When you think of acupuncture, you might not think of it being used on the face. Most of the time, acupuncture needles are applied all over the body as a way to relieve stress and treat chronic pain. Acupuncture used on the face generally has a more cosmetic aim, alleviating signs of aging such as lines and wrinkles.

How does facial acupuncture work?

In general, the acupuncture performed on the face is based on the same principles as that used on the rest of the body. Your energy, called qi, has been blocked and cannot flow properly. Applying acupuncture to certain points opens the channels, called meridians, so that qi can flow again. Modern science considers acupuncture to stimulate endorphins, blood flow, and the body’s healing mechanisms.

Facial acupuncture can use needles, but it has also been performed with stimulating micromagnets. Your therapist will individually assess you so they can identify the points on your face where acupuncture is most needed. These points will form part of your personalized face matrix, which is used to decide where the magnets should be positioned.

Your session may be combined with a full body acupuncture treatment, or with other aspects of a facial. For example, various serums, creams and gels may be applied to hydrate your face and boost its nutrient content, encouraging skin regeneration. Some of these products may be available to take home so you can reinforce the treatment yourself.

What does it do for your skin?

Exactly how acupuncture helps your skin depends on whether you believe in qi, or if you are looking for a more modern scientific explanation. If your qi is blocked, then acupuncture is a way to encourage it to flow again, energizing the neglected parts of your face so it can regenerate. The general idea is that it wakes things up and brings your skin to life.

From a modern scientific perspective, acupuncture is about stimulating the body’s own healing processes. Your skin recognizes the intrusion and starts repairing the perceived damage, sending blood and oxygen to your face, but as there is no actual wound, it instead makes your skin smoother and brighter in complexion. It also has the advantage of being considerably safer and less intrusive than other common anti-aging techniques, such as Botox and surgery.

Acupuncture is also known for its generally relaxing effects. If you are carrying tension in your jaw, or your face is creasing up because of the pain of a headache, then those things may be contributing to you looking older and more tired. If acupuncture can bring relief, then that is another way it may improve the look of your skin.

Whether you want to remove your lines and wrinkles, or have more serious skin conditions that you are trying to heal, acupuncture is a safe method that has been used for thousands of years and that many people have found helpful in a variety of ways. A good acupuncturist will be able to design an individualized session directed specifically at your needs.