Approx. 15 in 1,000 people in UK suffer with acne, but for most, the exact cause is unknown.
Important to know: Chronic health conditions should be addressed under direct medical supervision of your GP or consultant, and acupuncture would be an adjunct or complement to usual care – we advise that you let you doctor know when you use this approach.
Research and Resources:
A search on Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT’s*) for acne with acupuncture reveals over 900 results (Google Scholar), of which 544 show up as Systematic Reviews** since 2017. This suggests that acupuncture is being used extensively, traditionally and currently in this area, and that it has been warranted that it is an area worthy of researching in a scientific manner. The means and quality of how research is carried out varies considerably from country to country, and in terms of how an intervention is compared to another intervention (or a control).
The British Acupuncture Council have produces an evidence-based factsheet on acne and acupuncture research, including details of the research studies done (link below) and you can also find and read the original research from this resource.
About the research: It is worth noting that in research, *Randomised Controlled Studies (RCT) are the most reliable in terms of quality of evidence, with a **Systematic Review or Meta Analysis of numerous RCT studies being the best way of seeing the overall picture of the state of the evidence. When reading research, the n= figure tells you how many people were participants in the study, and usually the larger a study (when it is of good quality and design), the more likely it is to be reliable and applicable to larger populations. When (statistical) significance is discussed in view of studies it has a very particular meaning – it is the confidence in the data (using statistical tests) that tells us how likely a result could have just come about by chance. The lower the possibility of a chance result, the more likely it is due to the intervention in the experiment. “p” is the number telling us of significance, and this must be under 5% (or p less than 0.05) to mean we can say it is significant.
It is very important to note that “sham” acupuncture where needles are placed other than in acupuncture points it not an inert process and that comparing sham and “true acupuncture” may therefore not give a clear picture alone, but and form a part of a research body where acupuncture versus no treatment, conventional treatment or a different approach also form part of the evidence base.
Resources: British Acupuncture Council evidence based factsheet about acne including specific research, trials and mechanisms of action for acupuncture in this condition.