You might have seen face cupping treatment as a trending skin care innovation on TV, online, or in magazines; you might even be familiar with body cupping used in physical therapy, but does facial cupping work? To explore the homeopathic form of skin therapy, we sat down with our friend Rosie from Joy Skin Atelier to learn more.
Note that this interview has been edited for grammar and content.
Facial cupping overview
“[Facial cupping] is not different than cupping the body. It’s about concentrated blood flow in a certain area of the body or the face, and we’re talking about the face today. It creates a lot of circulation and blood flow, and the suction is different [on the face] because you want to be very careful that you’re not affecting the interstitial fluid that carries toxins. What you’re really trying to do is cup out all those toxins and get a lot of blood flow to the lymphatic system.
One of the misconceptions about facial cuppings is that people see cupping on the body, and they see the bruises, but on the face you want to be very gentle and keep the cup moving so that it’s not holding skin and tissue. You’re just lightly picking up the skin and gliding. You always want to make sure you have enough slide.
Cut an imaginary line down the center of your face. The third eye is normally where my starting point is, and you’ll start to drag up the skin and control how much you’re suctioning through your hands. You always want a spot with fatty tissue component, because that’s where you have a lot of blood flow. In the boney areas of the face sometimes the cup doesn’t adhere.
And that’s pretty much what it is. Literally stimulating blood flow.”
Where on the face?
“I target the entire face because I look at it as one entire system, one piece of the body. I’ll always start at the third eye and move up towards the back of your head—the crown, your crown chakra, so that you’re moving that blood flow out of the third eye. Then I either move out to the right or out to the left.
I normally tend to start on the right hand side no matter what I’m doing. I’ll then dump out to the ear. So I take [the cup] across, over the brow bone, and then over to the right side near the temple and try and dump it to the ear. I don’t move the cup inward—I want to move the cup outward all the time.
This way you’re dumping to the lymphatic system and the puddle of the neck; then taking it to your lymph nodes in your chest, and finally out to the armpits, which is really the main artery of where your lymph nodes are.
Facial Cupping Benefits
“It’s a treatment good for everyone—unless you have really active acne or are an oncology patient, then you need to be really really careful about stimulation, especially of the lymph nodes.
You get more of an even tone to the skin, and you just feel better. You even sometimes feel it more than you can see it because you’re treating your lymphatic system, which is an internal system. But you do see it because it gives a nice clarity to the skin. If you look gray, blotchy, or dull, this is gonna take all of that away. Especially paired with Poethique products, because they’re so PH balancing in itself, coupled with that good blood flow, you’re gonna look gorgeous. It’s especially good in the winter, when it’s cold and dull.
I intuitively cup. I do it if you come in and you have a lot of deep congestion. I never, ever do it on someone who has more active acne, because they’ve got enough stimulation going and it’s usually bacterial stimulation, although there is a component of lymphatic drainage that can be wonderful for acne, but that’s more manual. It’s good for people who live in polluted areas as well. Our skin ingests everything. Cupping in general is good for most people.”
Treatments to pair it with
“It really depends on the look of the skin, the texture of the skin. For me, if someone came in looking very clogged, very congested, very sallow looking, and just finished getting over maybe a cold, that’s when I try to go in and get rid of some of that stagnant blood that just sits there. Usually I decide what I’m going to do the moment I see you and feel your skin, because I don’t necessarily know what’s going on until I see and feel what you need.
I think this is a beautiful wake up morning ritual. Because you’re lying down for hopefully 8-10 hours, and you really want to get that blow flow, start to stimulate that skin so you start to get some circulation. I would cleanse with your Milk Cleanser, give it a really good rinse. Take a little bit of the Elixir, too, and apply it to the skin because you do want some slick to the skin. At home use a smaller cup because you can control them and then start the same way. It’s almost like jade rolling, you always want to move outwards. Always to the ends of the face, always to the sides. And then do one or two rounds of that. After that pump out on my chest, then go ahead and either petrissage the rest of the product it, or I’ll actually hard press it into the skin.
Even if you didn’t have any cups, you could even do some manual cupping with just a little pinching. Your fingers are the best tools in the world, I think.
You could do this every day in the morning. However, if you’re congested be very gentle because if you’re not doing it in the right order or in the right way, you can almost back up the congestion. Your sinuses are already stimulated and already congested, so you want to try and cause an anti-inflammatory effect. So being super super gentle would be the one caution if you have a cold.
It can also be a precursor to massage. When I pair it with massage a lot of times that’s what a lot of people need. They have a lot of jaw clenching, they have a lot of stress in the face area. It’s wonderful to get the lymphatic stimulation going first and then work the muscles after. First you work with the fluids, and then with the muscles.”
Anything else to add?
“One of the misconceptions about facial cupping is that they see cupping on the body, and they see the bruises, but on the face you want to be very gentle and keep the cup moving so that it’s not holding skin and tissue. You’re just lightly picking up the skin and gliding. You always want to make sure you have enough slick to prevent bruising. As long as you’re gentle, it’s a great addition to a holistic beauty routine you can do at home.”