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What Is It: Acupuncture Face Lift

Acupuncture Face Lift
June 7, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 6 Comments
During my last vacation in South Africa, my arm and shoulder practically seized up and the holistic healer that my friends sent me to promptly stuck some needles in me. It was my first (and only) experience of acupuncture and I was quite excited and curious about the procedure and whether it would have any effect. It turned out to be an astonishing success; with just one treatment, several weeks of growing discomfort and restricted movement were eliminated. So when someone on Twitter sent us a message about cosmetic acupuncture I wasn't totally skeptical.

I decided to do some research on acupuncture as an alternative to syringes and knives, but finding truly objective information proved harder than hunting needles in haystacks. The naysayers often make sweeping statements dismissing the whole practice of acupuncture as tantamount to nothing more than snake oil. Journalists often find plastic surgeons who are only too willing to rubbish the idea of an acupuncture face lift. Acupuncturists, on the other hand, claim that they can prick away sagging jowls, fine lines and bags under the eyes.

To deal with the naysayers first. I agree with them that the mumbo-jumbo about meridians, qi and channels is vague and implausible. Nonetheless, the anecdotal evidence of results, such as reduction of pain, is compelling (like me with my arm) and the World Heath Organization endorses acupuncture for over 20 conditions. As for the cosmetic surgeons, they are not likely to endorse something that would put them out of business. But, does that mean I'll be swapping my microcurrent facials for needles? Probably not.

For a start, I can't really see how acupuncture would, as it is claimed, stimulate collagen. Acupuncture needles - thankfully - do not cause the kind of punctures that, say,  a dermaroller would and therefore the skin isn't being traumatized into producing new collagen. Similarly, there is nothing that I've found that could plausibly explain how gravity defying jowls are created. And even the proponents of the procedure admit that it works better on 30-somethings.

Having said all that, there are a couple of aspects of the treatment that could be helpful. We all carry tension in our faces, perhaps by clenching our jaws or squinting with every anxious thought. If needles can help certain muscles relax, continuous sessions may have some impact on fine lines. Secondly, the procedure could stimulate circulation and help the skin look clearer. Hmm, it might be worth a shot after all.

If anyone has tried cosmetic acupuncture, we'd love you to tell us about your experience.
  • February 7, 2014

    by Marty Brown

    I have not tried acupuncture but my sister did several years ago. She looked fabulous afterward, but it is difficult to ascertain if it was the acupuncture because she simultaneously lost a significant amount of weight. I did find two studies supporting acupuncture from 2 peer-reviewed journals. Here are the citations:

    (1) "Skin needling in the treatment of the aging neck."
    Fabbrocini, Gabriella; De Vita, Valerio; Di Costanzo, Luisa; Pastore, Francesco; Mauriello, Maria Chiara; et al. Skinmed9.6 (2011 Nov-Dec): 347-351.

    (2) "Acupuncture and facial rejuvenation."
    Barrett, John B; National Library of Medicine. Aesthetic surgery journal / the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic surgery25.4 (2005 Jul-Aug): 419-424.

  • November 14, 2009

    by patrice podvoj

    I tried the acupuncture facelift. A total of 10 sessions. Frankly I noticed not a thing! It came to about $800 for the series. Once a week.

  • June 11, 2009

    by michlny

    Bess - price vary by where you live. I'm in NYC so the prices are pretty high. You'll need about 10-12 sessions. It's very relaxing in general.

  • June 10, 2009

    by Bess

    I am considering cosmetic accupuncture.

    What kind of results should I expect over what time period?

    How much should I expect to pay for the treatment?

    How many treatments are required for results?

    Many thanks!

  • June 9, 2009

    by michlny

    I have been going for a few weeks now and I will say that the process feels great but the results are not miraculous. I do not have many issues but my nasolabial folds have been bothering me. I'll say it's a great alternative to fillers but the results are not comparable.

  • June 7, 2009

    by Jan

    I have had a few cosmetic accupuncture treatments and had wonderful results. However for continued results I would have had to rob a bank - unfortunately I could not afford further treatments but would recommend to anyone! I love that they fall into the 'non-invasive' category and there is no harmful 'ingredients' to contend with.

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