Facial Color in Chinese Medicine

by karen on April 25, 2013

by Chris Hammond M.Ac.,L.Ac.
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You can tell a lot from the color of a persons face. In Chinese Medicine facial color is important for diagnosis.  Often it is subtle and you need to look at with soft eyes rather than with penetrative eyes.  The ares where it appears the most vividly is around the temples and around the mouth.  The color is dynamic and changing and is always communicating about the state of the body.

A healthy complexion should have luster; that is it should be bright, glowing and have a shine to it. The skin should look moist and firm. The color should have a subtle reddish hue.

Too much redness in the face indicates too much heat or emotion. Too little red indicates cold, blood deficiency and joylessness.  Too little lustre would indicate lack of spirit or vibrancy. Too much yellow indicates that the digestive organs are not transforming the food properly and food stagnation is taking place creating dampness. Too little yellow would mean that the person isn’t taking in enough nourishment.  A white color would indicate Qi deficiency, low immunity, or that someone has been grieving a lot. A blue facial color would indicate cold, exhaustion or fear.  A black facial color would indicate serious illness or kidney disease.  A green color would indicate Qi stagnation from frustration or anger where qi is being constricted in the vessels. Within these colors there are all kinds of variations due to coexisting factors.  For instance an orange color might indicate both stagnation in the digestive system and too much heat.

With acupuncture treatment the color and complexion of the face should become more healthy. Even after an individual treament the color can drastically change for the better. With this knowledge you can begin to observe your own color and understand the feedback your body is giving.

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