Let Strange Cups Suction My Face So I Could Get That “Natural Glow”

Every day I utilize daily, I use my Clarisonic for my daily facial cleansing. I clean my face using an all-in-one cleanser. 3 in 1 cleanser and apply an alcohol-free tanner, an alcohol-free toner, and a light layer of moisturizer. I have had a facial a few times in my life. I also sometimes attempt “revitalizing” or “firming” masks for my face. Only recently did I purchase the blotting paper to eliminate the extra oil I produce after a long day in front of my computer. If I have a pimple, I know that Mario Badescu’s lotion for drying will eliminate it, although I will usually let it disappear by itself.

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“When are you getting Botox?” my friends regularly inquire, and suggest I test the injectable neurotoxin as if it was just as easy (and cost-effective) as stopping at Target to buy toothpaste. I am not looking to prevent wrinkles. However, I am interested in achieving that mystical, maybe-she’s-born-with-it glow that companies promise with one spritz of their product (talking about you, La Mer). Therefore, I decided to do facial cupping only after researching.

 Traditional glass cups are used for Lavenita within N.Y.C.


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What is cupping, anyway?

According to what the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health describes, the term “cupping” refers to the old Chinese method of treatment where a practitioner puts suction cups shaped like domes (typically made out of glass) on the skin.

Based on New York-based Acupuncturist Shellie Goldstein MS, acupuncture can boost blood flow, reduce inflammation, increase lymphatic drainage, treat digestive issues, reduce acne, and relieve chronic soreness or pain.

Think of it like a deep-tissue massage, one that Goldstein says produces hyperemia and hemostasis–scientific words that describe what happens when freshly oxygenated blood enters the tissue. In general, cupping is done on the back or around large muscles.

 Back cupping. Yes, that is an image of palm trees.

And what about facial cupping?

In recent years, stars such as Kim Kardashian and her go-to dermatologist, Jamie Sherrill, have started applying cupping to the face. This type of cupping is similar to gentle massage that uses tiny suction cups. “It can be a natural alternative to cosmetic surgery or Botox,” Goldstein says.


A shot of it could boost your complexion while smoothing wrinkles, lines, and puffiness, as per Goldstein. Additionally, it is praised for its claims to tighten facial muscles that are sagging, decrease sinus congestion or headaches, and aid those suffering from TMJ disorders (a.k.a. temporomandibular joint disorder that can cause discomfort). It is also not hurt since it simply does feel good.

We need to talk about those “bruises.”

You might have seen Michael Phelps’ enormous, painful-looking “bruises” at the 2016 Summer Olympics during the 2016 Summer Olympics, where he attempted cupping (as most athletes practice) to ease muscle tension. However, do not fret: they are not actual bruises, and it is not likely (though it is not impossible) to leave with the same scratches. According to New York-based acupuncturist and cosmetic therapist Lorraine Lavenita, the most important thing to avoiding shadows is to ensure that the cups used for cupping do not remain pressed against the skin for more than a minute at a time. The spots indicate an absence of blood flow to the region.

When you do traditional back cupping like Phelps, the aim is to create something known as “sha,” which is when the fibrous tissue of the fascia is in the cup, which could reduce capillaries and boost circulation. In the process, it leaves the skin with marks, says Lavenita. I have had back cupping before, and I did not suffer from any blemishes on my face.

If you are worried about “bruising,” remember not to target a particular muscle or relieve tension anywhere on your skin; ensure that the cups do not stop moving. Lavenita recommends asking your doctor about the procedure and trusting an acupuncturist rather than other doctors.

When I was finally ready to try it, I went to an expert.

You can experiment with cupping from the convenience of your own at home by using an inexpensive DIY kit; however, I chose to make Lavenita an appointment at her studio named after her in Manhattan in which her cupping in her acupuncture treatment is priced at $175 per session. She also addressed many of the questions I asked about the DIY trial.

  Me at Lavenita’s studio. ‘

I will not lie: trying cupping with an acupuncturist, licensed or esthetician, became my preferred method, and it took less than a half hour. At first, Lavenita sprayed the skinny coating of Dr. Alkaitis’s nourishing treatment oil onto my freshly cleaned face to ensure the suction cups she employed could easily glide across my face. “You do not want to do this on dry skin,” she said, explaining that I should begin with a clean slate (do not apply moisturizer) because you are moving many lymphatic fluids around. She suggests using organic Jojoba argan, olive, or argan oil for the best glide.

It was genuinely relaxing that I did not have to focus on the precise direction of Lavenita’s movements. She began by placing small cups around my jawline, lips, and forehead; then, she used larger ones to place on my cheeks. There were times when I heard an odd sound as the cup was released as she moved it upwards.

 The cups are tiny. Lavenita is used to do facial cupping.

“This process allows the cup to act as a vacuum, which gets the fascia to relax–something we don’t really get in daily life,” she explained. The cup felt like the way your head scratched feels–relaxing. When it was done, she advised me to wash off the oils on my face and continue with my day.

Indeed, I did not notice any significant difference following. I noticed my skin was more taut for around 24 hours, but not because I applied the pore-erasing filter in FaceTune. Minor blemishes, as well as bloody marks, were still visible on my face. Although I do not have wrinkles, I did not appear as a teenager after cupping, though it was ridiculous to imagine that I would.

An alternative to Botox? I am still determining. Another method of polishing? Totally. I suggest doing facial cupping with a professional before an event of significant size, such as a wedding. It will boost your confidence and will help you feel calm. Refrain from appearing like a completely new you.

Then, I tried cupping at home.

Since I planned to do this alone, Lavenita advised me to hold off for two days before attempting to cup again, as it is hard to know how a person’s skin reacts. “You can literally cup every day if you want to, but first, wait and see what happens,” she advised me. When I was prepared, she told me to stay away from the neck and throat areas as the pressure from every suction could damage the arteries and cause the formation of a blood clot.


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