further “growing”. The greatest benefit of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of skin diseases is the act of considering each patient’s internal balances and blood dysfunction through pulse, tongue diagnosis, and syndrome differentiation. Assessing the “environment of the soil” allows for the usage of individually formulated acupuncture points, natural herbs, and external herbal creams. Changing the “environment of the soil” thereby fundamentally eradicates the potential of “weed growing” and can achieve the goal of skin healing.

In Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are the main treatments for skin diseases. The acupuncture treatment uses needles to stimulate specific points, clear the meridians, and regulate blood circulation. Needling and herbs together assist in  clearing white patches, rashes, prurigo, dark spots, melasma, pigmentation, etc.

Woman scratching her back closeup

We Use Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs to Assist with:

  • 1
    ​Adnexal diseases: acne, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, alopecia, hair loss.
  • 2
    ​Pigment disorders: melasma, vitiligo, melanosis.
  • 3
    ​Allergic and autoimmune dermatosis: contact dermatitis, eczema, ectopic dermatitis, urticaria.
  • 4
    Neurological disorders: pruritus, neurodermatitis, prurigo.
  • 5
    Erythema papules scale skin disease: psoriasis, pityriasis rosea, annular erythema, lichen planus.
  • 6
    Viral skin diseases: herpes zoster, herpes simplex, and common warts.
  • 7
    Fungal skin diseases: Head lice, body lice, tinea pedis, pityriasis versicolor
  • 8
    Connective tissue disease: lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, Sjogren's syndrome and dermatomyositis.
  • 9
    Photosensitivity: phytotoxic dermatitis, heat rash.

I am more than happy to discuss any of your skin concerns and provide insights on how Chinese medicine can possibly help you. If you are interested please contact me.

About the Author Dr Billy He

Dr Billy He is a highly skilled Chinese medicine practitioner and acupuncturist. He has been practicing Chinese medicine and acupuncture for more than 9 years in Beijing and Australia....​His areas of expertise are Skin Conditions, Pain Management, Immune & Allergies and TCM General Practice