When someone tells you they're about to place 80 tiny needles all over your face and that's a good thing, it's fair enough if you're not completely convinced. This is roughly where I was when I paid a visit to facial acupuncture expert and traditional chinese medicine pro John Tsagaris to willingly have needles stuck in my face.
Obviously I've heard of acupuncture, mainly from my parents switching between who needs it more because they've put their back out moving the new bbq/falling off a ladder/some other incomprehensible reason they've ruined their back, but I've never heard of it being good for your face. Until now. Well if it's good enough for Kim K, it's good enough for me.
So what does it actually do? Over to John Tsagaris...
“The skin is the largest organ in our body and is a two-way mirror guide to our inner health. Premature signs of ageing can be the outward manifestation of many conditions including stress, hormonal and nutritional imbalances.
Beauty Acupuncture Treatment is hugely effective, helping the skin to regenerate itself. Facial Acupuncture Treatment, is a non-toxic, skin restructuring and rejuvenating procedure, that unlike most beauty treatments, addresses not just the topical and superficial signs of premature ageing, but the true internal causes of aging, by stimulating and channelling the body’s own healing energy towards “repairing” the skin.
Acupuncture, a major component in Traditional Chinese Medicine, has an established, proven track record acquired of over six thousand years in practice use and is still a major part of modern medical treatment to this day in China. Acupuncture is the standard treatment choice to treat many pathologies and to help balance the body and maintain good physical and psychological health in general.
The use of ultra-fine needles, placed precisely at strategic acu-points on the body, modulates the physiology, manipulating the meridian channel network utilising and regulating the flow of the body’s vital energy.
The cosmetic Acupuncture Treatment is specially designed to also stimulate the skin’s self-repairing mechanisms bringing all its healing potential to the surface of the skin. The treatment triggers a cascade of crucial healing mechanisms. It increases oxygen flow, stimulates micro-circulation to nourish the skin and accelerates cellular waste elimination.
Additionally it stimulates special skin cells- fibroblasts, that lie deep within the skin, which produce new collagen and elastin - the key building blocks of the skin that are so crucial to the fight against aging. Increasing the levels of new collagen and elastin within the skin, dramatically improves skin tone, elasticity and gives the appearance of a more youthful skin and delivers a lasting cumulative effect.”
Ok cool, so how did it actually go down?
Pretty well actually. After arriving at the clinic on possibly Chelsea's most adorable road, I was welcomed in by John himself and lead upstairs to his office. No dodgy back alley procedures here, this was all plushy sofas, cream carpets and soothing spa music.
Starting my skin consultation John lived up to his reputation for being psychic (that's actually a thing) by stating that he felt I have low blood pressure before I'd even said anything. He was right. Eerie. After sticking out my tongue and chatting about my poor efforts at drinking water and why that's ageing me, John knew exactly what skin type I had and proceeded accordingly.
Accordingly meaning two needles in my wrists and ankles (he kindly left the room as I took my 80 deniers off) to address my 'weak constitution' which he could tell I had from the crack in my tongue. Who knew?
On to the actual facial and, after cleansing my skin and waving goodbye to all traces of makeup, it was needle time. Not that I really noticed, which I mean in a good way. Lightly pressing tiny needles into key areas of my face, John worked super swiftly so before I knew it I had 80 new pinholes in my skin. The most he's done? 'One person had 180, but their face was almost on the floor!'
But the pain? I get it, surely sticking that many needles in your face has to hurt. Well, not really. And I'm not some hardcore beauty gal that insists their tattoo didn't even hurt (FYI it did). Roughly the same amount of pain as plucking your eyebrows, each needle varied depending on how sensitive that part of my face was.
So, just as when you pluck your eyebrows some are completely fine, some make your eyes water beyond belief, and some make you sneeze (which is a little more awkward when you're a human hedgehog), the pain was pretty manageable and I almost forgot the needles were there. Just don't get so comfortable you get up to take an acupuncture selfie like I did…
Fifteen minutes later, needles removed and one of John's brand spanking new SkinPointEight sheet masks applied, it was honestly one of the best facials ever. And no, I didn't bleed to death.
The next day? I know it sounds ridiculous but my skin looked great. Plumper, firmer and my dreaded smile lines (I'm genuinely considering frowning more to stop these babies becoming even more crevasse-like) looked way less defined.
So would I do it again? Yes. Maybe not every other week but definitely every couple of months. Combining a great facial with something a little more extreme that's backed by science and good results feels like an ideal middle ground for those wanting something a little more than a good cleanse but aren't quite up for going under the knife. Also, those inclined to see a psychic, cancel. John knows what's good for you before you do.
What you don't want to look like...