If the algorithms on your Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and so on have learned that you’re into skin care, you probably see constant posts and ads about the latest and greatest skin care trends that claim to revolutionize your skin. But how many of these actually work and how many are just a bunch of hot air?
That’s a bit too much to bite off in one blog, but let’s talk about one particular trend that’s absolutely everywhere: gua sha.
What Is Gua Sha?
While it only became popular in the mainstream aesthetic world recently, gua sha isn’t new by any means. It originated in traditional Chinese medicine, with the earliest medical records of it appearing around 700 years ago but it’s believed that it has been practiced since far earlier.
Gua sha is, essentially, a type of tool-assisted massage that involves using specially shaped stones or metal instruments to massage your skin in precise ways. It’s very similar to a “muscle scraping” technique that’s often used by physical therapists and sports medicine physicians too.
Gua sha is highly versatile, with benefits for many areas of your body. It’s often used to enhance healing and reduce tension. For our purposes, though, I’ll specifically be talking about gua sha for the face.
Is Gua Sha Safe?
Generally, yes, gua sha is a very safe and gentle treatment whether you do it yourself at home or have it done by a professional masseuse. The only side effect is usually mild temporary redness.
The exception is people who have medical issues related to their circulation, including those with diabetes and those who are taking blood thinners. It’s best to talk to your doctor first.
Does Gua Sha Actually Work for Your Skin?
Here’s what everyone wants to know: is there actually a benefit to gua sha for your facial skin? The answer is yes, absolutely! In fact, gua sha can help your skin and your appearance in several ways.
Enhanced Blood Circulation
Gua sha is an excellent way to enhance your blood flow, including the microcirculation within your skin. This matters because your blood brings your skin the oxygen and nutrients it needs, so enhanced circulation means a healthier, brighter, more youthful complexion.
We’ve all woken up with puffiness under our eyes a few mornings (okay, maybe more often than not) or had puffiness elsewhere throughout our face. Gua sha is an excellent way to tackle it. The massage technique helps your body drain excess fluids and cellular waste, reducing that puffiness.
Reduced Muscle Tension
You often don’t notice muscle tension in your face until you intentionally relax it, but for many of us, it’s always there. Your facial muscles can become tense from using the same facial expressions over and over, as well as from added stress like grinding your teeth at night or clenching your jaw.
As a massage technique, gua sha can help to relax these muscles. This can help you soften your jaw line and potentially reduce fine lines that are forming from muscle tension.
Tips for Facial Gua Sha
There are many spas and aestheticians that offer gua sha either as a service of its own or as part of a facial, but you can also incorporate gua sha at home into your skin care routine. If that’s the route you’re planning on going, keep these tips in mind.
The motions of gua sha may not seem complicated but it’s still not a good idea to wing it. You need to apply the right amount of pressure, massage in specific directions, and so on. There are countless videos online of gua sha techniques to do for specific areas or concerns, so check them out and use the techniques that suit your goals and concerns.
Choose Your Complementing Products Wisely
One of the most important parts of gua sha is applying a facial oil or lotion. This allows the tools to glide along your skin rather than creating unwanted tension on the skin.
To get the most benefit from your routine, choose a lotion or oil that’s designed to help with one of your specific skin care concerns. For instance, if you want to protect against sun damage and brighten your complexion, a vitamin C lotion could be the way to go.
Less is More
I know you want to see an improvement in your skin as quickly as possible, as we all do! But with gua sha, going overboard won’t help. Your face has thinner muscles than other areas of your body, so the pressure needs to be gentle. It’s typical to see some mild pinkness on your skin, but if you feel any amount of pain, you need to ease up.
Keep It Clean
Like anything else that touches your skin, from pillowcases to makeup brushes, gua sha tools can spread bacteria if you don’t clean them regularly. Make sure you clean them with a quick sanitizing spray after each use.
Giving Your Skin the Benefit of Hundreds of Years of Knowledge
Gua sha as a technique has been used and perfected for hundreds of years, and it can be a fabulous addition to your skin care and self care routine. Just take your time, do your research on the best ways to use it for your goals, and start enjoying the results!