Women have tried a lot of things over the years to make their skin look younger, clearer, and more radiant. From getting blasted by lasers to swishing oil, we've done it all in the name of a more gorgeous complexion. One avenue we haven't yet explored? Sticking needles all over our visage, a.k.a. facial acupuncture.
It's a commonly held belief that newer always means better when it comes to your skin, but this isn't always true, as this ancient practice demonstrates. "Cosmetic acupuncture is a way to restore health by balancing the whole body," explains Natasha Kubis, a licensed acupuncturist at Tres Belle Petite Medi-Spa in Brooklyn.
This whole-health approach to anti-aging, lifting and firming the skin without the use of plastic surgery or injections, has been getting a lot of play in the media of late — and quite a bit of backlash. Many people bemoan the lack of scientific evidence around those claims, noting that the effects of cosmetic acupuncture cannot effectively mimic that of more high-tech treatments like Botox and Juvederm. Kubis confirms: "I tell people it's not anything like Botox — it's not something where you see the results right away. Each session builds on the previous one. We're not just treating a symptom, but treating the whole body and promoting overall health. The results are more sustainable, and benefits will last much longer then a shot."
While it's realistically not possible to get comparable results to synthetic fillers with a holistic treatment, that doesn't mean there aren't noticeable, measurable benefits to facial acupuncture. According to a recent Korean study, of 27 women who underwent a series of five treatments over a three-week span, over 50% saw a "significant improvement" in muscle tone and elasticity of their skin.
Again, the key here is that the results of facial acupuncture aren't instant, but rather cumulative. Kubis recommends her clients see her twice a week, for six weeks for the initial protocol, then continue with a maintenance program once a month.
We asked Kubis to walk us through a typical acupuncture session and brought a photographer along to document the procedure. Read on to see cosmetic acupuncture in action and find out if it might be the beauty trick your skin has been waiting for.
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Photographed by Jessica Nash