Acupuncture the non-surgical face-lift

Facial acupuncture treatment, dubbed “non-surgical face-lift” has grown in popularity over the past few years.

“Ten years ago, the alternative was Botox, fillers and all that stuff. Now, 10 years after, people are looking for alternatives to Botox and fillers. This is the only treatment that would be as effective,” said Shali Rassouli, a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine and a specialist in cosmetic acupuncture.

Rassouli, the first acupuncturist to practice the technique in Canada, charges $125 per one-hour session for the treatment, which usually requires 10 to 12 visits.

Rassouli has trained more than 500 others practitioners from Canada, the United States, and Australia since 2000.

Acupuncture, which has been used for more than 2000 years, involves stimulating certain points on the body, known as “qi” with needles, heat, pressure.

According to Rassouli, who may insert between 25 and 75 needles on the face increase the circulation and stimulate collagen production, which fills in wrinkles, tightens sagging skin and eyelids and brightens a dull complexion.

Rassouli also uses acupuncture to treat cellulite.

“Why choose this over Botox? It’s a worry-free treatment. There are no side effects. And you’re doing something beneficial internally too,” she said, noting that pressure points on the face effect other parts of the body such as the kidney and spleen.

A 1996 report in the journal of Clinical Acupuncture reported a 90 per cent effective rate among 300 people treated with cosmetic acupuncture. But the Western medical journals have not yet reviewed the research and many Western doctors remain skeptical.

Michael McGuire, a plastic surgeon based in Santa Monica, California and vice president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons said cosmetic acupuncture may show results on a short-term basis.

“I would say that there conceptually could be benefits from acupuncture in causing people to relax, or if they have pain, it might be effective in reducing painful stimuli, both of which would improve their appearance, simply by causing them to relax,” he said.

“Relaxing obviously decreases frowning. It decreases scowling. It decreases squinting. And those are all line-producing activities that people do better without.”

But McGuire said he disagreed with claims that acupuncture actually increases the body’s collagen production, which can make skin fuller, more elastic and younger looking.

“People think of making more collagen sounds like a good thing that’s going to prevent ageing, but that’s not really the case,” he said. “It’s not the normal collagen that’s being created. It’s scar collagen.”

More than 8 million Americans use acupuncture for different ailments, according to a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and millions more in Canada rely on a variety of alternative health treatments to supplement their health care.

Reuters Life

While you are sleeping

Your skin can’t tell the time. Just ask your dermatologist. That means you can wear a night cream during the day and a day cream at night. The basic purpose of any moisturiser is to protect the outer layer of the skin, making it soft and less likely to crack. This physical barrier helps prevent moisture from evaporating; a process that happens all the time.

However, during sleep, when your skin is not being influenced by sunlight, pollution and stress, is a good time for skin to repair itself. Just as you need sleep, your skin needs downtime to de-stress. So you can wear a good basic cream, day and night, and if your skin is oily, you probably don’t need to apply anything at night.

Dermatologist Dr Leslie Baumann, chief of the Division of Cosmetic Dermatology at the University of Miami School of Medicine, concurs: “Oily types do not need a night cream unless for a treatment such as to reduce inflammation or to get rid of dark pigmentation patches.”

In general, the less chemicals you put on your skin the better, so it’s best to avoid the ingredients you need during the day but not at night, such as those in sunscreens, while you’re sleeping.

For sensitive skin, sleep can be a welcome respite and a chance to combat the inflammation that can be caused by make-up and sunscreens. Look for calming ingredients, such as oat extract and wheat germ, to reduce redness. La Prairie Cellular Night Repair Cream has soothing ingredients to reduce redness and irritation.

Sleep is the perfect time to use active ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C, which break down under UV light. Retinol also causes sun sensitivity, so it makes sense to use it when you’re not exposed to the 
sun. Retinol is one of the few ingredients that dermatologists agree can repair 
damage and stimulate collagen production.

“It’s the only thing that treats wrinkles you already have,” Dr Baumann says.

L’OrĂ©al Paris Revitalift Night and RoC Retin-Ox Night are two products using retinol derivative, along with vitamin C, to boost firmness and smooth out wrinkles. Products such as RoC Retin-Ox Night and Origins Night-a-Mins also contain mild exfoliating ingredients so that skin feels smoother in the morning, ready for make-up.


Night is a good time to repair the damage caused by the sun. Antioxidants such as idebenone, vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 and green tea containing antioxidants may help prevent new wrinkles from forming, says Dr Baumann, while ingredients such as ceramides and fatty acids (including hyaluronic acid, found in Shiseido’s Benefiance range) help trap moisture and repair the skin’s protective barrier. Clarins Renew-Plus Night Lotion and Clinique Repairwear Lift Firming Night Cream contain antioxidants along with retinol.

Dr Jeannette Graf, author of Stop Aging, Start Living, says, “While you sleep, blood 
flow to the skin increases, the pH level decreases and the protective barrier is weakened. These ingredients work best under these conditions.”

What you have for dinner can affect your skin while you sleep. According to Dr Graf, the primary source of lowered pH levels in the skin is caused by diet. At the cellular level, excess acidity (low pH) slows regeneration and prevents cells from protecting themselves against metabolic damage. This leads to a dull, ashy complexion and premature wrinkles.

“Acid build-up comes from foods you already think of as unhealthy,” says Dr Graf, “such as animal proteins and refined sugar. Alkalising foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.” 
Dr Graf says your dinner plate should contain three-quarters alkalising foods to one-quarter acid-producing foods.

Night is also the best time to fade pigmentation caused by the sun or hormonal imbalances. Ingredients such as hydroquinone, kojic acid and licorice extract help to fade spots and freckles but make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Clinique Even Better Skin Tone Corrector and MD Skincare Hydra-Pure Radiance Renewal Serum contain ingredients such as ascorbyl glucoside (a form of vitamin C) and salicylic acid to lighten pigmentation.

The main enemy of fresh, radiant skin is simply poor sleep. According to research by Elizabeth Arden, more than 60 per cent of women experience problematic sleep, which compromises the skin’s ability to repair itself, leading to fine lines, uneven skin tone and dull, dry, tired-looking skin. The company has formulated Prevage Anti-aging 
Night Cream to aid the process, using idebenone, the latest star player in the anti-ageing battle. (Dermatologists love this new antioxidant because it appears to work.)

Getting enough of the right kind of sleep is also important, according to sleep researcher Dr Delwyn Bartlett of the Australasian Sleep Association. “The skin repairs itself in slow-wave or deep sleep,” Dr Bartlett explains. “When you’re in a state of slow-wave sleep, you secrete growth hormone, which repairs damaged cells.”

Some creams also use fragrance to aid restful sleep. Creating a ritual of preparing for bed by massaging with a delicately scented cream can help aid healthy sleep habits. LancĂ´me Primordiale Optimum Nuit has a pleasant scent to help you 
sleep and also contains a polymer to help skin deal with temperature changes during the night.

To be effective, a cream must contain active ingredients in sufficient concentration and these must penetrate the skin and stay there long enough to have an effect.

Dr Daniel Maes, senior vice president of research and development for EstĂ©e Lauder, believes you shouldn’t wait until just before bed to apply a night cream. He helped develop the antioxidant product Advanced Night Repair, which has been a top seller since 1982. According to Dr Maes, you should apply night products as soon as you get home, to help you de-stress from the day and give the ingredients maximum time to take effect. “By applying products well before midnight, it gives the active ingredients a full eight hours to penetrate your skin and work their magic before dawn,” Dr Maes says. And there’s nothing like a full eight hours to make you feel fabulous the next day.