Is acupuncture better than Botox?

Dr. Janet Zand

September 3, 2021

As popular as Botox is these days, many women don’t want to get it.

They’ve seen too many instances of Botox-gone-wrong, like frozen foreheads and elevated eyebrows. And the idea of injecting a toxin into your face to paralyze muscles can sound scary.

But what if there was a safe, effective alternative?  Well, as it turns out, there is!  And believe it or not, it’s acupuncture.

How It Works

As you probably know, acupuncture has been around for centuries. Used in traditional Chinese medicine, it can help treat body pain, headaches, and more. Acupuncture works so well, in fact, that it’s even covered under some healthcare plans.

And acupuncture can be used for anti-aging purposes, too.

But does it really make a difference? Well, most patients report brighter, glowing skin, with noticeable improvement in fine lines around the eyes and nose.

One study even found that patients’ skin had greater elasticity. Elasticity is your skin's ability to stretch and snap back to its original shape ... so that it doesn’t look saggy or crinkled.

So yes, lots of women are noticing great results with facial acupuncture. Of course, if you’ve never tried acupuncture before, you might be nervous about the needles, or just wondering what to expect.

What to expect

To begin, the acupuncturist will place tiny, painless needles on your face and your body. (It’s so painless that many patients fall asleep!)

Now, if it seems odd that the needles go on the body and not just the face, here’s why...

Unlike Botox, acupuncture addresses the health of your entire body, since what’s going on in your body will affect what’s going on in your face.

You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve ever eaten junk food and noticed your skin looked bad -- the face and body are connected! So the acupuncturist has to address the body, too, in order to support the facial acupuncture.

Once the needles are placed, they’ll start stimulating your lymphatic and circulatory systems. These systems work together to deliver nutrients and oxygen to your skin. (This extra oxygen is why patients notice a glow afterward.) The procedure will also stimulate collagen production, which boosts elasticity, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.

Afterward, you may notice immediate results: plumper, brighter skin. (And as a bonus, you might feel a lot better, too! That’s because acupuncture can help with anxiety, depression, and even insomnia.)

Now, while acupuncture can do some amazing things, it’s not right for everyone...

Who should NOT try it

If you have a pacemaker, are at risk for infection, have chronic skin problems, or are pregnant, acupuncture may not be right for you. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any specific conditions you have before trying acupuncture.

And if you’re in the clear, the next step is to make sure you’re choosing a licensed or NCCAOM certified acupuncture practitioner. You can also go to your state licensing board’s website to find certified practitioners near you.

So ... while acupuncture can’t paralyze muscles in your face like Botox, it’s a great option for anyone who wants a holistic way to get brighter, younger-looking skin. See if it’s right for you, and let me know how it goes!

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