The Benefits of Cosmetic Acupuncture

Cosmetic acupuncture is a non-invasive treatment that involves using acupuncture to improve skin and fight the aging process. Sometimes referred to as an "acupuncture facelift" or "facial rejuvenation," cosmetic acupuncture often is used as an alternative to surgical facelifts and other conventional procedures said to reverse signs of aging in the skin.

Proponents claim that cosmetic acupuncture can help reduce wrinkles, diminish fine lines, remove age spots, and lift droopy eyelids. Most courses of cosmetic acupuncture treatment involve 10 or more sessions, as well as additional sessions for maintenance of results.

Woman undergoing acupuncture treatment, close-up
Getty Images/Rayman

How Acupuncture Works

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture has long been used to improve the flow of vital energy (called qi or chi) throughout the body. This vital energy is thought to circulate through invisible energy lines which are known as meridians.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, health problems occur as a result of blockages in the flow of vital energy. By inserting needles into specified points along meridian lines, acupuncturists aim to restore the flow of vital energy and, in turn, improve health.

How Cosmetic Acupuncture Works

Cosmetic acupuncture is purported to improve skin and act as an anti-aging treatment in part by stimulating the production of collagen (a protein that acts as a major component of your skin).

As you age, your skin's inner layer loses collagen and, as a result, becomes less supple and firm. However, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that acupuncture can promote collagen production.

Some proponents also suggest that cosmetic acupuncture can help rejuvenate your skin by improving your overall energy.


Although research suggests that acupuncture may offer a number of health benefits (including reduced stress and management of problems like chronic pain and depression), there is currently a lack of scientific studies testing the effects of cosmetic acupuncture.


Acupuncture is generally considered safe when administered by a qualified practitioner. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, acupuncture may cause serious adverse effects (such as infections and punctured organs) when not delivered properly.


A number of natural remedies may help improve skin and possibly offer anti-aging benefits.

For example, ceramides (a type of fat molecule found naturally in the top layer of your skin and used as an ingredient in skin-care products) may protect against aging-related dryness in the skin.

In addition, preliminary research suggests that applying white tea to the skin may fight the breakdown of collagen and elastin (a protein that supports skin's elasticity and plays a role in the prevention of sagging).

There's also some evidence that natural substances such as argan oil, borage oil, and sea buckthorn may offer moisturizing benefits that could help improve skin.

A Word From Verywell

While there's no evidence that cosmetic acupuncture can improve your skin, it's possible that undergoing acupuncture can help manage your stress and enhance your overall health.

If you're considering using cosmetic acupuncture, make sure to consult your physician first.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.