THE truth ABOUT facial CUPPING |

5 mins

THE truth ABOUT facial CUPPING

Facial cupping is becoming increasingly popular on social media. Ellen Cummings speaks to the experts to find out how to do it and what benefits it can have for the skin

Cupping is an alternative therapy that uses suction cups made from glass or silicone to stimulate the skin – you may have seen celebrities touting its benefits on social media, alongside images of their bruised backs. The less extreme treatment of facial cupping is also doing the rounds on TikTok, with tutorial videos receiving thousands of views.

“Cupping uses suction cups to stimulate the skin and muscles. It can increase overall skin health and has been known to tighten and tone the skin,” says Dr Usman Qureshi, a cosmetic doctor and founder of the Luxe Skin by Dr Q clinic in Glasgow. “The suction works like a vacuum, pulling the blood up to the skin’s surface; this increases blood flow to the area of skin underneath the cup, which promotes the formation of new blood vessels.”

The negative pressure from the cups also creates controlled microtrauma in the skin, similar to microneedling, according to Sakina Di Pace – an acupuncturist, massage therapist and founder of The Facial Cupping Expert, who also offers facial cupping courses for professionals.

Describing the effects of cupping on the skin, Di Pace says, “More oxygenated blood flows to the area, collagen and fibroblast production are stimulated, and the skin cells are encouraged to reproduce. The suction also releases fascia adhesions of the multiple layers of the skin which is a fantastic way to improve the lymphatic and energetic flows.”

Getting it right

To get the most out of facial cupping, preparation and tools are crucial. Smaller and softer cups should be used in facial treatments compared to the more robust cups used for body treatments, and skin should be cleansed prior to carrying out facial cupping – but don’t try it on dry skin without any kind of lubrication because you’ll risk causing damage.

“I recommend prickly pear seed oil, but you can use any other non-comedogenic oil,” says Di Pace. “If you use serums, creams or lotions with lots of active ingredients, apply them before your facial oil because cupping will help the absorption of all these ingredients. It’s a win-win.”

In terms of technique, Dr Qureshi says the general rule of thumb is to always use the cups horizontally rather than dragging down the skin.

Di Pace explains, “Each facial cupping session should start by stimulating the lymphatic system by opening up the nodes lower down the neck and collarbone. Then slide the bigger facial cups over the jawline, cheeks and forehead from the midline towards the outside of your face where lymph nodes are located. You can then move on to the eye and lip areas with the smaller eye cup. The skin under the eye is very fragile, so never slide the cup here, only squeeze and release it.”

It’s crucial to keep the cups moving and to apply oil generously to avoid any marks like the ones you might have seen in back cupping, where the cups remain stationary.

Risks can come from facial cupping not being carried out correctly. Di Pace explains, “The most common mistakes I see are people not applying enough oil, which would result in the facial cups not being able to slide easily and therefore irritating the skin.”

It also turns out that you can have too much of a good thing. “Another mistake I see is overdoing facial cupping,” says Di Pace. “Either doing it too often (more than three times a week) or repeating each stroke too many times. I also see people using the wrong technique under the eyes, or over the neck. This could damage the thin skin under the eye and disturb blood flow in the neck area.”

Client suitability

Facial cupping’s ability to stimulate collagen and fibroblast production means it’s great if visible signs of ageing are a concern, and it also aids in lymphatic drainage, which can help relieve swelling by moving fluids around the body. “Not only that, but facial cupping has been known to tighten and contour the jawline, chin and skin on the neck,” adds Dr Qureshi.

Di Pace says facial cupping can also help with health conditions such as chronic sinusitis, Bell’s palsy, headaches and trigeminal neuralgia (a sudden, severe facial pain).

Of course, beauty professionals would carry out a consultation beforehand to ascertain any contraindications, but people carrying out their own facial cupping at home might not be aware of the potential risks.

Dr Qureshi says, “You shouldn’t use the cups on any direct veins or any skin lesions. Cupping should also be avoided on active breakouts, open wounds or on sites of deep vein thrombosis.”

“FACIAL CUPPING can WORK MIR ACLES when done properly, but you can also DAMAGE THE SKIN if you don’t follow a protocol from someone WHO IS TRAINED”

Di Pace adds that facial cupping should be avoided if a client has “very thin skin that bruises easily, rosacea, open wounds, sores or burns, a history of allergic reaction, multiple moles in the treatment area, or skin cancer”.

Facial cupping is also not advisable for clients who have recently had filler or botulinum toxin injections because the suction can move their position under the skin. Di Pace suggests that people should wait three to four months after having filler or botulinum toxin injections to carry out facial cupping in those areas.

Supporting your services

“Any other treatment that will increase blood circulation and cause microtrauma to the skin will have similar or more enhanced results, depending on the treatment,” comments Qureshi.

Facial cupping can be a good supplementary treatment for clients to maintain the effects of other treatments they receive from professionals in salons, spas and clinics, provided clients exercise caution to ensure they don’t overdo it and damage their skin.

With the right protocol, facial cupping is safe and requires minimal time and resources – so it can be a simple add-on to other treatments and facials, and can be a great teaching opportunity for beauty therapists to educate clients about how to easily take care of their skin at home.

This article appears in February 2023

Go to Page View
This article appears in...
February 2023
Go to Page View
The news that beauty salons are keeping our British high streets alive
Beauty salons keeping British high streets alive, as focus shifts to experiences
We take a look inside PB’s digital world
Our exclusive monthly benchmarking stats for each sector of the market
While January may be the month to make New Year’s resolutions, February is the time to see whether these changes have really stuck
Although honing your skills as a nail tech is a key part of being successful in the industry
STELLAR service
With customer service crumbling in the retail and hospitality sectors, could the excellent care provided by salons and spas be the key to their survival?, asks Hellen Ward
ASK THE experts
Our beauty experts answer your questions about every aspect of running a salon or spa business
PERFECT Partnership
Treatwell is the firstever headline sponsor of the Professional Beauty London show. Here’s what Treatwell has in store for visitors
The nail industry icon tells Kezia Parkins the secrets to her social media success, and how her clients are helping rebuild her confidence after the pandemic
Spa spending
Thermal features and pools are key to spas in 2023, but rising energy costs are making them more expensive to run. Lollie Hancock finds out how to cut costs without compromising on quality
Meet the BRANDS
Discover the latest launches and exclusive show discounts available at PB London in our guide, organised by zone to help you plan your day
INVEST IN education
Professional Beauty London 2023 will feature a stellar line-up on the conference and live stages programmes. Here’s what’s in store
IN IT to win it
Looking to raise your profile as a nail tech or make-up artist? Compete in the Nail and Make-up Competitions at PB London to cement yourself as one of the best in the business
Kezia Parkins asks three serial nail competition winners about their love for competing and how it helps build confidence and careers
Inclusivity is the right thing to do for both people and profits. The team at Shop Beautiful explains how the products you choose for your salon or clinic are key
THE truth ABOUT facial CUPPING
Facial cupping is becoming increasingly popular on social media. Ellen Cummings speaks to the experts to find out how to do it and what benefits it can have for the skin
Superpowers of ADHD nail techs
Kezia Parkins speaks to nail technicians with ADHD to find out how the condition impacts their work, creativity and mental health
Citrus ROOMS
Salon owner Gemma Yull tells Ellen Cummings how the design of her salons helps her run a successful business
Melissa Mitchelmore, spa manager at Glass House Retreat in Essex, shares her advice on how to choose the right product house and motivate your team through regular training
Spotlight on...LACTIC ACID
Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid commonly used in skincare. Ellen Cummings quizzes the experts to find out more about the science behind the acid and how it can be used in salon
Make-up Artist
For the third instalment of In the Kit, educator and ACH Aesthetics founder Andrew Hansford tells Lollie Hancock his five must-have products and devices
New face and body treatments to help clients achieve flawless skin and an all-over glow
Launches this month include serums, masks and make-up designed to relax, revive and rejuvenate
Cosmetic acupuncturist Athena Giralea explains how she got into the practice and why she thinks it can transform the beauty industry
Looking for back issues?
Browse the Archive >

Previous Article Next Article