How can you tell what patterns I have?
First, Antonia closely examines your skin and takes photos of the lesions. (Photos are also taken in each follow up visit in order to keep track of how things are changing). The look of the skin and lesions give us lots of information about what is going on internally. Cystic nodules indicate different patterns than superficial pustules. Pustules indicate different patterns than whiteheads and blackheads. Background redness indicates a different pattern than generalized greasiness and shininess. Chinese medicine also takes into account the location of acne. For example, acne along the chin line in a woman going through menopause will be treated very differently than acne on the forehead, nose and around the mouth of a teen or young adult. In all these cases the underlying imbalances are completely different, so different herbal treatment is indicated.
Antonia also determines what inner imbalances led to the lesions expressing in the first place. What other symptoms do you have? Are there digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, loose stools or constipation. In females, is acne worse around the period or are there other issues that come up like irritability, anger, etc? In the herbal consultation we discuss everything from workplace/environmental factors to family history to physical and emotional signs and symptoms.
Once she identifies the patterns of disharmony, Antonia puts together a custom herbal formula. There are multiple ingredients in each person’s herbal formula to address each of these patterns. The ingredients in the formula change over time as the skin evolves and heals.
Antonia also recommends the best topical treatment (which may come in the form of an herb wash, toner, masque or cream) as well as beneficial foods and foods to avoid.