Can acupuncture cure acne? I interviewed Leah from Beautiful Skin The Natural Way to chat about how regular acupuncture sessions cleared up her skin in just 7 weeks. You can catch up on my other acupuncture interviews here, here and here.
Roaccutane, the pill, antibiotics and prescription creams… Leah has tried everything to clear her acne but it always came back, often worse than before…until she discovered acupuncture!
I first met Leah on Instagram at the beginning of the year and LOVED following her acupuncture journey. It was actually Leah who inspired me to start taking up acupuncture myself to see if it had any effects on my nightmare periods! After my first few sessions I knew I had to write about acupuncture as a natural method of healing the body from within, I’d only had 2 appointments but I was already hooked! When I decided to write some blog posts on acupuncture I knew I had to get an interview with Leah as she was my inspiration for the whole thing. Unfortunately Leah had deleted her account and I had no way of contacting her!
Fast forward 2 months and I saw a familiar face ‘like’ one of my photos! I was so excited I must have looked like a crazy person on her IG account – I left a stream of comments containing ALL the capital letters and about 50 exclamation marks! I was so happy to see Leah back on Instagram and I couldn’t believe the improvement in her skin! I popped her a message asking if she’d like to collaborate and the rest is history…!
Can acupuncture cure acne? See Leah’s incredible results!
Read on to learn how Leah cleared her acne through weekly acupuncture sessions and a healthy, wholesome diet! Plus, see the amazing before/after pictures of Leah’s skin – I’m so so proud of her, she’s come so far in such a short space of time and her skin is looking incredible!
Tell us a little about your acne history, when did you first start struggling with acne?
I first started struggling with spots, which lead to acne when I was about 18-19. I didn’t suffer throughout school (which was lucky) but when I left it all went horribly wrong. It then became a part of me as it never went away, it was always there, big or small and this lasted for about 7 years.
What sort of acne did you suffer from and where about on your face/body was it worse?
For many years I was on the pill so I didn’t have hormonal acne along my jaw or chin at all, it was more all over my forehead, side of my forehead (temples) and really, really bad going down the side on both cheeks. It was constant large spots on the cheeks and little ones all over the top half of my face. I also have had a little back acne but that would come and go and I had a short bob for a long time so my hair didn’t aggravate my back so much. But at this stage I had an awful diet, partied too much and smoked. Since then I have given all of this up! I decided to come off the pill over 2 years ago and that’s when my skin exploded with hormonal acne which just got worse and worse and that was all down my cheeks, jawline, chin and down my neck.
What other acne treatments did you experiment with before you discovered acupuncture?
From the beginning… I have been on around 5 different contraceptive pills to try and rid my skin of the spots (as the doctor would always tell me it was hormonal) topical creams, A LOT of antibiotics and the final drug I ever took was Roaccutane which I was on for less than 6 months as my body reacted badly to it so I came off it. It always came back, even after being on Roaccutane so it was obvious that I wasn’t finding the root cause and dealing with it.
I also sought help from a private dermatology clinic, who just referred to me to start a second course of Roaccutane, to which I refused and decided enough was enough. I then started having treatments from a family friend who is a Cranial Osteopath and she worked heavily on my liver, which started to help my digestion, which by this time was pretty much not working at all. She had been seeing an acupuncturist, near where we lived as she was going through a really stressful grieving process and after six months of treatment had noticed a huge difference in her wellbeing and felt tonnes better so recommended I go for a consultation and see what she could do.
Do you also take any other supplements to help with your skin?
I now take a 10 billion acidophilus probiotic as well as a 30mg zinc citrate supplement daily. I am looking into the vitamin B supplements as well because I have read that they can really help with acne-prone skin.
How did you go about finding the right acupuncturist for your needs?
I was recommended by a family friend (the Osteopath) and went ahead and had a consultation. I was lucky to know someone who had already had treatment and was able to tell me a lot beforehand.
How long ago did you have your first acupuncture treatment and what was it like?
I started my acupuncture back in March and my first session lasted around an hour and a half. It was quite scary as I wasn’t used to relaxing with needles stuck in my back and the first one really worked on me so I had very strong reactions to it. In the treatment I was pretty much asleep the entire time, I could not stay awake. She did fantastic deep massaging, especially around my neck and then massaged down to my feet and to my toes. I then had cupping which was amazingly relaxing too and then had the acupuncture. The needles were placed in different areas of the body and she would come and go and change the positions of the needles. It definitely met my expectations and she also taught me about lifestyle and which foods were ok and not ok to consume, which was a massive help. She said the only way it will really work is if you continue to stay healthy outside of the treatment room. So following her advice was important.
What did you learn about your body and energy during your first few treatments?
Did acupuncture help you to focus on parts of your body that you hadn’t really thought were related to your hormonal imbalances? I was studying at the time and straight away noticed my concentration and ability to remember more was improving! So I thought great, strangely it has many benefits for my entire body. I say strangely as I could not understand how it worked but knew it was doing something amazing. The day after I had it done I would often sleep a lot but my acupuncturist had warned me of that so it wasn’t a huge shock.
I forgot to mention from when I was a little girl my sleep had been awful. I would be up for hours, not able to sleep and sometimes making myself ill because of it. This carried on into my teens and then I entered ‘real life’ as I like to call it, from the age of 20 and usual day to day stresses made my sleep patterns even worsen so the fact I was sleeping well after her treatments was an absolute godsend! From then on I was sleeping every night and not waking up throughout the night. This definitely made a remarkable difference in the healing of my skin and my hormonal imbalance. The treatments also helped me realise I needed to give my body a break and some self love, like doing some yoga or stretching and not to overeat as I started to realise that would worsen my digestion problems. So I started to take care of these small issues which also contributed to the healing of my skin.
Did acupuncture encourage you to change your diet in anyway or alter your eating habits?
Yes, she gave me a lot of advice on foods, which temperature to be eating food at, whether to be eating raw or cooked foods. For me, I was told to avoid raw foods and fatty foods and to eat all of my food warm or at room temperature. Cold foods and raw foods would upset my bowels. She also said not eat dairy or sugar, but if I really wanted a sugar fix to put one teaspoon of brown sugar in my tea and she said that was also good for the blood.
What was the first change you noticed during your treatments and how long did it take for you to notice the effect?
I started to notice my periods changing in the first 3 sessions. You may read this and think it sounds awful but for me I knew she had reversed my body and taken me back to my original natural period cycle because I started getting all of the symptoms I had as a young teenager, which was one of the reasons I had actually gone on the pill in the first place, funnily enough! I started having sore enlarged breasts, about a week before my period and the PMS became very strong. Both of these had been non-existant for the 7-8 years I had been on the pill. I then noticed my spots would only appear around my jawline and mouth at this time of the month, when these other symptoms started to happen. I was very happy as I knew she was doing great things.
Just to let you know though, the sore breasts have stayed when I am due on but the PMS has gone and I get much fewer spots now so in all, it has been a huge benefit to my life. My digestion improved greatly and I now feel better than I ever have done. And like I said before, my sleep has been fantastic ever since my first acupuncture session and I am not looking back!
How many session of acupuncture did you have before you really felt that it was having a positive effect on your skin?
For me it took longer than I had read about but I think it was because I had such deep-rooted congestion and infections that all came out – it sort of got worse before it got better. After around 4-5 weeks it had cleared from my cheeks but I was still left with the hormonal skin around my jawline but I was generally feeling happier and seeing that what was coming up and out of my skin every day was getting smaller and less and less. I also got a very ‘glowy’ look coming from under the skin from pretty much the very beginning. The top half of my face was looking fantastic, dewy and glowing and slowly my bottom half started to clear. So all in all it took around 7 weeks for my skin to become free from active acne.
How many weeks/months/sessions did it take for you to feel confident with your skin?
Well the thing with alternative medicines/treatments is that it is not a quick fix. It takes time and investment. So I am now feeling amazingly confident and have built more friendships because my confidence is coming out all over the place! Even when I was having the treatment everyone on my college course was commenting on how good my skin was looking and how much happier I seemed. It was slow but it was obviously quite apparent I was changing and most of them didn’t know I was having acupuncture they just thought it was me! It has probably taken me around 4 months to become super confident within myself and my skin and I have finally started to love my skin and have a HUGE respect for my body.
After finishing/reducing your acupuncture sessions were you able to start enjoying things that you’d previously limited?
Yes, I enjoy coffee and a bit of sugar here and there but I definitely notice that I still get spots if I overdo it with the sugar. I also noticed after the acupuncture that I had quite a strong reaction to coffee and saw it would make me quite panicky so I have stopped that and now drink dandelion root, coffee substitute so that I don’t feel I’m missing out from the routine and the smell of morning coffee :). I still avoid dairy and I have never done well with alcohol so I tend to avoid alcohol and feel so much better for it. I also have recently completely stopped wheat and gluten. I don’t notice an immediate link to spots but it does completely stop my digestive system from working so that then leads to spots so I have finally learnt that that is also a no-go!
Other than clearer, healthier skin, what are the other benefits you’ve enjoyed from regular acupuncture treatments?
It was something I looked forward to every week. It was time to reflect on the week, in a quiet, relaxing and safe environment. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of every treatment but after 11 weeks having noticed amazing things, I had to stop because being a student I couldn’t afford it any longer. But since stopping my skin has continued to improve and has completely cleared up. I am only left with scarring and the odd few spots around the chin at that time of month. I also really feel an inner sense of peace, no longer worrying about silly things which I spent years doing.
If you could give anyone reading this interview one piece of advice regarding acupuncture treatment and acne, what would it be?
Listen to the acupuncturist and trust what they say. Try everything they tell you and see what works for you. Follow dietary advice to see if it helps anything, if not tell them. Talk to them and build a relationship up with them so that you get more from the treatments. Also research, research, research and make sure they are well-known and are very good at what they do. You can also go on to the British Acupuncture Council to help you find a trusted acupuncturist.
You can keep on following Leah’s acne journey and pick up lots of tips for beautiful, clear skin over on her Instagram page!
Have any of you started acupuncture since my first set of posts? I’d love to know how you’re all getting on in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin,