Objectives: Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been used to treat a broad range of medical conditions, including dermatologic disorders. This systematic review aims to synthesize the evidence on the use of acupuncture as a primary treatment modality for dermatologic conditions.
Methods: A systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register was performed. Studies were limited to clinical trials, controlled studies, case reports, comparative studies, and systematic reviews published in the English language. Studies involving moxibustion, electroacupuncture, or blood-letting were excluded.
Results: Twenty-four studies met inclusion criteria. Among these, 16 were randomized controlled trials, 6 were prospective observational studies, and 2 were case reports. Acupuncture was used to treat atopic dermatitis, urticaria, pruritus, acne, chloasma, neurodermatitis, dermatitis herpetiformis, hyperhidrosis, human papillomavirus wart, breast inflammation, and facial elasticity. In 17 of 24 studies, acupuncture showed statistically significant improvements in outcome measurements compared with placebo acupuncture, alternative treatment options, and no intervention.
Conclusions: Acupuncture improves outcome measures in the treatment of dermatitis, chloasma, pruritus, urticaria, hyperhidrosis, and facial elasticity. Future studies should ideally be double-blinded and standardize the control intervention.
Comments: Acupuncture has many applications for skin diseases and skin anti-ageing. Facial cosmetic acupuncture is used to temporarily reduce wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. Acupuncture is also used for relieving skin rashes such as atopic dermatitis and acne. However these days it is not always practical for patients to come 1 to 2 times a week for acupuncture, which is often the ideal treatment plan to improve the condition. This is why I will recommend a herbal formulation that will work on multiple internal factors between acupuncture treatments.
SOURCE: Ma, Chelsea, and Raja K. Sivamani. “Acupuncture as a Treatment Modality in Dermatology: A Systematic Review.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 21.9 (2015): 520-529.