Yes, The Acupuncture Face Lift Really Is As Good As You Think

As the A-listers’ treatment of choice, facial acupuncture is becoming the go-to therapy for glowing, firmer-looking skin. Here, NEWBY HANDS finds out why it’s so good and how you can ‘inject’ some of its benefits into your own skincare regimen at home – without any needles

Ashley Graham – one of the many A-listers who swears by the benefits of facial acupuncture

For a treatment that’s more than 3,000 years old, facial acupuncture is certainly having a moment. Jennifer Aniston, Ashley Graham and Kim Kardashian are all fans, while designer Norma Kamali tells me she’s been seeing the same practitioner once a week for the past 15 years – and if that’s why she looks so naturally youthful, healthy and supple at 76 years old, then book me in.

“We call it facial acupuncture and it’s become known for its lifting effects, [but] it works on your whole body,” explains Sarah Bradden, who has a three-month wait list for her famous lifting and sculpting treatment. “Traditional Chinese medicine treats from the inside out, so the health of the whole person – the organs, the blood and energy flow – is all equally important. When you make changes on the inside and get everything in balance, you have the best results on the outside, too.”

While Bradden inserts needles into the face and ears (it’s virtually painless), she also uses them all over the body. “It’s important to treat where’s needed. For instance, a painful elbow will be causing inflammation, which creates aging – but not just in that area.”

She also treats clients with reiki and reflexology, massaging your feet as the needles work their magic on your face. It’s this top-to-toe, inside-out approach that leaves you with an incredible sense of calm and a relaxed complexion after each session. However, while Bradden views the face lift as “a bonus”, it’s certainly a prevalent side effect – I particularly noticed it around my brows and, overall, my face seemed more defined and less puffy.

“On one level we’re treating the chi, or energy, and getting the flow and balance back in the body,” Bradden explains. “On another, the needles increase the blood flow to that area, bringing nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, tissue and skin.” It causes a micro injury, too – not unlike microneedling – “which works at a cellular level on the elastin and collagen”.

Acupuncture points can also be treated with acupressure, using the finger pads to press on a specific spot. “It’s something I do pre-red carpet for clients, as it’s great for that one evening,” says Bradden. “If you keep doing it, you can retrain the muscles; do it daily and you’ll see a more lasting result in a week.” Here, Bradden reveals the key points to press to achieve a daily face lift in just five minutes…

The brow lift

“Use your index fingers to work along the brow. First, press up and hold for a count of five on the inner end of the brows. Next, move to the arch of your brow, press up and hold, then switch to the outer end of the brow and repeat. Do it three or four times and you’ll see how quickly your muscles respond. It’s a good eyelid lift as well – and a great de-stressor, as we can hold a lot of tension here. If any of my clients are considering eye surgery, I get them to do this daily for six weeks. For those it hasn’t worked so well for, I send them to [oculoplastic plastic surgeon] Dr. Maryam Zamani.”

The cheek sculpt

“Again, using your index finger, press the point either side of your nostrils and work the fingers under and along the cheekbone to the ears, then repeat up to five times. We have a lot of lymph nodes here, so this helps to remove any puffiness while also creating lift. You can use one finger or two – whatever feels best for you.”

The re-energizer

“Put your index finger in front of the ears and your middle finger flat behind them [in a V shape] and rub the fingers up and down hard. It gets the heat and energy flowing when you’re flagging or [feeling] dull.”

The body booster

“We sit too much these days and we need to get our energy flowing more. Use your fingers, fists or a gua sha to tap up one side of each limb and down the other to get stagnant energy moving. This treats the body and the organs – and if you want great skin, you can’t separate the two.”

The calming influence

“Work on the third-eye point [between your brows] using your index finger to press or circle. It’s calming for the spirit when you’re stressed.”


The person featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown