If you’ve visited Skyn.Therapy over the past couple of days you may have enjoyed my interview on acupuncture and acne with acupuncturist Emma Vickers of Oasis Acupuncture. Keeping with the theme of acupuncture and acne healing, I’ve grabbed 10 minutes with Nutritional Therapist and Super-Mum Nicky Duffell to ask the question: can acupuncture help acne sufferers? Read on to hear about her personal experience with acupuncture and why she believes it was the key to clearing her acne after years of struggling with her skin.
Can acupuncture help acne? Q&A with Nicky Duffell
Tell us a little about your acne history, when did you first start struggling with acne?
It started in my early teens when my periods started. I remember it being in full swing when I was 16 and my Mum taking me everywhere to try and get it sorted.
What sort of acne did you suffer from and where about on your face/body was it worse?
Hormonal acne, pustules all over my forehead and around my chin. It got to the point where it was so inflamed and sore that it didn’t clear up during my cycle.
What other acne treatments did you experiment with before you discovered acupuncture?
I tried every facial product under the sun! Different brands and I also went a step further at one point and tried OBAGI (only for it to return once I’d stopped treatment). I was forever trying products. As a nutritional therapist I also experimented with food to see if that would make a difference for me. Nutrition can be really helpful but unfortunately for me it didn’t work. And when I was at the end of my tether (and before I studied nutrition) I went on antibiotics.
How did you go about finding the right acupuncturist for your needs?
I actually set out to find an acupuncturist when I was trying to conceive my second child and I simply did a local search for acupuncturists.
How long ago did you have your first acupuncture treatment and what was it like? Did it meet your expectations?
My first treatment was around 2 years ago. I haven’t been going consistently; once I fell pregnant for some reason I couldn’t face having the needles put in (which is odd as I was fine before and after!). I was apprehensive the first time and the needles in my hands hurt (apparently all normal and it doesn’t effect me that way any more) but the treatment definitely exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t believe the impact it had on my cycle and my skin in just a few sessions.
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’m pretty healthy anyway and I’ve studied a lot about the body and all the bodily systems, including the hormonal system, digestion and the skin. As I’ve got older I’m also a lot more in tune with my body, I listen to what it’s telling me rather than ignoring it! What’s interesting for me is how Chinese medicine differs from what I’ve been traditionally taught as a nutritional therapist. It made me really think about how my digestion was impacting my skin and that something obviously wanted to come out and it was coming out through my skin.
Did acupuncture encourage you to change your diet in anyway or alter your eating habits?
Good question! Like I say I eat very healthily but I have always had a sweet tooth and this year I gave up sugar completely. And I noticed that my skin was even better after I gave up sugar. By this time my skin was clear but seemed to glow after I gave up sugar. Sugar’s really bad for skin!!
What was the first change you noticed during your treatments and how long did it take for you to notice the effect. (i.e stress relief, period relief, reduced inflammation, better digestion etc)
The first change I noticed was to my cycle. After I had my son (my first child) my periods changed and within a few appointments these were back on track. The second thing was the inflammation. I was sore and red all of the time, this really went down. And then I think I noticed that it was calming down between periods and I was getting a little break.
How many session of acupuncture did you have before you really felt that it was having a positive effect on your skin?
Now that’s a difficult question as there’s a bit more of my skin story. I found that during pregnancy my skin cleared up completely. Like someone flicked a switch. I know for some people it goes the other way. After my son my acne returned with vengeance as soon as my periods started. When I fell pregnant the second time around I’d already seen the benefits of acupuncture so I started acupuncture before my periods came back and I haven’t had a breakout since.
How many weeks/months did it take for you to feel totally confident with your skin?
I’d say around 4-5 months, for me it was about being confident that it wasn’t going to return again after my pregnancy and once my periods returned.
After finishing/reducing your acupuncture sessions were you able to start enjoying things that you’d previously limited (i.e coffee, alcohol, sugar, dairy) in fear of it causing further skin problems?
I still have acupuncture regularly. Every 2-3 weeks and if I’m being completely honest there’s probably a bit of fear about giving it up completely (I had acne for over 20 years). I find it’s good for my health and my wellbeing and it’s one of my tools to keep me on track now. I do enjoy a bit of sugar but it’s low.
Other than clearer, healthier skin, are there any other benefits you’ve enjoyed from regular acupuncture treatments?
Time to myself! As a working Mum my treatments allow me to have a bit of time to me. But whatever’s going on for me that week my acupuncturist will tailor my treatment; whether I’m feeling a bit stressed, or my immune system’s a bit low.
If you could give anyone reading this interview one piece of advice regarding acupuncture treatment and acne, what would it be?
My one bit of advice regarding acne would be stop with the products, acne generally comes from within. Definitely have a good skin care regime, that’s important, but dig into what could be going on for you whether it’s hormonal, digestion related or food related (intolerances etc.). Remember we’re all unique and it’s about finding what works for you.
And as for acupuncture treatment – give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose … and don’t wait as long as I did!
To find out more about Nicky and the amazing work she does visit her website here or book in for a FREE discovery session to kick start a healthier you here. You can also follow Nicky on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!
Stay tuned tomorrow where I’ll be chatting to my friend and yoga teacher Edyta Handzlik who started acupuncture treatment in December 2015 and saw a big change in her cycle in just a few sessions!
What are your thoughts? Can acupuncture heal acne? Have you ever success with acupuncture for acne healing or to help balance your hormones? I’ve love to hear your stories in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin