It's said to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

By Faith Brar
Jamie McCarthy/GettyImages

You're probably familiar with acupuncture treatments for pain, sleep problems, digestive issues, and even weight loss. But ICYDK, cosmetic acupuncture is also a thing. The no-surgery, no-chemicals approach to anti-aging promises to improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. That’s why celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow have long touted what is dubbed the "acu-facelift" on Instagram—and now, Ashley Graham is the latest A-lister to experiment with the procedure.

In a recent video, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and body-positive activist showed herself lying down with several needles stuck in her face. "Just doing some well-aging acupuncture," she said while moving the camera so you can see every angle of her face. (Related: Ashley Graham Swears By Colon Cleanses, but Are They Necessary?)

Cosmetic acupuncture is a holistic anti-aging alternative to Botox or other invasive procedures, says Stefanie DiLibero, a licensed acupuncture practitioner and founder of Gotham Wellness. As scary as it looks, it's relatively painless, she explains.

Here's how it works: Practitioners find facial acupuncture points and create micro-injuries using tiny needles, DiLibero tells Shape. These injuries then stimulate your body to create an immune response that increases blood flow, enhances the production of collagen, and reduces inflammation to give you a more youthful appearance. (Related: Are Collagen Supplements Worth It? Here's Everything You Need to Know)

While the procedure itself varies from practitioner to practitioner, for the most part, it lasts about 60-70 minutes and involves 20-40 needles, says DiLibero.

"Just like saying you practice yoga could mean anything from you lie on the floor and meditate to you do speedy gymnastics in a hot room, there are different cosmetic acupuncture styles and techniques," she says, adding that it's important to see someone who is licensed and specifically trained in cosmetic acupuncture. (See: I Tried Cosmetic Acupuncture to See What This Natural Anti-Aging Procedure Was All About)

While the overall goal is to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, the main result people tend to experience from cosmetic acupuncture is a bright complexion. "It doesn’t give the same results as a facelift or a thread lift, but the needling helps to enhance the health and function of the skin and muscle tissue, builds collagen through micro-injury, and increases circulation to the tissue,” explains DiLibero.

Given the procedure's benefits, it makes sense why Graham and other celebs would voluntarily stick a bunch of needles in their face. But if that's not exactly your cup of tea, here are 5 science-backed ways to get glowing skin from the inside out.



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