Facial Acupuncture"Beauty From The Inside"
Cosmetic acupuncture is flavour of the month at
the moment and certainly gaining in popularity.
Recently the amount of interest and number of
requests for this treatment in my practice has
encouraged me to offer cosmetic acupuncture
in my clinic. The clinching factor for me was
that although obviously a beauty treatment,
cosmetic acupuncture still relies on firm
Chinese medical principles, and
diagnosis led treatment.
In other words treatment is approached in exactly the same way as it would be for any other condition.
What Makes Up the Skin?Your skin consists of, the epidermis and dermis, plus other structures related to the hair and nails. The epidermis is the top layer of the skin and has up to five layers, reflecting different stages of cell development. The epidermal cells start to divide on the basal cell layer (the bottom layer). As they develop, they move up through the layers, producing the protein keratin, and will eventually disintegrate, leaving behind a layer of keratin held together and protected by fat molecules.
The function of this keratin layer is to give the skin its tough, resilient nature. Dead skin cells are lost from the surface of the skin. It takes around 35 days from the beginning of cell division to cell shedding. Abrasion of the skin surface can speed this process up.
The dermis is the bottom layer beneath the epidermis. Its main function is to provide physical and nutritional support to the epidermis. The dermis consists of bundles of the protein collagen (and to a lesser extent, elastin), blood vessels, lymphatics, nerves, muscle fibers, mast cells, tissue macrophages, hair follicles, and sweat and sebaceous glands. Cells in the dermis provide a structural support for the skin (the extra cellular matrix or ECM). Collagen provides the tensile vigour of the skin, while the elastin gives the skin its suppleness and flexibility. Unlike the epidermis, the dermis does not constantly shed and re grow. Collagen and elastin have longer life spans and regenerate very slowly.
Importantly for acupuncture practice, wounding of the skin can cause a transient regeneration of the dermis.
Skin AgingAging, put very simply is changes in the structure of the skin. With age, the rate at which skin cells are replaced slows down, and cells may be lost quicker than they are replaced. As a result the skin becomes thinner and more susceptible to damage. The fat cells beneath the dermis begin to deteriorate leading to less plumpness in the face. Habitual facial expressions such a frowning and squinting form deep wrinkles over time. Gravity makes this worse leading to eye bags and jowls. As we age our blood vessels also become less efficient and there may be less oxygen and nutrition supplied to the skin. Collagen and elastin become scarcer and the skin can sag and be more prone to wrinkles. Our skin becomes more prone to dryness and flaking as our sebaceous and sweat glands work less efficiently to provide us with sufficient protection. The effects of things such as cigarette smoke, alcohol and stress all begin to take their toll and conspire to speed up the aging process.
Exposure to sun is one of the prime causes of premature aging. Sunlight damages the fibres of collagen and causes the production of damaging enzymes. In women another factor is the decline in oestrogen that comes in middle age. This can lead to wrinkling and increased dryness of the skin, poor wound healing and weakness of skin tone.
What can acupuncture do?Cosmetic acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely fine needles in various points on the face, neck and body with the aim to combat the signs of aging. Points are selected by observing the face for where the skin may be lacking tone and where there might be wrinkles. The treatment of the face is very often combined with body acupuncture to treat underlying imbalances and symptoms.
Acupuncture facial rejuvenation treatment, tightens the pores improves muscle tone and dermal contraction while enhancing and increasing the elasticity of the skin
Although no scientific studies have been conducted into facial enhancement acupuncture, based on what we know of acupuncture we can hypothesise that it improves local blood supply, stimulates the production of collagen by creating micro wounds in the dermis, relaxes the muscles and helps to relieve stress.