April 14, 2010. 2:32pm
Santa Barbara Independent
WHO. WHAT. NOW.
Acupuncture Face Lift
By Shannon Kelley
The Face-Lift of the Ancients
Everyone wants to look young. But not everyone is willing to go under the knife. Or the needle—especially when that needle comes loaded with chemicals or, you know, poison (yes, botox, I’m talking to you). But there’s another kind of needle that’s being wielded to fend off the effects of Father Time, and licensed acupuncturist Patricia Pilot believes her hair-thin needles are powerful enough to get women to stop resorting to such drastic, unnatural measures altogether. Canadian-born Pilot is enthusiastic and passionate, although she describes her foray into acupuncture school as somewhat accidental—she was visiting her mom, looking for warmer climes, and, well, one thing led to another. (She also has her mother to thank for her remarkably light touch, a side effect of years of using her über-sensitive mom as a guinea pig.)
After the four years of the intensive schooling required to earn her acupuncture license, her announcement that she wanted to focus on anti-aging work was met with scoffs from her teachers. Pilot went for it anyway, and, upon meeting her, I promptly decided it was a good move: Her skin is perfect. And her philosophy makes perfect sense: The itty-bitty needles she uses on the face wake up the skin and its underlying mechanisms. As Pilot says, “It’s like, ‘foreign invader!!’” And the body deals with it accordingly, sending all sorts of healing energy its way.
The needles themselves stimulate collagen and elastin production, while lifting and toning muscles, diminishing wrinkles in the process. In addition to the facial acupuncture, her “face lift” treatment includes an ancient Chinese herb mask, which calms redness and evens skin tone; a jade roller lymph treatment, which helps to diminish puffiness and bags; a pearl powder mask, which stimulates collagen and treats sun and age spots; Tui Na facial stimulation and acupressure, which improves circulation and detoxifies; and a Gua Sha treatment, which further detoxifies. Everything she uses is meticulously sourced.
While a treatment or two won’t give you the same results as Joan Rivers’s surgeon’s scalpel might (um, thank god), she said her clients report a lot of what’s-your-secret?-type comments from friends. Being the intrepid reporter that I am, I decided I should probably see for myself. The nearly two-hour treatment was simultaneously relaxing and energizing. A scar leftover from a youthful indiscretion (college-era eyebrow ring—though I hasten to add that this was the late ’90s, I was totally ahead of the curve) gave Pilot a chance to practice a new passion: scar treatment, which she’s beginning to use—to dramatic effect—for those who have more serious scars. She threaded needles all around the scar, and, by the next day, its appearance was significantly diminished—as were any number of fine lines, which paired well with my sparkling eyes and glowing skin. But don’t take my word for it: I ran into some friends the next day. “You look great!” they said. “Did you do something to your hair?”
Pilot takes appointments at Skin Essentials in Montecito, and makes house calls, too.
To book, call 636-6522.