Acupuncture and Holistic TCM Dermatology: Lichen Sclerosus


Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) dermatology provide a wealth of resources for relief and complete healing of lichen sclerosus, especially in its early stages.


How do I know if I have lichen sclerosus?


Lichen sclerosus is an autoinflammatory condition which most often affects skin in the anogenital area. The cause is not well understood but it may be autoimmune.


Early symptoms include delicate tissue, bruising, blistering, a burning sensation, and itching. Over time tissue may atrophy, fuse, become lighter in color, and scaly.


Lichen sclerosus predominantly affects women’s vulva, and in addition to intense physical discomfort, the condition can be emotionally and socially challenging.


What would a dermatologist recommend?


Your provider will likely test for STIs before prescribing a topical steroid. A tissue biopsy can clarify diagnosis.


How does holistic TCM dermatology treat lichen planus?


TCM has been treating inflammatory skin conditions for millennia using acupuncture, herbal medicine, and a corresponding holistic approach to diet and lifestyle. As with any condition, I take a detailed health history before coming to a holistic pattern diagnosis.


Sometimes lichen sclerosus appears suddenly at the anus with intense itching, redness, and corresponding patterns of digestive upset. For others it may come on slowly with gradually increasing vaginal dryness, itching, discomfort with penetration, and corresponding insomnia. These differences in presentation are significant, and I treat each case differently.


TCM herbal treatment for lichen sclerosus is potent and focused on the present symptoms. Treatment does not stop as soon as the symptoms subside. Initially, herbal ingredients may behave much like anticoagulants, while a second phase of ingredients will focus on nourishing fluids and tissue regrowth. With a thorough course of treatment which moves through these phases of care, lichen sclerosus will be much less likely to relapse.


Can I combine topical steroids with acupuncture and TCM dermatology?


Absolutely. Acupuncture and holistic TCM dermatology are safe in combination with conventional treatment methods, and may improve outcomes.


Am I a good candidate for holistic TCM dermatology?


It is important to understand the causes of lichen sclerosus are much deeper than the skin. Complete holistic treatment can take up to 6 months and cost between $200 to $800 or more. The cost for each individual will vary depending on the severity and chronicity of their condition.


It is helpful to think of this process as whole systems rehabilitation. Natural, safe, and sometimes slow medicine.


Betsy Gordon Acupuncture in NE Portland, Oregon specializes in holistic TCM dermatology and the treatment of digestive, autoimmune, and allergic conditions. If you have questions about how holistic TCM dermatology can help you, schedule a free consultation online or by calling (971) 341-9546.