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Everyone loves a good jade roller. But have you heard of its cousin? The gua sha. If you’ve already dived into the magic that is rolled jade on your face, then gua sha might be the next best thing for your skincare regimen. These hand-sized facial tools have recently been getting a lot of praise for their efforts in de-puffing, brightening, and promoting blood circulation. But what exactly is gua sha and how can we better understand its history/healing properties? We have outlined everything gua sha to get you started on a healthy and improved 2022 skincare regimen. 

What is Gua Sha?


Gua sha is a simple handheld flat tool, made of semi-precious stone used to massage the face. Although it might seem like a new fad entering the wellness world, it is quite the veteran. The act of gua sha-ing is actually dated back to a Chinese medical text on illness from BC 220. It is part of the Traditional Chinese medicine system and has a proven track record of increased circulation, detoxification, tight muscle relaxation, and healing. In fact,Gua means to stroke or press, andSha refers to redness. The redness that naturally occurs when scraping encourages the skin to heal itself. 

What are the Benefits of Gua Sha?


Originally used as a body treatment, gua sha has since been adapted to be used for facial therapies where its original scraping motion has evolved into a gentler gliding technique. The benefits are numerous and have been proven to help with a wide array of problems with consistent use such as: 


  1. Lymphatic Drainage 

Having a slow lymph system can cause puffiness, swollen skin, fatigue, acne, and numerous skin problems. Since lymph circulation is only possible through muscle movement or massage, using a gua sha is a great solution for lymphatic drainage. 

  1. Helps with cystic acne 

Gua sha is known to reduce acne flare-ups, redness, and acne size by moving congestion and improving circulation. For even better results you can also use your favorite acne medication while using your gua sha for better absorption. 

  1. Helps produce collagen 

Stimulating blood flow is incredibly beneficial for collagen production. And since gua sha promotes enhanced circulation it allows oxidized blood to travel up to the surface layers of the skin to nourish tissue and skin cells. This helps with increasing collagen and is considered a good alternative to Botox and fillers. As collagen production decreases as we age, gua sha is a great tool for fuller and sculpted skin. 

  1. Sculpts facial muscles 

Consistently using your gua sha has the potential to define your jawline and cheekbones. With time your face will start to look naturally contoured. 

  1. Lifts sagging skin & helps to reduce fine lines

In the case of sagging skin and wrinkles, gua sha does a great job with releasing tension. The cause of these problems is due to tension patterns that make the skin organize itself differently over time. By releasing the tension, gua sha can correct some of that. 

  1. Brightens and opens up the eyes

Gua sha practitioners will tell you eyes will really ‘come to life’ when you commit to a daily practice since it does a great job in treating sensitive skin under the eyes. It can also help to drain a droopy/hooded eyelid and relieve tension in between the brows to create a natural lift and give your eyes vitality. 

How to Use a Gua Sha


There isn’t really a one size fits all gua sha approach since there are many shapes and varieties of tools. However, there are some fundamentals to the process. 


  1. Make sure your gua sha is clean. You can even leave it in your fridge for an hour before for a nice cooling effect. 
  2. Cleanse your face and apply any face oils you normally use. Your skin will be slippery but it will allow the gua sha to slide easily and prevent unintentional pulling. For this job, face oils are better to use than serums simply because they are more slippery. 
  3. The best method is to use gentle pressure and apply even strokes against your skin – preferably in the direction of lymphatic flow. The goal is to remove excess fluid from the skin. Make sure to avoid excessive force on the skin since heavy strokes can lead to bruising, irritation and even broken capillaries. Your best bet is to use the flat surface of the tool as much as possible and keep your stokes going in an upward motion. You can watch videos for a better idea of what to dohere
  4. Practice this regularly, about 2-3 times a week to get those radiant results. Remember, the more you do it, the more intuitive you will become and the easier it gets. Stay consistent. 


How to Choose Your Gua Sha Tool


There are many types of shapes and stones used for gua sha. As far as shape goes, finding a gua sha that is smooth and rounded to fit the curvature of the area you want to treat is ideal. But, your best bet is to find a tool that has different angles and curves to provide you with more options, especially while you are learning how to use it correctly. 


When it comes to the material of the stone you also have many options. Some stones have antimicrobial qualities that make them well suited for certain facial techniques and others are better for strengthening muscle (like obsidian). Nephrite jade and amethyst are naturally cooling which helps to counteract the warming effect of the technique. Rose quartz is suitable for those with reactive skin because of its natural calming effects. And green aventurine is said to be suitable for those who are looking to mainly reduce wrinkles and encourage skin turnover. 


If you are unsure if your gua sha tool is well made, it’s important to know a natural material will be slightly heavier than a knock-off or hand-made one. A heavier tool will also help you achieve better results simply by being more substantial in your hand while you perform your technique and allows for your oils to penetrate better. 



The Takeaway 


Like most things, with consistent usage of gua sha you will see the effects you are trying to achieve. Be slow, gentle, and mindful with your practice. Think of it as a meditative process to your self/skincare routine. Try finding two or even three different gua shas with different shapes and materials to add some variety to your routine. And most of all simply have fun and honor the centuries-old tradition of gua sha.



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