The Real Deal on Facial Cupping
The first time I heard wind of facial cupping, I immediately had a terrifying vision of hickie-like marks taking over my face, which in my opinion sounds a whole lot worse than a few zits on my chin. You’d think the same, as many have come to know the ancient eastern medicine practice—which is said to promote circulation and tension-relief—from the circular purple bruises on Olympic swimmer Michael Phelp’s bod. But thankfully, facial cupping promises the exact opposite visual side-effect for your face.
Instead of bruises, this treatment works to increase blood flow and circulation to leave you with glowing, radiant, decongested skin. And like traditional cupping, it's nothing new.
"Face cupping has been dated back to ancient times for improvement with the health of your body," says celebrity facialist Ildi Pekar, who works with celebrities and supermodels like Lindsay Ellingson and Miranda Kerr and offers this treatment for $300 at her New York City-based spa. "We now use this special technique during our facial. With cupping treatment, we are able to control blood movement in the face, which can help with detoxing and delivering a refreshed glow."
Pekar says that often, gray, dull skin is the result of a lack of circulation or stimulation and toxin stagnation under the skin. The cupping theoretically creates a blood flow that allows the esthetician to guide nutrients to the surface of the skin and draining toxins away.
To experience it first hand, I headed over to Pekar's spa to try it first hand. To begin, she cleanses the skin and uses an enzyme peel to exfoliate and create an even skin texture. Then, she uses a magnetic therapy machine to open up the lymphs and separate the skin cells to promote deeper penetration of products. Next, she gently drags a facial cupping device, which is much smaller than the cups used on the back but varies in size, across the face. And again, you won't have to worry about those hickie-like marks.
"It doesn’t leave bruises on this facial because we keep the cups moving, controlling blood movement and transporting toxins away from the surface to be drained through your lymph system," she says. It kind of feels like a vacuum is sucking up your skin, but there's no pain. Finally, Pekar ends her treatment with a rhythmic face mask that imparts vibrations to the skin.
After looking in the mirror, I noticed immediately that my face looked less puffy (she actually showed me one side of my face before starting on the other) and areas of my face like my chin and between my brows were less inflamed and blotchy. Redness can occur from the cupping, but it usually fades within a few hours. The next morning, my skin felt firm, smooth, toned, and glowy.
However, it should be noted that depending on where you go to get facial cupping done, the process and results may differ. There's also at-home kits on the market, but if you're not familiar with the steps or are a trained professional, it might be a good idea to seek out the advice of a facialist or dermatologist.