Botox is not a new beauty treatment by any means. For decades, people have been turning to the injectable cosmetic to freeze wrinkles in their tracks with the temporary fix. Since spending serious dough (sometimes up to $1500 per treatment) might not be realistic for everyone, a more natural approach to improve the appearance of wrinkles — facial acupuncture — is on the rise. And it might be the next Botox alternative.
Facial acupuncture involves small, specialized needles that are carefully placed between fine lines, bringing blood flow to hydrate and heal the area. The more stimulation (AKA poking) there is, the more collagen is produced, which leaves the skin looking plumper and firmer than before. Ultimately, a trusted doctor and/or licensed technician should recommend which procedure is right for you and your skin, but here are a few things to keep in mind when considering facial acupuncture.
Does facial acupuncture just target wrinkles? While Botox and other injectables like Dysport and Xeomin specifically tackle fine lines and wrinkles, facial acupuncture can also reduce redness and treat cystic acne. “I’m seeing a lot of cystic acne rooted in imbalanced hormones, so I target points directly over the glands that produce hormones in the body, like the Third Eye, where the pineal gland resides,” Karinn Gallagher, licensed acupuncturist at Retreat Acupuncture in San Francisco, says. Once blood flow is increased in that area, the body regulates itself and begins the healing process.
Which method has longer-lasting results? If you want to see and feel results with the acupuncture method, know that you’ll need to commit to consistent sessions. Gallagher recommends patients have initial sessions twice a week — much more frequently than one using Botox injections — and then scale back once they achieve results to monthly visits. “Facial acupuncture rejuvenation is cumulative and lasts from three to five years after a course of 10 treatments with maintenance, which can be done on a monthly basis,” Gallagher advises. According to Arash Akhavan, dermatologist and director of The Dermatology & Laser Group in Manhattan, though, you can see more immediate results with Botox that’ll only last up to four months.
But how much does it cost? If you’re after the more cost-effective solution of the two procedures, facial acupuncture is it. “The cost of Botox would typically range from $500-$1500 per treatment, depending on the sites being treated,” Dr. Akhavan says. Facial acupuncture prices vary based on frequency. “An individual facial acupuncture treatment costs $160, including a health assessment, dietary and herbal feedback, needling, and facial massage. Follow-up appointments are reduced greatly in cost when one signs up for a package because it increases its effects greatly,” Gallagher tells us.
Are there any risks involved? Since you’re not actually injecting anything into your skin with acupuncture, there is less risk involved than with medication. “Botox is a medication and thus there are some inherent risks associated with the procedure such as allergic reactions, minor bruising, and the small possibility of temporary asymmetry or droop of facial muscles,” explains Dr. Akhavan. If you have sensitive skin, are prone to allergic reactions, and/or have a big event coming up, consider opting for the more natural wrinkle-busting approach — you don’t want to risk having any adverse reactions.
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