Like traditional acupuncture, “cosmetic acupuncture” involves the insertion of needles into the skin. Also called facial rejuvenation acupuncture, cosmetic acupuncture is believed to stimulate collagen and therefore reduce the look of wrinkles. They also claim that cosmetic acupuncture rejuvenates your skin by improving your overall energy and is a great addition to your overall wellness routine – at least, this is what enthusiasts want us to believe.

No surprise then that many consumers give cosmetic acupuncture a try. But what, if after paying for a session, you don’t notice any difference? What, if you even look worse than before?


Not at all! One of the few studies on the subject showed that about half of the clients complained of blotchiness and hyperpigmented spots.

Cosmetic acupuncturists are well prepared for this argument and claim that the treatment will take longer to show any results: “Most cosmetic acupuncture treatments are meant to be taken in a series, generally in a group of 10,” says DiLibero. “The effects of acupuncture are cumulative, so follow-up appointments are recommended.”

And what does the evidence tell us about the effectiveness of cosmetic acupuncture?

One study showed “promising results as a therapy for facial elasticity”. Another one “showed clinical potential for facial wrinkles and laxity.”

That’s great!

No, it isn’t; the studies were published in 3rd class journals and did not even have control groups. Sorry, but I don’t call this evidence. In fact, the type of study that merits the term has not emerged. In other words, cosmetic acupuncture is a swindle!

But at least cosmetic acupuncture is not harmful.


  1. It will cost you a lot of money because the therapist will persuade you that you need 10 treatment sessions or more.
  2. It can cause blotchiness and hyperpigmented spots, as mentioned above.
  3. It has been reported to cause extensive facial sclerosing lipogranulomatosis.

So, you want to improve your looks?

I am not sure what therapies work for this purpose. But I do know that cosmetic acupuncture isn’t one of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new blog posts by email.

Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.