Bronwyn Isaac
Updated Jan 25, 2018 @ 3:57 pm
Credit: Bronwyn Isaac / HelloGiggles / Anna Buckley / HelloGiggles

Acupuncture is one of the oldest medicinal traditions still being regularly used today, and for good reason. Whether you regularly swear by it or shriek at the concept of needles, millions of people have touted the health benefits of acupuncture. Many claim the Chinese tradition promotes increased circulation, pain reduction, reduced anxiety, digestive health, improved sleep, and even helps manage the side-effects of chemotherapy. So, given this impressive laundry list of benefits, it only makes sense to assume the treatment would improve skin quality and give your skin an overall glow.

So, when New York-based Dr. Sarah Emily Sajdak reached out to me about trying one of her Beauty Acupuncture treatments for an article, I was immediately on board. The concept for this specific treatment was born after Sajdak noted the disconnect between the organic food many of her acupuncture clients eat, and the poisons they expose to their skin (Botox was a particular example). Seeing a need, Sajdak developed an acupuncture treatment that combines traditional back acupuncture, the tried and true cupping trend Kim Kardashian is a fan of, and a focused facial acupuncture meant to improve circulation and promote a glow.

As someone who has never tried acupuncture in any capacity, I was deeply nervous and excited for the experience. Would it improve my skin?! Would I feel more energetic?! I had so many questions I was eager to answer.

When I arrived at the office the atmosphere was as cute and relaxed as I’d imagined, plus Dr. Sajdak was really welcoming, which calmed my nerves.

I filled out an intake form before the session started and we chatted about my family’s health history, as well as my personal anxiety and digestion issues.

Credit: Courtesy of Bronwyn Isaac

Whether clients are receiving Beauty Acupuncture or a regular back treatment, Sajdak likes to start each session getting a feel for what someone needs. Since I was ovulating at the time of my session, I had a few hormonal pimples on my chin. I told her I was hoping the session would help my skin purge the acne quicker, while also promoting better energy and less anxiety.

Here’s a photo she took of me right before the session.

Credit: Bronwyn Isaac / HelloGiggles

I was also bloated, so it was pretty much the perfect time to get the treatment. The vain part of me isn’t in love with this photo, but honestly, it’s key and the camera doesn’t lie.

I also took a selfie so you could get a close and personal view of my hormonal acne.

Credit: Bronwyn Isaac / HelloGiggles

You’re welcome.

The clothing situation for the session is basically the same as a massage. You keep yourself modest with towels but remove most of your clothing. Sajdak told me the treatment would start with acupuncture and a cupping session for my back, then she would move on to the primary focal point: my face.

For those unfamiliar with cupping, it’s the practice of placing glass (or bamboo) suction cups on your back to increase circulation. Given the similarities, it makes a lot of sense to combine acupuncture and cupping.

Despite my mild anxiety around needles, the acupuncture felt incredible and I was immediately able to relax.

Credit: Courtesy of Bronwyn Isaac

She placed needles all over my back, on my calves, ears, neck, and even a few in my head. I loved the sensation of the cupping and the wafting aroma from the essential oils diffuser. At one point, Sajdak referred to acupuncture as “forced mediation” and I thought that was an excellent description. As someone who has tried everything from yoga to meditation apps to get myself to chill out.

After my back session was done and I was lulled into a half-dream state, Sajdak gently guided me to the facial acupuncture treatment.

While this treatment was the whole point of the article, I’d be a liar to pretend I wasn’t nervous about the number of needles about to prick my face. However, the actual sensation was incredibly soothing. I could feel my circulation and energy getting a boost even as I was laying there. I don’t have any photos of myself during the actual treatment (since that would’ve been difficult for Sajdak while treating me), but I can only assume I would’ve looked peacefully dead.

When it was all finished, I felt a bit high.

Credit: Bronwyn Isaac / HelloGiggles

Sajdak said it’s normal to feel euphoric after acupuncture, and the increase in endorphins often mimics feelings of intoxication. Since it’s not pure magic, my acne didn’t magically disappear over the course of an hour.

My face looked pretty much the same afterward, but the boost in my mood and energy, and the lack of anxiety was incredible. I felt like I was glowing emotionally.

I felt completely peaceful for the entire day and into the next morning. My bloating went down the next morning, which could be a result of the acupuncture, or it could be attributed to my hormonal cycle. Either way, the treatment was a boost.

Credit: Courtesy of Bronwyn

To answer my initial question: does acupuncture improve skin?! I think I would need to get more than one treatment to decide. However, when it came to anxiety reduction and energy increase, this beauty acupuncture treatment was an immediate success.