Healthy skin in Chinese medicine

The skin is our body's largest organ and also the most visible and vulnerable one.


Chinese medicine addresses diseases from a holistic perspective. In TCM terminology our skin serves as the body's barrier between inside and outside. The Protective Qi (Wei Qi) circulates in the outer superficial layers of the body, protecting it from penetration of external pathogens. The skin is, therefore, considered to be the first line of defense in the body.
The skin belongs to the lung zang, and its health is attributed to proper moisture, as well as good blood and qi flow. The lung qi controls both the skin’s pores and secretion of sweat, while the heart, liver, kidneys and spleen monitor the supply of healthy blood and body moisture.

The skin's health level can be attributed to both external and internal factors. In Chinese medicine the two main sources of skin problems are believed to be heat and dampness. The term 'heat' can refer either to climatic external heat and dryness, or to internal distress of the body which can be caused by overworking, emotional state, internal dampness, unbalanced diet or other causes. Ineffective flushing of the body’s waste and toxins, as well as water retention, and a moist environment can cause internal damp-heat-toxin conditions.

For acupuncture and internal intake of herbs pattern differentiation is essential in order to understand whether a state of emptiness or fullness is the basis of the disease pathology, in addition to identifying affected organs.

Acute skin diseases triggered only by an external pathogenic factor can most often be balanced immediately. Nevertheless, in most cases skin diseases are caused by complex multifaceted incidences that disrupt our natural self-regulating capabilities and weaken the entire body.