Facial Acupuncture: Natural Botox or Not?

Facial acupuncture (can also be called cosmetic acupuncture) can be a gentle and complementary way to take care of your skin.

If you’ve never had acupuncture before, it is a modality that uses extremely thin needles inserted in various parts of the body along different organ channels called meridians.

Facial acupuncture is a whole-body treatment! Your face and skin aren’t independent of the rest of you. The points that I (or your acupuncture provider) choose(s) are based on areas of concern and a full-body assessment. I pair my treatments with a face and neck massage to help with muscle tension, lymphatic drainage, and circulation–my patients LOVE this!

What are some of the benefits?

  • Promotes the smooth flow of Qi (loosely: vital force) in your face and skin as well as the rest of your body
  • Improves muscle tone and dermal contraction
  • Encourages circulation to the face which improves skin rejuvenation and facial colour
  • Increases collagen production and dispersal
  • Helps reduce wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, jowls, under-eye bags, puffiness, double chins, evident stress, and sinus problems
  • Decreases the look of pores and balances sebaceous secretions to brighten all types of skin
  • Brightens the eyes and helps to lift drooping eyelids
  • Slows down the effects of aging on the skin by promoting elimination and improving skin nourishment
  • Helps with issues of the eyes, ears, sinuses, thyroid as well as easing TMJ problems
  • Helps reduce signs of stress and weariness on the face
  • Diminishes the prominence of scars
  • Helps the skin and face look rested and radiant
  • Great way to take care of yourself and your skin all at once
brown-skinned woman with black shoulder-length hair (Dr. Anne) with numerous needles in the face.

Who is it for?

It’s for anyone who wants a gentle way of supporting their skin health. Keep in mind that you’re not going to see results like fillers or Botox because, well, this isn’t either of those things!

Who might it not be for?

Some of the contraindications to getting cosmetic acupuncture include:

  • Problems with bleeding and/or tendency to bruise excessively; if you’re taking Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), high dose fish oil, high dose vitamin E, and/or blood thinners like Coumadin
  • Pituitary tumours
  • (Uncontrolled) High blood pressure
  • Migraines
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Serious health conditions such as cancer, AIDS, acute hepatitis, and coronary disease
  • Seizures and epilepsy
  • Dizziness
  • Unexplained tinnitus
  • Areas where botox has been done in the past 6 months (acupuncture can be performed around these areas)
  • During pregnancy
  • Current facial sunburn,  acute facial herpes outbreak, and/or other immune and inflammatory episodes

How many treatments do I need?

Similar to most therapies, appointments are closer together at the beginning in order to get the ball rolling. Then, you will require maintenance if you want to continue seeing the results. Most people’s maintenance appointments are 4-8 weeks apart depending on trial and error, age, response, concern, and budget.

Think about it kind of like exercising: it’s good for you even if done irregularly, but best results (for health, muscle mass, endurance, etc.) come from repeated action over time.

Final Thoughts

The narrow definition of “beauty” and “beauty standards” is something I encourage you to explore (and re-explore), read about, and talk to people about. We get marketed to as being not good enough the way we are, and I for one do not want people to constantly shrink themselves to fit into a concocted patriarchal box. I believe that ageing is a privilege.

Facial acupuncture is not botox and it’s not fillers–it’s not going to give results like that either. It is a supportive measure for your skin and whole body. To me, is a great tool to support my overall skin health and augment my skincare routine while decreasing TMJ symptoms and muscle tension. I love it as a tool for personal wellness–it’s part of my self-care. I still have my acne scars and fine lines, which are evidence of years lived in this skin of mine, and I’m embracing those as much as possible (it’s a process!). We get marketed to as being not good enough the way we are, and I, for one, do not want people to constantly shrink themselves to fit into a concocted patriarchal capitalist box.

Many of us are fortunate enough to choose how we spend our time, effort, and resources. We get to define what wellness means to us. I think about this often. I hope you do too <3.

If you’re in and around the Newmarket or East Gwillimbury areas, you can book in a facial acupuncture treatment here. (Please note that an initial assessment is still required for acupuncture treatments).