Several years ago, Corrine* came to me for cosmetic acupuncture. Corrine was was a pretty woman in her early fifties who wanted to look a little younger and wanted to try cosmetic acupuncture as a way of dialing back a few years.
Cosmetic acupuncture is a form of facial rejuvenation using the principles of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It works by increasing the circulation of energy, blood, and nutrients to the face through acupuncture treatments.
During my sessions with Corrine, I talked about diet and lifestyle habits that could either improve or damage her skin. In general, Corrine took really good care of her skin, using expensive products and getting regular facials. However, there was one topic that came up at almost every session–sun damage. Corrine liked to sit in the sun and get a tan.
Sitting in the sun for long periods of time is one of the most damaging things you can do to your skin. Getting a tan is your skin’s reaction to the assault from the harmful UVA and UVB rays. In fact, you could consider a tan the equivalent of a scab, as it is your body’s attempt to protect and heal from the sun’s damaging rays.
At one point during our conversations, Corrine told me that no matter what, she liked to tan and would continue to do so. At that point, a saying I had heard years before came to mind:
When you are in your twenties, you have the face you inherited. By the time you’re fifty, you have the face you deserve.
This was certainly the case with Corrine repeatedly damaging and aging her skin by sitting in the sun. It’s important to know, however, that this concept of having the skin you deserve can work in two directions. You can also take really good care of yourself, and it will show up as healthier, younger skin. It’s also important to know that the sun isn’t the only variable that impacts how you look.
Other factors that affect how your skin looks include whether or not you smoke, getting enough sleep, dealing with or eliminating stress, your diet and digestion, and the thoughts or emotions you hold in your heart.
A colleague of mine told me about a woman who came to her also for cosmetic acupuncture. During one session, the woman asked my friend if there was anything she could do about the deep wrinkles she was getting above her mouth. My friend replied that she noticed the woman constantly made a frowning expression that seemed to be causing or aggravating those wrinkles. The woman replied: “Well, I can’t go around smiling all the time!”
Remember, the face you deserve.
*Names and identifying details have been changed.