Fac­ing east

Can herbs and acupunc­ture get to the root of re­cal­ci­trant break­outs? Writer Katie Becker sur­ren­ders her skin to Chi­nese medicine.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Beauty -

Af­ter 10 years of bat­tling painful and in­flamed acne, I found my­self on the ta­ble of an acupunc­tur­ist who spe­cialises in treat­ing the skin with tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine, I got a very firm (if in­scrutable) an­swer: I have too much damp.

It’s Chi­nese medicine for: my body’s slug­gish about cart­ing off tox­ins, so they build up in my skin.

The treatment plan is three­fold: first, toxin- and in­flam­ma­tion-clear­ing herbs, ad­justed bi­weekly de­pend­ing on my sleep qual­ity, di­ges­tion, stress and men­strual cy­cle. They come as pre-cooked liq­uids that taste like a mix of hay, vine­gar and spoiled veg­eta­bles; I have to drink them twice a day. Three times a week, I also spend 10 min­utes us­ing a flat jade stone to gen­tly pull or ‘scrape’ the skin on my face and neck. It’s a mas­sage tech­nique called gua sha. And fi­nally, acupunc­ture. Once a week, the acupunc­tur­ist uses hair-thin nee­dles to open en­ergy ‘block­ages’ through­out my body, re­duc­ing ex­cess ten­sion to re­lieve stress and im­prove cir­cu­la­tion. This method re­quires trial, er­ror and, most im­por­tantly, pa­tience.

Now a year in, my break­outs are less se­vere, less fre­quent and much eas­ier to calm.

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