What’s the Deal with Facial Acupuncture?
It’s the new, less invasive face-lift.
Let’s face it (pun shamelessly intended): Nothing quite Benjamin Buttons like Botox. We mean, as much as we’re all for aging au naturel, you can only have so many miracles à La Mer before you realize your collagen just isn’t that of your kid-self’s anymore. But the thought of face-lifts and fillers in the name of wrinkle removal can, well, to put it lightly, be fucking terrifying.
So, as with many a beauty quest of late, we turned to the world of Korean beauty to source a more organic route to facial firming. The find: cosmetic acupuncture, which, yes, we’re very aware requires sticking needles in your face, but hands to our Hermès it’s not as scary as it sounds. “Acupuncture has been done for hundreds of years on the body to cure ailments before the rise of Western medicine. More recently due to its effectiveness, however, there’s been a growing trend of [Korean] women of all ages applying the procedure to their faces as well. Because women [in Korea] are all about youthful yet natural-looking results, some like to opt out of Botox and fillers in favor of facial acupuncture,” explains Angela Kim of Korean e-commerce shop InsiderBeauty.
Still a little wary (read: needle-phobic) of the whole ordeal, we asked Amanda Beisel, acupuncturist and founder of SKN Holistic Rejuvenation Clinic, to break down the ancient rejuvenation process of facial acupuncture.
On the basics of cosmetic acupuncture:
“Cosmetic acupuncture begins with body needles to balance and relax the body, and then fine dermal needles are inserted into the face. I use body needles called ‘Asiamed,’ which come from Germany, and facial needles called ‘dermal needles’ from Korea. I follow a specific [acupuncture] protocol called ‘Mei Zen’ and then do extra needling in specific fine lines and wrinkles. The facial needles improve blood and energy circulation, nourish your skin, and increase natural collagen production to diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dull skin.”
On cosmetic vs. traditional acupuncture:
“Cosmetic acupuncture is specifically focused on improving the skin health and giving skin an overall glow, but it does incorporate traditional acupuncture that works to de-stress and calm the body. The appearance of the skin is connected to the state of your health, so it is important to balance the mind, body, and spirit.”
On its anti-aging effects:
“The main benefits one will notice [from cosmetic acupuncture] is a brighter and healthier-looking complexion. It softens the appearance and slows the formation of fine lines. I encourage women in their late twenties and early thirties to incorporate this into their skin-care routine to prevent the signs of aging. There is nothing that completely eliminates the signs of aging—it just slows them down. I actually encourage people to embrace aging and do it gracefully, because aging and living each day is a beautiful thing.”
On the timing:
“Each session is 45 minutes, and it generally takes five sessions to see results. Clients often notice an overall brightness to the skin after the first treatment, however. I encourage clients to complete a series of five to ten sessions, coming in weekly or bi-weekly, and then coming in every four to six weeks for maintenance.”
On the best age to start:
“It is always good to start early, before the signs of aging have really taken hold. You want to be stimulating collagen while it is naturally starting to decline, therefore fighting the aging process. Starting in your late twenties and early thirties is ideal, however it is never too late to start because it boosts the look and health of your skin, and that is beneficial to everyone.”
On Cosmetic Acupuncture vs. Botox:
“I feel cosmetic acupuncture is complementary to Botox. Botox targets specific fine lines and wrinkles, where cosmetic acupuncture improves the look and health of your skin. So together they work on the face as a whole, complementing the results each treatment provides. In terms of a face-lift, only a face-lift can do what a face-lift does. It is a much more drastic step in the aging process and often more of an option for those looking to make drastic changes to the skin. Clients can have cosmetic acupuncture anytime prior to Botox injections, but must wait four weeks post-Botox if they are wanting acupuncture in the area the Botox was injected. Clients can also have cosmetic acupuncture after facial surgery, but would want to wait at least one month. The acupuncture can help encourage and support healing of the skin post-surgery."
On anyone who should avoid the procedure:
“If you have a serious health condition, cosmetic acupuncture is not a good option. Also if you are taking blood-thinning medications.”
On pre-, during, and post-procedure skin treatments:
“I am a huge promoter of using safe, effective products each day. It is very important that we are topically feeding and fueling our skin. I encourage clients to be using proper forms of vitamin C (powdered L-ascorbic acid), vitamin A (retinaldehyde), hyaluronic acid, AHAs, moisturizer, and a physical sunblock. If you are prone to bruising, taking arnica during your series of acupuncture can help to prevent bruises.”