Two women wearing cucumber face masks lying on a carpet.

Move over, 10-step skincare routine! It’s the era of minimalist skin, where only the essentials make the curtain call. Today is all about going back to basics. Traditional Chinese medicine, for example, is making a comeback and has spawned countless natural beauty trends ( anyone?). Whether you’re a beauty devotee or a newbie, you can try looking to TCM trends for some skin-spiration.

What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese medicine subscribes to the philosophy of mind-body balance. In TCM canon, everyone has qi (life force), yin (cool energy), and yang (warm energy). Your skin gets the short end of the stick if one is more dominant.

But that’s not all. These three are connected to your emotions, organs, and lifestyle, making imbalances likely if you’re not careful. You probably know that stress can cause a breakout, but even food has characteristics (cooling or warming) that affect your skin.

For example, acne-prone skin may be due to too yang or a weak spleen made worse by eating too much spicy food. To counter it, use cooling ingredients to dial down internal heat and vice versa. Drinking too much alcohol also activates surplus yang, which explains the surprise zit that appears the morning after .

TCM Power in Skincare

Many traditional Chinese medicine formulas used today were the go-to skin treatments for ancient Chinese empresses. Now, celebs and influencers swear by their results. If you want to jump on the trend, here’s a cheat sheet on the best TCM ingredients for every skin concern.

Use witch hazel for oily skin.

FYI, traditional Chinese medicine supports the idea that excess sebum on the skin is associated with spleen imbalances. You must then look for ingredients that can control oil production and refine the pores. Natural astringents you can choose from include Chinese licorice (gan cao) and witch hazel.

The latter is one of the main ingredients in Dove Facial Cleansing Mousse Oil Control Care, which works to clean the pores and gently removes excess oil. This creamy cleanser is also enriched with hyaluronic acid to provide moisture without leaving any extra sheen.

Eat cooling foods to minimize breakouts.

usually has something to do with your breakouts. Aside from practicing an acne-fighting skincare routine and staying hydrated, try changing your diet. Push chicharon and other oily foods to the bottom of your meal plan (if you can't remove them entirely). Instead, go for cooling food like melons, mung beans, green veggies, and chamomile tea. 

TCM is also famous for using pearl powder (yes, genuine crushed pearls)to treat acne and heal scars. If you’d rather wear pearls, shift your attention to green tea extract, which also does wonders for inflamed skin. Try Eskinol Pimple Relief Facial Wash to help break the cycle of clogged pores and bacterial growth. Infused with cica from Korea, this face wash works to prevent acne from coming back, too.

Put a pin on hyperpigmentation.

TCM also has some game-changing solutions for brightening dark circles and age spots. According to its philosophy, hyperpigmentation is due to obstructed blood flow. So, acupuncture, which increases blood flow, is an effective TCM method for brightening the skin. Researchers found that or the brown patches caused by hormonal changes or sun exposure.

On the other hand, herbs like ginseng and soybeans and brighten the skin from the inside out. More reason for you to stock up on soy milk!

Aloe vera for dry skin.

Many claim that drinking plenty of water is the secret to supple skin. As clichéd as this sounds, there is some truth to it. The skin needs water to stay hydrated. But more importantly, it must have a barrier to trap moisture within its layers. If you have low levels of blood or depleting yin energy, your skin won’t be able to produce enough natural moisturizer.

When that happens, you must take matters into your hands. TCM users apply raw, freshly harvested . TikTok users are even using it for face . If you want to reap the same benefits without getting your hands dirty, a hydrating face wash like POND’S Aloe Vera Jelly Cleanser can make dryness a thing of the past. Plus, it contains vitamin B3 to improve the skin’s protective barrier.

Bird’s nest for fine lines and uneven skin texture.

Ancient Chinese used mother nature’s finest to slow down skin aging. According to legend, one of the four great Chinese beauties consumed bird’s nests to maintain her radiant complexion.

Now a delicacy, bird's nest contains , a gentle alternative to retinol that smoothens the skin, reduces fine lines, and increases cell turnover. The best part is you can consume it on the go as many tasty bird's nest drinks are available. To double the effects, add goji berries to the mix! It’s a powerful antioxidant that addresses signs of skin aging.

If you’re into face massages in the morning, try sea buckthorn oil, an underrated TCM anti-aging ingredient. It has 16 times more than an orange and can boost collagen production. Saggy skin? We don't know her.

Going down the traditional Chinese medicine road can benefit your skin and overall health. And as #BeautyTok says, hot girls don’t gatekeep, so share this article with your friends, and be hailed as their beauty guru!