Acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medicine that has been around for years. Acupuncture may help treat body pains, headaches, or even nausea. It also has extra benefits in getting rid of fine lines and wrinkles. Facial acupuncture, the reportedly safer alternative to surgery or Botox.
This cosmetic treatment is believed to naturally help make the skin look younger, smoother, and all-around healthier. And unlike injection procedures, facial acupuncture addresses not only signs of aging, but also the general health of the skin.
“It works internally to enhance your health while concurrently enhancing the appearance of your skin,” explains Amanda Beisel, acupuncturist and founder of SKN Holistic Rejuvenation Clinic.
The science backing facial acupuncture
After a regular full-body acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist will move on to the facial portion of the treatment. If the practitioner only does the facial part of the treatment, Beisel doesn’t recommend it.
“If you were just going to put a large number of needles in the face and not the full body, this would result in energy congestion in the face,” she says. “A client can experience dullness, headache, and discomfort.”
When you start with the body, you can experience a full flow of energy that helps support the facial acupuncture.
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On the face, the acupuncturist will insert 40 to 70 tiny and painless needles. As the needles puncture the skin, they create wounds within its threshold, which are called positive microtraumas. When your body senses these gashes, it goes into repair mode. This is the same idea microneedling uses to get bright, anti-aging results, except acupuncture is a bit less intense. Microneedling uses hundreds of pricks through a rolling device, while acupuncture uses about 50 punctures.
These punctures rouse your lymphatic and circulatory system, which work together to deliver nutrients and oxygen to your skin cells, nourishing skin from the inside out. This helps even out your complexion and promote your skin’s glow. The positive microtraumas also stimulates the production of collagen. This helps improve elasticity, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
How much does it cost?
The average cost of a facial treatment can range wildly from $25 to $1,500, according to RealSelf.com. Of course, this depends on your location, studio, and whether you get a facial plus full-body treatment or only a facial. But as Beisel recommends, avoid going for the face alone, it won’t make you look good.
Facial acupuncture isn’t just a safer option, but also more within your means than surgery, which can cost north of $2,000. Depending on which studio or spa you go to, facial acupuncture is about the same if not more than dermal fillers, too.
What are the long-term expectations of facial acupuncture?
Acupuncture leads to better collagen stimulation, a brightened skin tone, reduced jaw tension, and a softer appearance overall on top of health benefits like reduced anxiety and tension.
The main result people experience is a bright complexion. “It’s as though the skin has been awakened from a long, deep sleep,” she says. “All the fresh blood and oxygen flood the face and really bring it back to life,” says Beisel.
However unlike Botox or dermal fillers, facial acupuncture isn’t a quick fix of any kind. “I like to manage clients’ expectations,” explains Beisel. “The focus is to create long-term changes in the health of the skin and body, not short-term quick fixes alone.”
One study found that most people saw improvements after just five sessions of facial acupuncture, but Beisel recommends 10 treatments once or twice a week to achieve best results. After that, you can go into what she calls a “maintenance stage,” where you get the treatment every four to eight weeks.
“It’s a great treatment for those who are really busy and on the go,” she says. “It allows the body time to relax and restore.”
If you’re unable to commit to that kind of time or money to maintain treatments, another way to help preserve your results afterward is to feed your skin through a well-balanced diet and well-formulated skin care routine.
What are the side effects of facial acupuncture?
The most common side effect for facial acupuncture is bruising. This only occus about 20 percent of the time, but is still a possibility. According to Beisel, bruising should heal before the week is up. To avoid bruising and instead achieve the best results, the person receiving the treatment should be in good health for maximum healing abilities. People with bleeding disorders or uncontrolled type 2 diabetes shouldn’t seek this treatment. Beisel reassures that any bruising often heals quite quickly.