This article contains images of acupuncture, including needles shallowly inserted on subject’s face.
It’s becoming increasingly common for celebrities to share not only their skin-care collections and routines on Instagram, but their treatments, too, posting videos mid-haircut or mid-facial. It’s not every day, though, that you get to gaze upon a supermodel as she wiggles a few dozen acupuncture needles placed in key spots on her face — like Ashley Graham did on Wednesday.
Graham visited Sandra Lanshin Chiu, licensed acupuncturist and founder of the Brooklyn holistic healing studio Treatment by Lanshin, for one of Allure executive beauty editor Jessica Chia’s favorite services, Facial Acupuncture Rejuvenation — or as Graham calls it in the video, “a little well-aging.”
Using “a customized combination of needles along with facial gua sha, we release the structures of tension and relax strained tissues to create a smoother, uplifted and sculpted appearance of your skin and facial features,” according to the studio website, which may explain why Graham seems to have needles inserted along areas that people are often looking to lift, like the cheekbones, brow bone, and jawline.
However, it doesn’t explain why Graham decided to bounce her face in such a way that all of the needles shook in synchronicity. Hilarious? Yes. A little nauseating if you’re not a fan of needles? Also, yes. But despite saying in the video that it hurts a little when she talks, Graham claims, “You’re supposed to move the needles.”
So, is that true? According to Miami-based acupuncturist and doctor of Chinese and integrative medicine Elizabeth Trattner, while she hasn’t seen anyone go about it the way Graham does in the video, “Wiggling the needles helps stimulate points, which helps create microtrauma and facilitate the production of collagen and elastin. Many cosmetic acupuncturists will stimulate by hand or with a magnetic device over the needle.”
As for the points where the needles were placed on Graham’s face, Trattner says some are points used in traditional acupuncture services, and some are extra spots believed to help cosmetically.
“The cheekbone and nasolabial points are a mix of traditional face points and other points that help reduce lines in the nasolabial groove. Some under the cheeks are traditional points, and some are used to assist and lift the cheek,” Trattner tells Allure. “The points around the nose help with sinus issues, stuffy noses, and allergies.”
She says the points around the eyes and over the brow can help open the eye and relax 11 lines between the brows. The needles in the temples help pull back the face and ease tension, and the ones under the jaw can help define the chin and neck.
Acupuncture can be a bit of a controversial topic among those who don’t practice Eastern medicine, and that’s especially true when it comes to cosmetic claims — though some dermatologists keep an open mind. “It is unclear whether it truly works for skin diseases or wrinkles. However, when done properly, there is little downside besides the discomfort,” says Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “If nothing else, the low levels of trauma to the skin from the needle stick itself will likely create a wound-healing process that stimulates collagen and strengthens the skin in that area.”
And while Zeichner won’t talk you out of acupuncture, he recommends supplementing the treatments with a topical retinol, an antioxidant serum, and sunscreen to ensure you’re giving your skin every possible advantage.