Do you need help getting rid of the painful emotions associated with your acne?

We all do! Acne is a devastating condition to live with – no doubt about it. Believe me – I know.

Today I’m going to talk about a popular method of releasing and letting go of painful emotions called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Why Should You Care About Your Emotional Health If You have Acne?

Of course we know that having acne, especially chronic acne, can bring about some extremely distressing feelings.

But on top of that, the mean joke that life is playing on us is that in many cases, acne is actually worsened by stress. Maybe you’ve seen this in your own life. Maybe you’ve seen that when you have school exams, or you have a fight with your boyfriend, you break out.

But even worse than that – maybe you haven’t made that connection that acne is exacerbated by stress.

Maybe you don’t even really think that you’re that stressed out, or because your acne is pretty much constant, that there is no correlation there.

But there is a possibility that you could be deluding yourself. Especially if you’re someone who has tried everything for your skin, and even a change of diet or lifestyle doesn’t seem to totally work, no matter how strict you are. 

The reason is that many of us are just stressed out ALL the time. Maybe not in the classic sense (as in school exams), but we are stressed out because we don’t love ourselves. We put ourselves down. We don’t have self confidence. We think no one will love us if our skin is bad.

This makes us sad, and our body becomes a chronic state of low grade stress.

This low grade stress has probably become the norm – your regular way of being – so the stress may not be very noticeable on a daily basis. It probably pops up more significantly when the bad feelings about yourself are triggered by something – like a pimple!

The sad ironic thing is that this low-self-esteem style stress can actually be the cause of the chronic acne problem (not the other way around), which only creates a stressful loop of emotions as you become more and more actively stressed out about your skin.

Furthermore, many of you will find that even if you do manage to get rid of your acne, you aren’t healed emotionally. This is because while the emotions from having an acne problem feel very real to us, they actually aren’t real at all. Acne, inherently, means nothing, except for the meaning that we give it.

In our heads, it means that other people will think we are ugly. That we will not find someone who thinks we are attractive. It may mean that we think others will not take us seriously as adults.

None of this is necessarily the truth.

And if you have acne, AND have low self esteem, it usually means that once you get rid of your acne, you transfer your worries onto some other thing you don’t like about yourself. Or, (if you’re like me), you constantly worry that your acne is going to come back, which is almost as bad as having acne itself!

We must heal the hurts underneath to really be free of acne and to live the life that we want. Otherwise we will always be trapped.

Healing emotionally from acne is not easy. But there are tricks that you can use to help you move past the painful emotions. One trick is EFT.

What is Emotional Freedom Technique?

Emotional Freedom Technique is a short procedure where you tap on certain points of your body in a sequence while focusing in on the painful emotion that you would like to stop feeling. If it works as said, the feeling should go away and you will not be able to get it back no matter how much you try to focus on it.

In order to understand how EFT works, you need to know that the human body (as well as all other living things) has an energy field around it. This electrical energy is produced by the activities of cells and tissues. It is said in traditional Chinese Medicine that the electrical currents flow through patterns on the body called meridians.

Apparently, disturbances in these electrical fields can manifest themselves in all sorts of physical and emotional issues.

EFT works on the same principles as acupuncture – by tapping on certain “pressure points” where the meridians are said to run close to the surface of the skin, you are helping to align the energy in the  meridians and diffuse that emotional energy that feels oh so bad.

Anyway – for those of you with a purely western thinking mind, believing this stuff may be a leap of faith. But hey, acupuncture has definitely made its way into mainstream acceptance, and this is pretty much the same thing. So give it an open mind. It doesn’t hurt to try and you may be surprised with the results.

How Do You Do The Emotional Freedom Technique?

Step 1:

Tap on the karate chop of your hand while saying “Even though I — (insert problem here) —- I deeply and completely accept myself”. This is called a setup phrase, which contains both a negative (the problem), and the positive (you accept yourself despite having the problem). Be very specific about the problem.

Examples might be:

“Even though I get so embarrassed when I think people are looking at my skin, I deeply and completely accept myself”


“Even though acne makes me scared that no one will ever find me attractive, I deeply and completely accept myself”

Repeat the phrase three times while continuing to tap your karate chop.

Step 2:

Take a deep breath and really pay attention to how the painful emotion of this problem feels in your body and how much distress it is causing you.

Do you feel it as a tightness in your chest? Like an odd feeling in your stomach? Is it manifesting as a headache? Zero in on it, and give it a rating of 1 – 10 on how strong you feel it is.

Step 3:

Begin tapping the tapping points in sequence while you say a short descriptive phrase that reminds you of your problem and keeps you focused on it. This is called the reminder phrase. It is usually a shortened version of the setup phrase such as “this acne”. Try to feel the emotions that “this acne” makes you feel, as you tap.

For the tapping points, you can tap on either side of the body, or on both sides at once, using your index, middle, and ring fingers (or whatever is most comfortable for you). Tap each point 7 to 10 times, at a steady rate of 2 to 4 taps per second.

Here is a basic chart of the 12 tapping points starring yours truly. You may find charts with different tapping points, but the common theme seems to be that there are twelve of them. These were the ones that I learned:

The order is:

  1. The edge of the inner eyebrow
  2. Just to the outside of the eye
  3. Below the eye – right below the pupil
  4. Between nose and top of your mouth
  5. Just below the bottom lip (above chin)
  6. On the very inner edge of your collarbone
  7. The inside edge of the tip of your thumb
  8. The inside edge of the tip of your index finger
  9. The inside edge of the tip of your middle finger (skip your ring finger)
  10. The inside edge of your pinkie finger
  11. The edge of your hand (the karate chop)
  12. The gamut point (on the back of your hand, between the bones of your pinkie and ring fingers)

Step 4:

This seems to be optional part of the routine, but you may want to include it. It’s called the 9-gamut procedure and it’s for activating both sides of your brain which helps to integrate the changes you’ve made, and may help you get faster results.

You may already know that the right brain processes creative, intuitive information, and the left brain processes linear, analytical information. The 9 gamut procedure is a series of 9 simple actions that you do while tapping the gamut point on the back of your hand (between the bones of the ring and little finger). This activates both sides of the brain at once.

These are:

  • Close your eyes for a second or two.
  • Open your eyes.
  • Send eyes down hard right, while holding your head steady.
  • Send eyes down hard left, while holding your head steady.
  • Roll your eyes in a clockwise circle.
  • Roll your eyes in an anti-clockwise circle.
  • Hum 2 seconds of a song, eg. happy birthday.
  • Count rapidly from one to five.
  • Hum 2 seconds of the song again.

Step 5:

When you’re done, take a deep breath and try to focus on the problem. How does it feel? Has the distress diminished? Give the pain another rating on the scale of 1 – 10. Hopefully the intensity has lessened – maybe it’s completely gone!

Step 6:

If you still feel distress over the problem, you can tap on it again, but change the setup phrase slightly to address the remainder of the problem. So if your setup phrase was “Even though this acne makes me feel ugly, I deeply and completely accept myself”, then the phrase would be “Even though this acne still makes me feel somewhat ugly, I deeply and completely accept myself”.

Again, the order of the EFT sequence is:

  1. Choose setup statement and say it 3 times while tapping your karate chop
  2. Rate your distress on a Level of 1 to 10
  3. Do the full tapping sequence saying your reminder phrase as you go
  4. Optional: Do the 9-Gamut Sequence to activate both sides of your brain for deep changes
  5. Rate your distress on a level of 1 – 10 again in order to contrast improvements
  6. Do it again if you still feel some distress over the problem, changing the setup phrase slightly

Video where I explain the process and demonstrate it:


Using EFT for Acne Specific Issues

I found this amazing resource on this website. It’s an awesome cheat sheet on which phrases to use during your EFT sessions to get to the bottom of your acne specific issues.

Stress Related Acne : A Self Help Sheet

If you have acne or other skin condition that seem overwhelming to you, perhaps EFT can help provide some relief. The longer you have had this problem the more difficult it may be to completely release it, but persistence pays. If your acne gets worse under stress, then EFT may be just the thing for you.

Start with addressing those subconscious beliefs that block healing: “Psychological Reversals”

Start with removing some psychological reversals- negative self-limiting beliefs- that are typical of acne sufferers. Yours may not be exactly the same, but you are welcome to change the words to fit your own circumstances.

Tapping on the side of your hand just below your pinkie, say each of the following statements three to six times:

Even though I have this acne condition, I accept myself. (You can use your own words for the italicised part).

Even though I feel ugly, embarrassed, ashamed,_________________ (any other emotions that come to mind ), I accept myself.

Even if I never get over this acne condition, I accept myself.

Try these phrases if they make sense to you or fit with your situation:

Even though I’ve tried everything to get rid of this skin condition, I accept myself.

Even if I haven’t tried everything yet, I accept myself.

Even if I don’t really want to completely get over my acne, I accept myself.

Even if I have a secret reason for keeping this skin condition I accept myself.

Even if it’s not safe for me to be completely free of acne, I accept myself.

Even if other people don’t deserve for me to get over my acne, I accept myself.

Even though I use my acne as an excuse to __ not do something __________________ or as a reason ­­­­____ to do something else_________________, I accept myself ( you fill in the blanks here).

If I could erase one person or event from my past that would be ______________________________ because________________________

Key Question to Get at the Root Cause of Acne

This question may provide some clue as to what is behind your acne. If it is an event that happened to you, make a list of all the upsetting aspects, or pieces of this event and tap through each piece, starting at the beginning of the event and for each aspect, tapping

1) the inner eyebrow area 2) the outer eye, 3) under the eye 4) below the nose, 5) under the lips 6) the edge of the collar bone 7) tip of the inside of the thumb 8.) tip of the inside of the index finger, 9) tip of the inside of the middle finger, 10) tip of the inside of the pinkie finger, 11) karate chop point, 12) gamut point on back of hand

Typically, you will find that the original issue might disappear from your radar, but other issues present themselves. Work on each of these in turn. You may have to make a long list and go through it over time, but at some point, you will notice improvement in your skin condition. If you hear yourself blaming anyone, including yourself for your having acne, then this too is an issue to do a reversal statement on.”Even though it is __________ fault that I have acne, I accept myself and I forgive _______.

Shoulds, Musts and Ought to’s

If you find yourself mentally using should statements or must statements, these are also important clues to incorporate in your reversal statements.

Even though I should eat healthier, or Even though I should take better care of my skin, or even though I should do __________________________, I accept myself.

What are your fears surrounding your acne?________________________________________

Even though I will never get a date, get married, or have a normal life, I accept myself. Even though no one will talk to me, be my friend or date me as long as I look like this, I accept myself. (You know what those fears are for you – use your own fears here.)

Anger May Be The Key To Your Acne

Anger is a common underlying emotion for acne sufferers. If you were angry at anyone or anything, who, or what, would it be?

Even though I am angry at _______________, and ___________________ and ____________________ for __________________________________, I accept myself and I forgive anyone involved in the situation. Even though my anger only hurts me, and it has no physical effect on anyone else, I accept myself. Even though my anger shows up in my body in a way I don’t want, I accept myself.(3 times)

You may have a long list of people you are angry at, so write this list down and get to work. Describe each incident in a few words and assign a number from 1-10 beside it. Start tapping through the rounds as listed above for each one. Bring each down to 0 if possible, before moving on to the next. If you find that you are not making progress on a particular issue, then this is a sign of psychological reversal. Think of some “even though” statements to work through while tapping the karate chop spot.

Does It Really Work?

In my experience, it does seem to actually work to diminish a painful emotion.

I remember when I first tried out EFT a couple of years ago, I used it in a situation that I was really nervous about (non-acne related). I was having tons of nervous energy that was a bit draining, and when I used the EFT, the nervousness legitimately disappeared. I was really impressed and surprised.

I’ve also used it in more recent times after having a petty fight with my boyfriend, Luke, and it totally helped me to stop being so uptight and emo about it.

With acne, if I am feeling bad about a pimple, it is effective to get rid of the immediate emotions.

However, I have to admit that I am not all that versed in EFT quite yet and have not got down and dirty into the real nitty gritty stuff that keeps me hanging onto my fears about acne. Yes, I am as good a procrastinator as anyone. Mostly I just wasn’t sure of the types of setup phrases I should use to really target my issues.

However, now that I have found that handy EFT acne guide I just posted above, I’m excited and ready to take on the challenge. And now that you know how to do it, maybe we can all tap along together and see how we go!

Give EFT a Try

EFT could be a really awesome tool for you to finally release some of the anger, sadness, and frustration that is caused by acne, or may be causing your acne. It can take a bit of effort to learn the routine, but once you do, you can go through a set of taps in a couple of minutes.

If you find that you like EFT and think that it helps, but you’re still not really sure how to get to the bottom of your specific issues, or you’re really not sure what the problem actually is, there is a growing body of EFT practitioners available all over the world who can help you, either via Skype, telephone, or in person. For example, Mildred Thill who wrote the acne cheat sheet above is an EFT practitioner.

Happy tapping.

Have you heard of EFT or tried EFT before? Are you interested in giving it a try?

photo by Mischelle and Meredith Farmer