The temperatures are warming up, finally, and March 21st is the official first day of spring. You may be feeling a bit of that spring fever, and longing to spruce up your wardrobe with some brighter, breezier styles.
Don’t forget to spruce up your skin, too! Harsh winter weather can take its toll, leaving you with dullness, dryness, and more visible fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to your usual spring cleanup, we encourage you to think about ways you can freshen up your face.
Good ideas include dumping old products—go through your cupboards and makeup drawers and throw out anything you were using last year this time. Find more tips on our post about spring-cleaning your cosmetics cabinet.
Consider exfoliating a bit more to get rid of that old, dead skin, and don’t forget to spring clean your skin care products too, by getting rid of any that may have toxic ingredients in them. We have tips for how to do that on our post about spring-cleaning your skin care.
Spring-cleaning your diet can also help you shed winter dullness and enjoy a more vibrant complexion. We have damage-busting foods for a more radiant, glowing complexion here.
Now, it’s time to try something new to put the finishing touches on your fresh, spring face. You’ve heard of acupuncture for relieving pain, easing digestive issues, and taming allergies. But this ancient healing technique is now being used for something new: skin care and beauty.
In fact, acupuncture is now being touted as the latest minimally invasive way to treat wrinkles, acne, dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, and more.
Skeptical? Read on for details, because you may just want to make an appointment for your own facial acupuncture soon!
Acu-Beauty Similar to Traditional Acupuncture
It’s called acu-beauty, and it’s a new trend in skin care and cosmetics. The technique is similar to traditional acupuncture—it’s just performed on the face and neck for beauty benefits.
Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine practices, and involves inserting very thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific energy channels in the body. Chinese acupuncturists believe that a life force or energy they call “qi” or “chi” flows along similar meridians or pathways in the body, and that illness and pain are caused by an imbalance of the energy flow. Inserting these thin needles along the appropriate channels helps re-balance chi and restore health to mind and body.
Western acupuncture practitioners are more likely to believe that the needles help stimulate nerves, muscles, and tissues that marshal the body’s own natural painkillers and healing abilities to ease pain and solve other health problems.
Whatever belief is behind the practice, the basic technique is the same, as far as inserting the needles along energy channels, but other parts of the procedure may differ depending on the desired outcome. Practitioners may use needles of varying lengths, vary the depth of insertion, or use other methods concurrently like electrical stimulation or heat.
Goals of treatment vary from pain relief to symptom relief (such as nausea and vomiting) to managing substance withdrawal…to anti-aging.
How Acu-Beauty Works
Acu-beauty seems to have gotten its start rather by mistake. Many patients who were getting acupuncture for other problems, like headaches, started noticing that their appearance was benefitting, too.
Soon new acupuncture facials started showing up in spas. These treatments may focus exclusively on the face, or combine face and body acupuncture, sometimes with other spa-like treatments, to create glowing skin.
As beauty experts began to see the benefits of these treatments, acu-beauty expanded. Now, the technique is often used to target specific issues, like wrinkles, acne, sagging, dullness, and more. Practitioners believe that acupuncture works for a number of reasons, including the following:
- It helps stimulate circulation, bringing more blood to the skin where it helps repair problems.
- It leads to whole-body relaxation and reduces cortisol levels, calming facial nerves and muscles.
- It may help increase collagen and elastin, and boost the skin’s ability to regenerate itself.
- It helps to treat other health problems in the body, which often show up on the skin. The idea is that by holistically treating the body, the skin benefits, as well.
There are even some small studies on the subject of acupuncture and anti-aging. In a 2013 study, for instance, researchers gave women aged 40 to 59 years five acupuncture treatments over a period of three weeks. They measured facial elasticity, a sign of youthful tightness, both before and after the treatments. Results showed a significant improvement after the treatments.
“In this pilot study,” researchers wrote, “FCA [facial cosmetic acupuncture] showed promising results as a therapy for facial elasticity.”
Possible Benefits of Acu-Beauty
Though we don’t have a lot of research yet, many people swear by the benefits of acu-beauty. Facial issues that may benefit from a series of treatments include:
- Puffy face: Allergies, illnesses, digestive issues, and more can show up as face puffiness. Acu-beauty may help to alleviate these issues, and thus reduce swelling.
- Acne: One of the major factors in acne is inflammation. Acu-beauty helps stimulate circulation to get more blood to the face, helping to repair inflammation and restore proper blood flow through the skin. It can also help calm body and face during a woman’s menstrual period, which may, in turn, reduce acne breakouts.
- Rosacea: Chinese medicine equates redness with heat, and uses acupuncture to help cool the body and clear up internal issues that may be causing redness and irritation.
- Sagging: Sagging and bagging is usually caused by tissues that are losing their strength and becoming stretched out. Acu-beauty is believed to help restore health to these tissues, tightening those that are too loose to help lift and sculpt the cheeks and jawline.
- Dullness: Dull skin may be caused by a lack of health and vitality in the skin itself. Acupuncture techniques trigger healing processes in the face, encouraging circulation and collagen production to bring life back into the skin’s appearance.
The bottom line is you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. Acupuncture is safe and has a good reputation for helping to improve overall health and wellness. Most people find it relaxing, and yet feel more energized after the treatment is over. Best of all, you’re not shooting drugs into your face or otherwise damaging it—you’re simply stimulating the body’s own healing techniques.
Give it a try (with a reputable acupuncturist). You may be amazed by the results—and more ready for spring than ever!
Have you tried acu-beauty for anti-aging skin care?
Younghee Yun, et al., “Effect of Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture on Facial Elasticity: An Open-Label, Single-Arm Pilot Study,” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2013; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3745857/.