Cosmetic Acupuncture is More Than Skin Deep

By Stephanie Salinas, LAc., MSAc.

With all the product and service options available to treat your skin concerns, you’re probably asking yourself, “Should I try cosmetic acupuncture?” And,“Is cosmetic acupuncture effective at treating issues relating to the skin?” The answer is a resounding yes! Cosmetic acupuncture uses needles to stimulate collagen production in addition to treating the underlying emotions that produce the wrinkles.

Is cosmetic acupuncture a trend?

Cosmetic acupuncture is both currently trending and is part of traditional Chinese medicine, whose written record dates back to the fourteenth century. Traditional acupuncture consists of insertion of many small needles into the skin and muscles of the body. There are twelve channels and 365 points that traverse the body. Six channels have point locations on the head and face. Acu-points on the face can be used as both a diagnostic and treatment tool.

How acupuncturists diagnose the face

According to the article, “Facial Expression Analysis” by Matsumoto and Ekman, 

“the face is intricate and differentiated, making it one of the most complex signal systems available to humans. The facial muscles are the only somatic muscles in the body attached on one side to bone and the other to skin, making facial movements specialized for expression. People use the facial muscles to signal their emotional states.”

Acupuncture theory uses the location and depth of the wrinkles of the face to diagnose the patient’s emotional state. Certain emotional expressions require activation of specific functional muscle units in order to be expressed. The activation of facial movements that have become habitual can create lines and wrinkles that can give clues to habitual emotions within a patient. For example, a patient with vertical wrinkles on the forehead, between the eyebrows, tends to exhibit habitual anger or indecisiveness. Facial acupuncture treatment will focus on increasing collagen production at the site of the wrinkle in addition to calming the emotions of anger and indecisiveness. 

Acupuncture theory can also diagnose the appearance, moisture, texture or color irregularities of the skin, eyes and face. Each of these components can give clues to underlying imbalances that may exist in a patient. For example, a patient with dry, flaky skin may be presenting with dryness and yin deficiency. Facial acupuncture treatment will focus on increasing blood flow to the face in addition to stimulating overall blood flow. A licensed and skilled acupuncturist can diagnose a patient by visual inspection and address the underlying causes giving rise to imbalances.

How cosmetic acupuncture works

In a cosmetic acupuncture treatment, the needles can be inserted to the skin, muscle, tendon and bone layers of the face and scalp. Needles able to reach the bone layer of the face because the muscles and tendons of the face are relatively thin. Acupuncture works generally by inserting needles into specific acu-points, stimulating the immune system and initiating a healing response. When acupuncture needles are inserted in the face, they cause a micro-trauma which signals the immune system to stimulate fibroblast production. These fibroblasts transform into new collagen fibers, that simultaneously create new structures and integrate into the existing structural network of skin cells. The result is a more even skin surface, more blood flow and more moisture. 

Is treatment invasive?

I know what you’re thinking- does it hurt? Please read my previous post, “How to minimize your pain response to acupuncture.” Treatment should be a relaxing experience. Any sensation of pain should be brief and manageable. I tell my patients to feel free to communicate their level of comfort.

Treatment is not invasive and will not leave scars. There is a small chance of bruising, but your licensed acupuncturist will take steps to prevent that from happening. Your licensed cosmetic acupuncturist will work with your body and its natural processes to create smooth blood, lymph and emotional flow to help you reach a level of optimal health.

Results of treatment

Cosmetic acupuncture has been shown to treat signs and symptoms affecting the face, such as neuralgia, palsy and atrophy. In addition, cosmetic acupuncture has also been shown to improve collagen production.

Get in touch

If you are interested in receiving all-natural, pill-free and non-toxic cosmetic acupuncture treatment in the Denver area, feel free to book an appointment. If you have any questions about general acupuncture, cosmetic acupuncture or anything else, please book a free 15 minute phone consultation to see if acupuncture is right for you. Feel free to check out other blog posts, including “Redness on the face: What does it mean?” And “How to minimize your pain response to acupuncture.”


David Matsumoto and Paul Ekman (2008) Facial expression analysis. Scholarpedia, 3(5):4237.

David Ramey DVMPaul D Buell PhD. Wiley Online Library: A true history of acupuncture, 14 June 2010,

Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD. News-Medical: Acupuncture History.

Published by Healing Acupuncture Co.

Acupuncture clinic that specializes in balancing mental-emotional health, treating low back pain and cosmetic rejuvenation.

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