A person with several acupuncture needles in their face

Can Acupuncture Treat Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition which affects around 9% of the global population. Acne occurs when the pores of skin become clogged with oil, dirt, & dead skin cells and can cause pimples. Depending on its severity, acne can scar the skin.

No wonder people with acne, especially teenagers and young adults, have low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can lead to mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Though acne does not pose a serious health risk, it can be painful. 

Acne can happen anywhere on the body, but people with acne usually notice breakouts on their chest, shoulders, back, face and neck. Different types of acne include whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, modules and cysts.


Some common symptoms of acne include blackheads, whiteheads, tiny red tender bumps, commonly known as papules, pimples (papules with pus at their tips) and pus-filled lumps under the skin. Inflammatory acne can cause red, painful blemishes on the person’s skin. People with acne may also experience skin discoloration.


There are three main causes of acne – excess oil production, clogged hair follicles, and bacteria buildup in the pores. Some factors that can trigger or worsen acne include hormonal changes that occur during puberty and pregnancy and poor sleep quality.

People struggling with stress, those who use medications containing lithium, testosterone, and corticosteroids or consume carbohydrate-rich foods, chain smokers, and women with PCOS are also at high risk of acne.

How Can Acupuncture for Acne Help?

Many people, especially those sensitive to acne medications, use acupuncture to get rid of acne. Studies show that acupuncture can treat a number of skin problems including acne. Facial acupuncture in San Francisco, an extension of traditional acupuncture, increases the production of collagen and elastin – the essential building blocks of skin – to clear acne. 

Acupuncture is more effective than conventional therapy as it addresses the underlying cause of acne, rather than treating just its symptoms. For example, acupuncture can treat hormonal imbalances – a common cause of acne. Studies show that acupuncture may help regulate the endocrine system to prevent hormonal imbalances in the first place.

Many women with PCOS have acne. Acupuncture treats PCOS by increasing blood flow to the ovaries. It can also help reduce the ovarian volume and the number of ovarian cysts.

In many cases, when acne heals, it does serious damage by leaving behind scar tissues that cause acne scars. Unsightly acne scars can affect a person’s self-confidence. Studies have found that acupuncture can treat scars following skin trauma. It can also treat fibrosis and adhesions, helping improve skin health.

At Anchor Acupuncture & Wellness, we take a holistic approach to wellness. Our acupuncturists have spent years studying different TCM techniques. Their experience enables them to tailor treatment plans to meet our client’s specific healthcare needs in both San Francisco and Albany. To schedule an appointment, call (415) 855-3112.

Amanda Moler is a licensed acupuncturist and certified fertility acupuncturist (FABORM), serving San Francisco, CA.  Her educational background includes receiving a bachelor’s degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from Antioch College in 2001 and in 2010, her master’s degree from American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 2008, she also attended Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago, IL for education on acupuncture and oriental medicine. Asa Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine, she has gained recognition for treating complex women fertility cases, providing guidance on painful side-effects of drugs, hormones, and maintaining the overall well-being of women. Follow Anchor Acupuncture and Amanda Moler on Facebook , Instagram, LinkedIn.