Facial Acupuncture: Benefits, How It Works, & Side Effects

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Vindhya L Veerula, MD, FAAD
Written by Ramona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach

Facial acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicinal technique that has been practiced for thousands of years. This healing technique supposedly improves your well-being and health by balancing the energy that runs through you. A decrease in breakouts and fine lines, as well as an improvement in overall tone and texture, are some of the benefits of facial acupuncture. If you are looking for a powerful anti-aging treatment with few adverse effects, facial acupuncture may be the way to go for you.

But, it is also crucial to be aware of the adverse effects of facial acupuncture so that you know what is coming and can physically and mentally prepare for them. Keep reading if you want to learn more about this procedure!

What Is Facial Acupuncture?


If you are familiar with the process of acupuncture, you have already won half the battle. Facial acupuncture is a cosmetic extension of the traditional practice of acupuncture. It is considered to be a safe alternative to botox. In this treatment, the practitioner inserts very fine needles into specific points on your face. The needles that are used on the face are different from the needles that are used on the body. Facial needles are exceptionally fine and are only half as thick as a hair strand.

This cosmetic treatment improves your skin’s texture, makes it smoother, reduces signs of aging, and makes it look younger and healthier. It improves the external appearance and overall health of your facial skin.

Scroll down to the next section to find out what happens during a facial acupuncture session.

How Facial Acupuncture Works And What To Expect


Note: It is better to go for full-body acupuncture (including the face) instead of facial acupuncture. This is because acupuncture optimizes and harmonizes the energy flow in your body. If you only opt for facial acupuncture, the energy flow may get congested and restricted to your face. As a result, you may experience discomfort and headache.

Now, let’s talk about how facial acupuncture is done. Once your full-body acupuncture procedure is over, the therapist performs facial acupuncture.

  • The acupuncturist uses very fine needles to puncture your facial skin.
  • They may insert about 40-70 tiny needles at specific points on your face.
  • These needles are inserted at various depths to create wounds. These wounds are also called positive microtrauma.
  • The acupuncturist may move or twirl the needles.
  • The needles are removed after 10 minutes while you are lying still.

When your body senses a wound, it responds and starts repairing the wound immediately. It sends collagen building cells to the wound’s surface to make up for the collagen loss. In other words, the natural healing process of your body is triggered by the strategically placed needles in your skin. This helps in improving your skin’s elasticity and minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

To put it simply, it’s like pressing the reset button on your skin. It offers a ton of benefits that will make your skin glow. Check them out in the next section.

Benefits Of Facial Acupuncture


1. It Improves Blood Circulation

The tiny wounds that facial acupuncture creates boost blood circulation to your skin. Blood carries nutrients and collagen to your skin’s surface. This helps to improve your skin’s texture and makes it look radiant and glowing.

2. It Reduces Fine Lines And Wrinkles

When the needles are inserted into your facial skin, collagen production is triggered to cover up those wounds. This reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and makes your skin glow. Acupuncture optimizes your overall health internally, which reflects on your face.

3. It Improves Your Muscle And Skin Tissues

Acupuncture stimulates the skin and muscle tissues. It claims to tone your facial muscles to make them firm and improve the appearance of sagging skin.

4. It Works On Acne

Acupuncture practitioners also claim that this procedure reduces the appearance of acne, blemishes, and age spots.

5. It Improves Skin Elasticity

A study conducted in South Korea examined the effect of facial acupuncture on skin elasticity. The study involved 28 female participants, out of which 27 finished the study. They underwent five sessions of facial acupuncture over the course of three weeks. Out of 27, 15 subjects claimed to experience an improvement in skin elasticity (1).

Just like every other skin care treatment out there, facial acupuncture comes with its fair share of risks. Before you try it out, check out the risk factors involved in this procedure.

Potential Side Effects And Risk Factors Of Facial Acupuncture


The common side effects of acupuncture include:

  • Minor bleeding
  • Soreness
  • Redness
  • Bruises
  • Pain

You should avoid acupuncture (both facial and full-body) if:

  • You have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners. In this case, the chances of needle bruising and bleeding are very high.
  • You have a pacemaker. Certain acupuncture procedures that involve applying mild electrical pulses can affect the functioning of your pacemaker.
  • You are pregnant. Facial and whole body acupuncture is not recommended for women who are trying to conceive or are already pregnant. Some forms of acupuncture can induce labor in pregnant women, which can lead to premature delivery.
  • You have uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.

What’s next? If you are worried about how to take care of your skin after your acupuncture session, here’s the answer.

Post-Facial Acupuncture Care


No, you don’t have to lock yourself inside your home, avoid the sun, or stop doing your regular work after getting facial acupuncture. Taking care of your skin after facial acupuncture is very simple. Make sure that:

  • You keep yourself hydrated and drink lots of fluids.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, and have a balanced diet.

That’s it!

The results of acupuncture may vary depending on your age and lifestyle habits. While some people may notice immediate results, others might take more time and multiple sessions to see any results. You need to be patient.

There is no empirical evidence to prove the benefits of facial acupuncture. However, you will find plenty of anecdotal evidence from people who have tried this method and found it helpful in minimizing skin issues. It is said to minimize signs of aging and promote blood circulation. If you wish to give it a try, it is best to consult a doctor to understand whether the treatment is suitable for you or not. Also, consult a trained acupuncturist to understand all the aspects of the treatment and then go for it. This will help avoid further complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is facial acupuncture better than microneedling?

It all comes down to personal preferences. Nevertheless, both techniques work their holistic wonders in noticeable and appealing ways. Time is one of the most significant distinctions. Acupuncture depends on needles staying in the same area for around twenty minutes, whereas microneedling utilizes tiny, super-fast pinpricks to the skin. In addition, acupuncture only treats the places where an energy blockage is perceived, but microneedling addresses the entire face.

Can you wear makeup while getting facial acupuncture?

It is okay to put on light makeup and avoid heavy creams or moisturizers on the day of your treatment. However, there are no other strict preparation protocols to follow.

Can facial acupuncture remove eye bags?

Facial acupuncture improves blood circulation and reduces dark circles, puffiness, and sagging eyelids. In addition, your face will be revitalized from within.

Key Takeaways

  • Facial accupuncture helps tone and improve your facial muscles and skin texture.
  • Done with microfine needles, it is a safe procedure with anti-ageing benefits that helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Minor bleeding, soreness, or pain might be some of the initial side-effects of facial acupuncture.
  • You should avoid acupuncture if pregnant, have any bleeding disorder, or use a pacemaker.


  1. Effect of Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture..”, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
The following two tabs change content below.

Dr. Vindhya L Veerula

Dr. Veerula (Dr. V) is a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology, a Fellow of the American Academy of... more