Everyone’s looking for a miracle cure these days, and while a little nip tuck or injection might sound like a fun quick fix, we’d like to show you other holistic alternatives you can try before going “under the knife.” As we age, our skin loses the ability to generate and regenerate cells, collagen and fluids in our body that keep our skin looking youthful. In eastern medicine, there’s a belief that skin can be naturally stimulated to prevent signs of aging. We’re talking about facial acupuncture. Typically used in healing sports injuries in the west, this eastern practice is finally getting the attention it deserves. Let’s learn more about this less invasive needlework that helps to bring back radiance to your skin and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
How facial acupuncture works//
Using needles that are tinier than a strand of hair, specific points on the face are stimulated and help get your blood and energy flowing to achieve results. With no additional drugs, or chemicals, with recurring sessions your acupuncturist can lay out a plan and give you a non-invasive facelift with no recovery time needed.
Our friends over at The Garden in San Francisco are experts in acu-facials and share the kinds of results you may experience with cosmetic acupuncture:
- Improved complexion
- Invigorated elasticity and tone
- Reduction of wrinkles and fine lines
- Leveling of deeper wrinkles
- Plump and brighter skin
- Reduction of acne and rosacea
- Reduction in puffiness
- Can help with Bell’s palsy and post-stroke paralysis
- Balance of oily and dry skin
- Increased blood flow and lymph circulation
- Tightened pores
- Reduction of inflammation in the face
- Reduction of dark circles under the eyes
Botox vs. acupuncture facials//
The only thing they have in common is that they both use needles during the procedure. With an acu-facelift, the idea is to rejuvenate the skin tissues with the needles as a form of anti-aging and treating fine lines and wrinkles. Acupuncture on the face helps the blood flow keeping your muscles healthy, making your skin and cells vibrant working with the Qi (chi) and flow of your own body. Using botox paralyzes the muscle so it can no longer create movement that creates lines and wrinkles in the skin. While we’re not anti-botox, if you’re going to use a drug that’s entering your body, there are some practices you’ll need to consider to keep the tissues in your face as healthy as possible. Here’s additional research that compares botox with other similar treatments.
What to be aware of if you use botox injections//
Here’s the thing, if you plan on getting botox injections, we want you to know all the facts and the best way to care for yourself if you have the procedure done. A good practitioner will share with you how you should care for your skin differently if you’re using botox.
Botox (botulinum toxin) is a neurotoxin that works by paralyzing the muscle it’s injected to, turning off the switch that signals your muscle to move from the brain. Your brain will still send the signals to your muscle to move, but the muscle will no longer respond. As the muscle stops contracting, further wrinkles are prevented. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t lose feeling in the area, because the nerves that signal to your brain to feel are still working. Because the area is paralyzed, you’re also getting little blood flow to the tissue which can cause skin to become lackluster and sallow, which is why it’s potentially damaging for your skin! There is a higher chance of stagnant lymph which is why the skin for any long-term botox user can look gray with no vibrancy.
Like any other healing therapies for a paralyzed muscle, you must create movement using circulation and stimulation of the area to get the blood flowing again. In physical therapy, movement is used to get the muscles to “remember” how to work. (Our bodies love routine and things that repeat, because it creates deeper grooves in your brain for it to remember to do things that help you to function without even thinking!) Because the muscle is no longer working, using gua sha techniques or facial massage, will get the blood flow moving in the area with botox to keep the skin from losing its radiance. We also wanted to point out that gua sha does not give the same results as botox, instead it helps to reduce the negative effects. Botox users should consider finding a facial practice that will help keep your skin looking vibrant for the long run.
Botox itself is still technically a poison and you should consider the potential side effects or complications that may occur during and after the procedure. There are plenty of research articles in Pubmed to read. Make sure you do your research and ask your practitioner all the questions you have before continuing with the procedure.
Find a practitioner near you//
Acupuncture and its ancient techniques have been long proven to work naturally with your body not only bringing health to the skin but also providing other amazing results for the whole body. In California, acu-facials are becoming easier to find and working with a licensed acupuncturist is highly recommended. Anne Woods, L.Ac. of The Garden in San Francisco and Lydia Au, L.Ac. of The Beauty Within in Tustin (Orange County California) both offer Botnia and acupuncture facials!
If you’re looking to get botox, our friends over at The Things We Do and The Next LA are experts in cosmeceutical services. (The Things We Do even have a celebrity clientele!) We recommend both of these fabulous spas for Botnia Facials and alternative treatments.
If you decide to try acupuncture facials or botox to reduce wrinkles, make sure you properly research the background and experience of your practitioner for either modality, and schedule a consultation to get your questions answered. A good practitioner will give you all the facts and help you make a long term plan to care for your skin.