3 Skin Rejuvenation Tips From A Top Facial Acupuncturist
We know that skin care, at its best, is holistic. You must look at the whole of your routine, health, and lifestyle to adequately understand, appreciate, and attend to your skin. This is why acupuncture tends to pair so well with skin care: The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) modality addresses the entire picture of your health.
This is especially true if you go to a facial acupuncturist specialist, like Debbie Kung, DAOM, L.Ac. The New York City– and Austin–based practitioner does what is called "facial rejuvenation acupuncture," which can address all forms of skin aging, from fine lines and sagging to texture.
"Facial rejuvenation, the whole idea of it is obviously to treat the outside, but we want to go deeper and treat the inside on an energetic level," she says. "It's investing in the future; it's not topical quick fixes, but it's lifelong and deeper. That's where true beauty lies."
Nutrition and supplementation
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"In Chinese medicine, we look at aging as a systematic process. Several factors are considered when aging, in variables such as lifestyle, constitution, and environment, which can translate into deficiency of chi, blood, yin, yang, and Jing. Chi, which is considered our life force, tends to naturally deplete as we age," Kung tells us.
This depleting energy, while a natural part of aging, can be eased with what you ingest. As Kung notes, eat plenty of dark, leafy greens ("you want to make sure you're consuming things that give you life," she says) as well as supplementation, like mindbodygreen's nr+.
"I had been doing research on nicotinamide riboside (NR) prior to taking mbg's nr+, as it's an active that's been gaining popularity by experts of many fields. We know that it turns into NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) in the body, and is a coenzyme that is required for mitochondria to produce energy,"* she says, noting that she takes it herself. By helping enhance your body's mitochondrial function, your cells can rejuvenate naturally—and more efficiently.*
"Rest and sleep is one of the most important things you can do. This isn't even tied to Chinese medicine; it's just a universal tip—we're all human at the end of the day," Kung says.
Research (both Eastern and Western) shows us time and again how important sleep is for the skin, as it is when our skin cells regenerate. This makes sense, as when we enter the REM cycle, our body goes through recovery in all forms, skin included. So if you skip out on an adequate night's rest, your skin can't go through this vital process—leaving your complexion dull and sallow.
It's also, Kung notes, essential to rest and recover because of daily stress: "Of course, a certain amount of stress is good for the body—but we're not properly built to withstand the amount of stress modern life puts on us," she says. "This will show up on the skin, be it stress wrinkles or acne."
Facial rejuvenation acupuncture
"In a world obsessed with youth and beauty, it's refreshing to know that there is an alternative to the unnatural world of Botox, fillers, and plastic surgery," she notes. "Cosmetic acupuncture stimulates your body's and face's own ability to rejuvenate itself naturally, holistically, and beautifully. This is a traditional way of facial rejuvenation and is considered an art form that has been used for centuries."
While every practitioner is different, Kung notes in her practice, she'll do a five-week intensive to jump-start the process consisting of two sessions per week. From there, she'll do regular sessions a month or, for some, only yearly.
"We start with the body, to ground yourself; if you do too much on the face, all your energy can rush to the head and you can feel faint. You want to balance it all out," she says. "Then you go in with the needles on the face, you are mimicking a small cut; so your body sends white blood cells, plasma, and collagen to the area to fix it. That's why it works so well."
We say it here all the time, but it is always worth repeating: Your glow comes within.
"In TCM, there's something called shen, and it's the energy you see off someone: It's a glow, a reflection, a shine," Kung says. "You can have 'poreless, perfect skin' and still not have shen; it's truly your inner beauty and health. So when you focus on facial rejuvenation, sure there's a cosmetic aspect to it, but it's really about more than that. It's internal.