How can acupuncture help tighten your skin, improve your complexion and stop breakouts? We find out.
There are many different types of facials, but I have yet to try an acupuncture facial. Or at least I had until I found out that Toronto-based Province Apothecary had enlisted Naturopathic Doctor Nastasia Irons to offer the service. In the name of beauty, I reached out to the brand and to Dr. Irons to learn more—and to try the treatment for myself.
What is it?
Acupuncture is the process of lightly inserting extremely thin needles into the skin. It’s a practice rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine and when used on the body it can help everything from muscle tension to hormonal balance to digestion aid.
When it comes to acupuncture on the face, most of the desired outcomes are cosmetic. Brighter complexions, decongestion, toning, relaxing and lymphatic drainage are some of the things you can see with regular facial acupuncture.
How does it work?
By inserting the needle into specific areas on the face (usually the forehead, under the cheeks, above the eyebrows and around the jaw), you can draw attention to the area. Blood flow is brought to the area and your body responds to the stimulation with increased circulation. By placing some of the needles along the muscles, it can help relax the face, which can help with fine lines, and placing needles under certain muscles will help tone them. For patients dealing with acne, the increased lymphatic drainage from regular acupuncture can help clear congestion and aid in the healing of scars.
The promised results
Immediately you might see a brighter complexion, a more toned or tight face and reduced redness if you have a ruddy visage. To reap any anti-acne benefits, you’ll have to stick with the practice long term, and you likely won’t see any benefits until (if you’re a woman) you’ve gone through a menstrual cycle with regular visits. After a few visits, you might see that the effects of the treatment last longer, and you may see plumping and relaxed fine lines.
Does it hurt?
Not really. If you’re very sensitive, or if you have a fear of needles, then you might need a little more convincing. And everyone will have different reactions. But for the most part you feel a mild little prick, and then you don’t really feel anything, even when the needle is in. If it does feel sharp, your technician will remove the needle immediately, so that you don’t develop a bruise (which is extremely rare). “Sometimes people have sensations like heaviness or pressure, or even light tickling, tingling or itching,” says Dr. Irons. “But it actually tends to be quite relaxing.”
Dr. Irons works out of Province Apothecary’s Skin Clinic in Toronto, Ontario, and every place that offers the service will likely have different prices. For Dr. Irons, you can expect to pay $120 for your first visit, where she does a full body exam and talks about your chief concerns and health goals before you settle into the acupuncture. You can expect to spend about an hour and a half at this first appointment. Each subsequent acupuncture appointment is 45 minutes long and $90. The good news? Because Dr. Irons is a Naturopathic Doctor, you can often pay for these services with health insurance.