Any excuse for some needles in the face and I’m there: Botox, tear trough fillers, Profhilo, microneedling – you name it, I’ve tried it. But I realised there was one skin-puncturing technique I hadn’t yet experienced: cosmetic acupuncture. In the ancient art of Chinese medicine it’s believed that the face (including the ears) is a “microsystem,” with certain areas linked to organs in the body.
“The treatment is very much based on traditional acupuncture,” explains the managing director of Waterhouse Young Clinic, Anna Silsby. “It works by stimulating organs to give the body a full reset, while at the same time increasing the skin’s microcirculation for a brighter, more lifted complexion.” And it’s not just the boost in microcirculation (delivering oxygen and nutrients to the skin and removing toxins) that your skin will benefit from. “Any puncture tricks the skin into the natural healing process," explains Anna, "which in turn stimulates collagen and elastin production.” Aka: the two things necessary for plump, youthful-looking skin.
I went along to The Waterhouse Young Clinic to try cosmetic acupuncture for myself. Anna started by asking me some health and lifestyle questions, then taking a closer look at my skin. Although I don’t have any dramatic signs of ageing (cosmetic acupuncture is particularly good for treating this), she agreed that I could benefit from its general brightening effects after months in lockdown.
The treatment took place on a special Seqex bed, which emits a low frequency pulse-electromagnetic field, believed to reduce inflammation, pain and oxidative stress. Whether it achieves this or not, I found it extremely relaxing - a sensation that's so subtle it's almost impossible to explain (don’t get too excited, though – it'll put you back about £4000 to buy one of these beds!)
Anna started by cleansing my skin, then began popping the needles in one by one. She started with a few longer ones in my ears and under my chin, then worked her way upwards. I ended up with about 60-70 needles in my face – none were particularly painful, just a sharp scratch as it pierced the skin – more noticeable around bony areas such as the cheekbones, eyebrows and hairline.
Once they were in, a sheet mask was placed over the top of the needles and a jade roller run gently over them. I know, this part sounds traumatic, but it was actually the most relaxing part of the treatment and I came very close to nodding off.
Once the needles were out, Anna cleansed my skin again and followed with some facial cupping, using a small plastic cup to suck onto my skin before running it along the surface to further boost my microcirculation.
I was surprised by the instant effects of the treatment. I expected the healthy glow, sure, but there was also an noticeable tightening effect – my face looked instantly more contoured. “The number of treatments recommended depends on the individual’s skin,” Anna tells me, “but ideally six treatments one week apart to prolong the effects.” The glow from one session lasted the good part of a week for me, but my skin still looked generally improved weeks later. What I loved most about the treatment was that it combined skincare and wellness - offering a 360º approach that left me not only with better skin, but feeling calmer and more centered than I had done in a long time...
A single treatment of cosmetic acupuncture at Waterhouse Young Clinic costs £200. A course of 6 costs £1000.
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