Acne – Why Go Holistic?


Holistic treatment for acne is highly effective with long-lasting results. When the body is brought into balance, other symptoms (such as digestive issues, menstrual problems, insomnia, and many others) are also resolved. In addition, the side effects of herbal treatment are minimal (rarely being more serious than loose stools).

The #1 reason people choose holistic medicine is that it works. Healing from the inside-out is the only way to address the individual causes of each person’s acne.

Many people seek out holistic options because western medicines haven’t worked for them or they are unhappy with how they feel while taking them. Pharmaceutical medications used to treat acne are well-known to cause serious side effects. Isotretinoin (formerly sold as Accutane and now on the market as Amnesteem, Claravis, or Sotret) commonly causes hair loss, joint and muscle pain, rashes, dry skin, abnormal peeling and sun sensitivity. Less common symptoms include inflammatory bowel disease and depression, and the best known side effect is miscarriage or birth defects in pregnant women. We often treat patients who have switched from Isotretinoin to herbal treatment, addressing both their acne as well as certain side effects (such as hair loss).

In western medicine, acne is also often treated with antibiotics that have their own side effects such as upset stomach, dizziness, and discoloration of the skin. More significantly, long-term antibiotic use leads to antibiotic resistance. The strongest bacteria mutate, making the antibiotics useless to treat infections caused by the original bacteria. Also, antibiotics kill healthy bacteria as well as unhealthy ones. Long term use weakens the immune system.

In a University of Pennsylvania study, people who used antibiotics for the treatment of acne were twice as likely to develop an upper respiratory tract infection over the course of one year than those who had acne and used no antibiotics. The bacteria targeted by antibiotics, Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), is effectively killed by Chinese herbs.

We recommend probiotics to restore friendly bacteria for all our patients who have previously used antibiotics or need cleansing and strengthening of the digestive system. In addition, we add herbs to internal formulas to help heal the gut.