True beauty comes from within and is derived from good health. TCM can help us achieve this inner beauty.
The truth about skin care
Beauty treatments should encompass more than just the beautification of the facial features. They should also cover the holistic well-being of one’s body, mind and soul. In line with the theory of TCM, skin care should firstly be about the care and nourishment of internal organs, which will then be reflected on one’s face. A healthy person is also a beautiful person.
A TCM perspective
Traditional Chinese medicines can be used to beautify the skin. TCM skin care is based on the influence of the internal organs, qi, blood and body fluid on skin. According to TCM, the condition of the five zang organs, six fu organs, qi, blood and body fluid will directly affect one’s facial features.
TCM and Skin Care
The reason why traditional Chinese medicines are known to be good for skin care is that the nature and flavour, meridian tropism, the ascending, descending, floating and sinking properties of traditional Chinese herbs have various beautifying effects.
Procedures of TCM Skin Care
Step 1: Consult the physician.
Get examined by a Chinese physician at a TCM clinic to understand your state of health, and get a complete diagnosis.
Step 2: Course of treatment.
Take decoctions and other medicines based on the physician’s prescription. Complete the entire course of treatment which may take a few months.
Step 3: Consolidation.
Continue to keep in touch and communicate with your Chinese physician for a few years, in order to consolidate the results of the recuperation.
Preparation Forms of TCM Skin Care
In TCM, skin care products for external use take the form of powders, solutions, ointments, soft pastes, facial masks and others. For example, green bean facial mask for clearing heat and acne and whitening the complexion, or almond facial mask for reducing dark maculae, moisturising the complexion and removing blackheads. This section will cover decoctions, powders, pills, plasters and tinctures.
Decoctions (tangji )
The oldest and most extensively used form of medicinal preparation.
Benefits: Dosage can be flexibly adjusted according to the illness. Quick absorption and curative effects. Avoid using iron or copper utensils to decoct.
Eg: Sargassum weight loss soup treats obesity problems in women.
Ingredients: Sargassum, coix seed, prunella spike, water plantain, hawthorn fruit, oriental wormwood, bupleurum root, white mustard seed, liquorice. Decoct with pure water.
Medicinal powders (sanji , to be taken orally)
Medicinal powder taken with water (chongfu sanji ) is a fine powder. It can be mixed with water and drunk directly. Herbal coarse granule (zhu san ) should be taken after decocting with water.
Benefits: Easy to prepare, highly portable, does not deteriorate easily.
Eg: Rear Palace Whitening Powder (): removes blood stasis to promote blood circulation, has whitening effects on face.
Ingredients: Tangerine peel, pumpkin seeds and peach flowers. Grind into fine powder and pour wine over it for consumption.
Pills (wanji )
Using honey, water or rice paste and vinegar as the binding agent, medicinal pills are made from fine herb powder. There are numerous types of pills, including water-paste pills (shuiwan ) and honeyed pills (miwan ).
Benefits: Highly portable, easy storage, lasting curative effects.
Eg: Fleece-flower root pills blacken hair, promote firm teeth and longevity.
Ingredients: Fleece-flower root, achyranthes root
Herb plasters (gaoji )
After decocting the herbs with water, strain out the residue and decoct the remaining fluid over a gentle fire to obtain a concentrated residue, adding crystal sugar or granulated sugar to make it into a thick semifluid form of medicinal preparation.
Benefits: Easy application and absorption, yields fast results. It is a commonly-used TCM skin care preparation form.
Eg: Cherokee rosehip herbal paste reinforces the kidney and replenishes the vital essence, tonifies the blood to promote hair growth, improves hearing, strengthens the teeth.
Ingredients: Cherokee rosehip, honey. Add water and decoct, refining it many times to produce a herbal plaster.
Tinctures (jiuji )
Also known as medicinal wine (yaojiu ). It is a type of transparent medicinal fluid produced by soaking the herbs in millet wine or white spirit.
Benefits: Yields fast curative effects, requires only a small dosage.
E.g: Yang Sheng Chiew invigorates qi and blood, replenishes marrow, strengthens bones and muscles, maintains youthful skin and moisturises the skin.
Ingredients: Chinese angelica root, dried chrysanthemum, longan aril, wolfberry fruit. Add to wine and keep it sealed for a few months before drinking it.