Authors: Kathryn Anne G. Cembrano, MD-MBA, Janina Eliza T. Poa, MD, DPDS, Genevieve Tan-Torres, MD, FPDS, CMA


Introduction/Background: Previous studies on cosmetic acupuncture have shown promising results in decreasing skin wrinkling. However, histologic measurements documenting these changes have not yet been done.

Objectives: The study aims to determine the effect of short-term acupuncture sessions for facial skin in terms of decrease of appearance of rhytides.

Methods: This open-label, single-arm pilot study was implemented at St. Luke’s Medical Center Quezon City from April 2016 to July 2017. There were ten patient volunteers, comprised of five males and five females aged 40-60 years. Patients received once weekly acupuncture sessions for ten weeks. Outcome measures were based on an eight-point photographic scale from baseline and comparison of measurement of histologic changes through skin punch biopsy.

Results: P-values for the eight-point photographic scale ratings were (0.157, 0.655, and 0.083), (0.414, 0.083, 0.157) and (0.518, 0.608 and 0.257) for each dermatologist and thus, were not statistically significant. Hence, there was not enough evidence to say that the ratings were significantly different from baseline. At 5% level of significance, the changes in epidermal thickness of the patients pre- and post-acupuncture were not significant. There was, however, a noted significant decrease in the mean and median scores of dermal thickness measurements across all three dermatopathologists.

Conclusion: In conclusion, ten weekly acupuncture treatments is well tolerated and may be considered as a safe alternative for facial rejuvenation. Despite not having any significant changes demonstrated clinically through the eight-point photographic scale, there was a statistically significant change seen in the dermal thickness histologically post-treatment. Further large-scale trials are recommended to evaluate acupuncture’s effects.





Acupuncture, rejuvenation, rhytides



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