Editor Alexandra Donaldson tries facial acupuncture at Province Apothecary in Toronto. Image by: Alexandra Donaldson
We went to Province Apothecary’s Skin Care Clinic in Toronto to try the brand’s new facial rejuvenation acupuncture treatment with Dr. Nastasia Irons, ND.
I’m a huge fan of facials and try to get them as often as I can (and can afford to). But I’ve never had a facial that incorporated acupuncture. In fact, I’ve never had acupuncture at all. But since of the many non-invasive skin-care treatments, this seemed like the most non-invasive, I decided to give it a try with Province Apothecary and Dr. Nastasia Irons, ND.
My goals were modest. I was hoping for a greater understanding of the Traditional Chinese Medicine practice, and hopefully, to leave the clinic with brighter, plumper skin.
The experience was overall incredibly relaxing, once I got over the idea of needles being inserted into my face. After Dr. Irons spoke with me at length about my medical history, personal concerns and health and skin goals, she had me lay down and began to tap in each needle at certain, pre-determined points. For the facial, I was surprised to find that she inserted needles elsewhere on my body—my feet and my hands. This was done to make sure my face wasn’t overstimulated and helped ground me.
The needles themselves were not painful. For the most part, I experienced a slight increase in pressure (with the needle in the center of my forehead giving the most pressure), and once Dr. Irons had left the room for me to relax, I hardly felt anything at all. The only discomfort I felt was with one needle that was placed under my left cheekbone, which Dr. Irons removed and placed elsewhere—not because I was in any danger, but because sometimes if you feel a more pronounced pinch, the possibility exists of a bruise developing. And we’d all prefer to leave our skin-care treatments bruise-free of course.
After about twenty minutes to half an hour of quiet time with the needles, Dr. Irons returned to remove them. Almost immediately I felt the light pressure leave and I was left with some mild tightness, but otherwise, everything felt completely normal.
Visually the changes were too minimal for anyone except me to see. My cheekbones seemed lifted and more sculpted. The fine lines on my forehead seemed reduced. And my jawline seemed marginally tighter. Dr. Irons confirms that these changes will fade quickly, especially on your first visit. Going back for regular treatments at the beginning of your acupuncture journey, and then doing maintenance treatments every couple of months is usually the best bet to maintain and prolong the positive effects of the treatment. If you’re hoping to treat acne or persistent acne scarring, you’ll likely have to commit to going more frequently.
Other then the visual side effects, there were a few physical ones I noticed too. My persistent mild headache—no doubt caused by the ever-changing Canadian weather—eased considerably, and I slept very well that night. No surprise, given that acupuncture can help relieve tension.
Although this service falls under the facial category, don’t expect creams, oils and facial massage to be making an appearance—this is strictly for needles, which makes it a much different facial experience. You’ll still relax, and Dr. Irons does incorporate aromatherapy, but this isn’t your standard facial.
Overall, this was a great experience. I learned a lot about Traditional Chinese Medicine that I didn’t know, and managed to spend an enjoyable time with needles sticking out of my face—definitely a win. This first time, the changes were small and short, but I’m interested in going a few more times to see how regular appointments could really help improve some of my own skin problems—namely congestion and dullness. And, if you’re at all interested, I completely recommend trying this service out.
Province Apothecary Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, $120 (90 minutes) or $90 (45 minutes), provinceapthecary.ca.