Chinese Herbal Medicine for Skin Issues


What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that can flare up and fade away again.  If you have rosacea, you may experience annoying symptoms, such as facial redness, pimples, or thickened skin on your nose, cheeks, or forehead.  This article will discuss the types, symptoms, causes, and treatment options for rosacea, including how acupuncture can help.

Types of Rosacea:

There are four types of rosacea.  These are known as erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), papulopustular (or acne) rosacea, rhinophyma, and ocular rosacea.  The symptoms you experience will depend on which type of rosacea you have.  

Rosacea Symptoms:

If you have rosacea ETR, you may notice symptoms like redness on the face, facial swelling and sensitivity, visible broken blood vessels on the face, or burning/stinging skin.  However, if you have oily skin with very red acne-like breakouts, this may indicate acne rosacea.  Rhinophyma, or thick skin, is characterised by having bumpy or thick skin on the nose, forehead, chin or cheeks, as well as large pores.  Ocular rosacea affects the eyes, and may cause symptoms like dry, itchy eyes, bloodshot eyes, eyes that feel gritty, burning or stinging eyes, and broken blood vessels on the eyelids.


Rosacea Causes:

Rosacea may be caused by a mixture of environmental and genetic factors.  Certain factors may make you more likely to develop the condition though.  These risk factors include eating spicy foods, or foods that contain cinnamaldehyde (like cinnamon, chocolate, citrus, and tomatoes).  Drinking hot beverages or having certain bacteria in the gut may also increase your chances of getting rosacea.  Researchers have also found that men tend to experience more severe symptoms of rosacea, while women are overall more likely to develop the condition.

Rosacea Treatment:

Researchers have currently found no cure for rosacea.  But there are many ways you can manage and soothe your symptoms if you do have the condition.  These include using gentle skin care products that are free from oil, alcohol, and menthol, and applying antibiotic creams or taking oral antibiotic medications.  You can also try wearing sunscreen, limiting exposure to direct sunlight, and avoid drinking alcohol to help take care of your skin.  Keeping a journal is also a good way to record the foods and cosmetics you use daily, to help identify any triggers for rosacea.  If your rosacea symptoms are severe, laser or light therapy may also be a treatment option for you.


Acupuncture for Rosacea:

Acupuncture is also a good treatment option for rosacea.  This technique originates from Traditional Chinese Medicine and involves inserting thin needles into specific pressure points in the body.  When needles are applied to the face, they can improve blood circulation which may help reduce your symptoms.  In fact, a recent report found that acupuncture may help to improve rosacea symptoms by redistributing the blood circulation of affected facial areas.  

Chinese Medicine treatment can be more effective when practised holistically.  This means that you may get better results if the acupuncturist addresses your overall health, rather than focusing only on the face.  In Chinese Medicine, the organs in the body work together to control and maintain different functions.  Interestingly, the lungs are important not only for controlling breathing, but also for maintaining healthy skin.  So, depending on your individual situation, an acupuncturist may treat your rosacea symptoms by firstly addressing any weaknesses in organs such as the lungs.  Acupuncture can be used to energise weaker organs, allowing them to function properly and heal the body naturally. 


Rosacea is a skin condition characterised by red, thick, swollen, or acne-ridden skin.  Rosacea occurs in phases or flare-ups and may be caused by environmental or genetic factors.  Treatment options include antibiotics, choosing suitable skin care products, and even Chinese Medicine treatments like acupuncture.

To find out more about how acupuncture can help treat skin problems, click here.

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Gao, Y., Lin, W., Zhou, S., Shi, G., He, J., & Chen, Y. (2018). Treatment of Rosacea using acupuncture for improving the local skin microcirculation: A case report. Medicine, 97(34), e11931.

Johnson, S. (2019, October 1). Rosacea: Types, Causes, and Remedies. Healthline.

Phua, S. (n.d.). What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine? Centre of Balance Hamilton: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine.