Cosmetic Acupuncture 101

 

I started going to cosmetic acupuncture about six months ago and I love the results.  Its painless, you get a chance to have a rest and you feel like you just received a mini face lift after treatment.  If you've been thinking about botox or any other cosmetic procedure, cosmetic acupuncture is a great natural and alternative way to help get rid of fine lines, tighten skin and leave looking radiant.  I speak with Dr Sarah Mckenzie - registered Acupuncturist & Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, Naturopath, Herbalist & Nutritionist - about what cosmetic acupuncture is, its history and its benefits.  

 

What is cosmetic/facial acupuncture?

Cosmetic Acupuncture is a natural, safe and effective way to treat the skin. We use extra fine needles inserted into the skin of the head, face, neck and body; treating the superficial layers of skin and deeper muscles of the face, as well as using specific points on the body to promote overall health and vitality. Traditional acupuncture methods are used, including needling & gua sha, along with more modern techniques of micro needling with a dermal roller, I find this combination gives the greatest benefit to the skin.

 

We use extra fine needles inserted into the skin of the head, face, neck and body; treating the superficial layers of skin and deeper muscles of the face, as well as using specific points on the body to promote overall health and vitality.

 

What is the history and origin of cosmetic acupuncture?

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & Acupuncture have been practised for a few thousand years, and the Chinese have always known the benefit acupuncture has, not only on beauty and the skin, but overall vitality of the body. Only recently though, research of the benefits of facial acupuncture have been conducted, with the earliest being in 1996.

How does it work?

Fine needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points and muscles of the face and in TCM terms, these needles stimulate circulation of qi & blood to the face and balance the body’s organs & meridians to promote health.

On a more pathophysiological, scientific basis, we can look separately at acupuncture and micro needling, as they have slightly different effects:

Facial acupuncture: A literature review of 27 studies, showed facial acupuncture increases muscle tone and elasticity (Kim, 2013; Yun, 2013). Another study showed increased hydration and oil content of the skin, reducing age related dryness (Kim, M., 2013). Several more studies suggest acupuncture relaxes facial muscles thereby reducing wrinkle formation (Hwang et al. 2008).

Micro needling: appears to be best for collagen production, and it does this by causing micro trauma to the skin’s surface. It activates a physiologic cascade involved in wound healing, that results in the rebuilding of collagen to improve the texture & quality of the skin (Kingston, 2016). Micro needling also improves transdermal absorption of products (Henry et al., 1998) such as serums, which I always use in my treatments.

 

Facial acupuncture: A literature review of 27 studies, showed facial acupuncture increases muscle tone and elasticity

 

 

What's the difference between facial acupuncture and Botox?

Facial acupuncture is not a quick fix, but it improves the long term health and integrity of the skin, continuing to build collagen many months after your last treatment, whereas botox does not. Botox involves injecting Botulinum toxin into the facial muscles to paralyse  them and needs to be done every few months.

It’s not surprising that a more natural treatment like facial acupuncture is becoming more popular.

What are the benefits of cosmetic acupuncture?

It increases collagen production, soften fines lines & wrinkles, it plumps, hydrates & improves skin tone, lifts & tightens facial muscles, reduces pigmentation, acne scarring & redness; and not only is it anti-aging but it also helps skin conditions such as acne, eczema & psoriasis

How long does it take to see results?

Improvement in the overall look and feel of the skin & muscles can be seen almost immediately, with the increase in qi and blood flow to the face. Longer term, deeper changes in the skin can be seen over a few weeks and will continue to generate over the following months especially if regular treatment is continued.

 

It increases collagen production, soften fines lines & wrinkles, it plumps, hydrates & improves skin tone, lifts & tightens facial muscles, reduces pigmentation, acne scarring & redness; and not only is it anti-aging but it also helps skin conditions such as acne, eczema & psoriasis

 

References:

Henry, S., McAllister D, Allen, M, Prausnitz M. (1998). Microfabricated microneedles: a novel approach to transdermal drug delivery. Journal of Pharmacological Science. 87(8): 922-925. 

Hwang, D.S., Song, J.H., Kim, Y.S., et al. (2008). "The Changes of Facial TemperaturebyMisoFacial RejuvenationAcupuncture: A Case Study". The Journal of Korean Acupuncture & Moxibustion Society. 25(1): 89-95. 

Kim, M. (2013). ‘A Study on Cosmetic Acupuncture Through Anatomy and Physiology Interpretation'. Korean Journal of Acupuncture. 30(3): 171-177 

Kim, T. (2013). ‘Trend Analysis of Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture Study based on the Korean Traditional Medicine’. The Acupuncture. 30(5): 125-137. 

Kingston, A. (2016). Facial cosmetic acupuncture - An alternative theory for the mechanisms behind its effectiveness. Journal of Chinese Medicine. (112), 32–34.

Kingston, A. (n.d.). Microneedling and Acupuncture Facial, 21(4).

Yun, Y., Kim, S., Kim, M., Kim, K., Park, J. S., & Choi, I. (2013). Effect of facial cosmetic acupuncture on facial elasticity: An open-label, single-arm pilot study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/424313