Cosmetic Acupuncture
Published on March 22, 2017
by Dr. Caitlin Gordon

Cosmetic Acupuncture

Published on March 22, 2017 by Dr. Caitlin Gordon

Cosmetic AcupunctureCosmetic acupuncture is my new favorite discovery. I’ve long pseudo-joked that I would botox my frown lines. Despite being an acupuncturist, and understanding the theory behind why cosmetic acupuncture works (I will explain below), I was skeptical that it could truly yield good results.  So, as with most things, I experimented on myself. I started with 1-2x week on my deep frown lines between my brows. After 6 weeks, my boyfriend pointed out that they looked better… and he was right. They DID look better! They were much softer and shallower. Another three weeks passed and they continued to improve. I went from needing to wipe makeup out of them nearly every day to never needing to. Interestingly, I find myself frowning less too.

After being convinced, I started researching and learning how to best perform cosmetic acupuncture. I got trained in cosmetic acupuncture injections. This involves injecting small amounts of saline into wrinkles or sagging skin. It works in a similar mechanism as acupuncture, but with quicker results.

About that mechanism…

How does Cosmetic Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture needles cause a micro-tear in your skin. This micro tear prompts your skin’s healing response. What does skin use to heal? Collagen! Your skin makes more collagen, circulation is improved, and your face does a better job of fighting off the factors which cause aging– free radical damage from stress, sun, diet, etc. Increased collagen and circulation means faster cell turnover and plumper skin, better tone in the muscles, smoothing of fine lines and wrinkles, and more even skin color. Increased circulation and lymph flow also oxygenates your skin, resulting in a brighter more vibrant complexion, reduces bags and puffiness, and minimizes dark circles.

What to Expect

cosmetic acupuncture by boulder acupuncturist caitlin gordonAcupuncture needles are very small, solid, thin, and flexible. They are inserted into wrinkle lines and into muscles that are involved in causing wrinkles. The needles are inserted very shallowly. Your first session will be 90 minutes and include a full health history and overview. Follow Up appointments will be 60 minutes. You will need between 10 and 15 treatments to see good results. The younger you are, the faster you will see results. Because acupuncture is stimulating your skin’s production of collagen, younger skin makes it faster than older skin.  I recommend spacing them out 2x week for most people, or 1x week for 35 and younger. These results last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on how well you treat your body. Lots of hydration, a clean diet, restful sleep, and low stress will keep your skin looking smooth and toned longer. I incorporate body points as well to help regulate digestion, lower stress, and balance hormones, all of which help your skin look its best.

Beware of the 4 S’s

Sugar, lack of Sleep, Sunshine and Stress. These are the 4 biggest factors in breaking down collagen in your skin, which leads to signs of aging– loose skin, wrinkles, dark spots, broken capillaries.

Why Bother with Acupuncture when there’s Botox?

Botox and other popular fillers are going to give you results faster. However, there are risks. Botulism is very toxic. You risk muscle and nerve damage as well as poor results–lumps, bumps, weird tugged skin. Results are shorter lasting, at best 3-4 months. There is some evidence that the body metabolizes fillers quicker the more frequently you are injected, which makes for progressively shorter lasting results. There are studies coming out indicating that the muscular freezing effects of injections like Botox cause brain changes and affect the way we interact on an emotional level. That’s a little scary if you ask me. Cosmetic acupuncture yields natural-looking results because we are stimulating your own body’s production of collagen while boosting circulation.

Does it Hurt?

Facial acupuncture points feel similar to body points, which means for the most part, no. Some points pinch for a second when they go in, but nothing continues to feel unpleasant for more than a very brief moment. Cosmetic acupuncture injections are more uncomfortable. Depending on the part of the face the pain ranges from very mild to moderate. It is certainly no more uncomfortable than botox or cosmetic fillers, and much safer.

Side Effects & Risks

Cosmetic acupuncture is one of the safest ways you can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. There are no harsh chemicals that you might react badly to, and you get the added perk of helping your entire body enjoy better health despite the focus being cosmetic. Occasionally an acupuncture point may cause a small bruise. Redness after your treatment may last up to 3 or 4 hours, at most.

What Does it Cost?

Cosmetic acupuncture injections cost 160$ per 60-minute treatment, which includes a full acupuncture session (110$ value). A package of 10, costs 1400$, saving you 200$. Standard facial rejuvenation cosmetic acupuncture (without injections), costs 150$ per 60-minute session, and a package of 10 costs 1300$, saving you 200$.

Where Do I Sign Up?

You can receive cosmetic acupuncture or cosmetic acupuncture injections in Boulder. Schedule an appointment online, call 303-997-8746, or email us at

Learn More

Why Facial Rejuvenation Works
Hold the Chemicals, Bring on the NeedlesNY Times Article
Cosmetic Acupuncture Better Value than Botox


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