Let's flash back again to 7th century China-
After a pleasant afternoon in the garden, it’s time to dress for dinner. You bathe in a bath of rose petals and relax a bit. You put on your finest silk robes and examine your face in the mirror.
Lately you’ve been noticing a few changes in your skin. It doesn’t seem quite as firm as before and those pesky lines between your eyebrows seem to be getting deeper.
Maybe it’s time for some gua sha.
Fast forward to 2020
After an afternoon working in your yard, you come in to get cleaned up. You take a quick shower while thinking about what you can make for dinner.
You haven’t been going out since the pandemic started so you really haven’t been looking in the mirror much.
But today you decide to take a quick glance.
Your skin doesn’t seem quite as firm as it used to and those pesky lines between your eyebrows seem to be getting deeper.
Maybe it’s time to give that flat stone tool your best friend gave you for Christmas a try. What was it called again?
Last week, we talked about the jade roller. It feels great, increases blood circulation to your skin and helps reduce puffiness.
But maybe you’ve been thinking you’d like a little more from your beauty tool.
There are two other tools I’m going to talk about. This week it’s gua sha and next week the dermal roller. Both have their roots in Asian medicine.
Gua Sha gives you everything that a jade roller does plus an instant lift. It’s done with a flat tool made of a natural stone (usually jade or rose quartz). Beware of cheap tools. Some are made of plastic or acrylic and are irritating to your skin.
With regular use, it will help your skin function better and become firmer.
The dermal roller helps stimulate collagen and elastin, and does some exfoliating as well. It’s more of a long term project than a quick fix. It’ll take 30-60 days of consistent use to see true results. We’ll dive into the dermal roller next week.
Today is gua sha day.
First some history
Gua sha is a very old technique that involves using a flat tool to scrape the skin. When used on the body, it helps eliminate pain and inflammation. It can be a miracle for hard to treat musculo-skeletal issues.
The down side is it leaves red/purple marks that are called “sha”. It looks a little like a road rash. Sha is considered a good thing, evidence that the stagnation causing the problem has been moved.
Facial gua sha is different
It's done gently and shouldn't leave marks.
When used on the face, you want the gua (in this case, very light stimulation) but not the sha. That’s right, no bruising or red marks.
Benefits of facial gua sha
I’ve heard of facial gua sha referred to as Eastern Botox.
This isn’t exactly true.
It won’t make expression lines like the “elevens” between your eyebrows disappear. It will make them softer, but unlike Botox, this effect will fade after a few days if you don’t gua sha consistently.
On the other hand, there is no injection and no potential side effects. And regular use of gua sha has other benefits.
Facial gua sha can:
- give your face an immediate lift
- rejuvenate, tone and smooth your skin
- smooth out wrinkles and fine lines
- relax facial muscles
- stimulate facial muscles, making them firmer.
- firm your skin with consistent use
- reduce inflammation
- reduce puffiness
- increase blood circulation so your complexion is more luminous
- detox your skin by helping with lymph drainage
- boost collagen
- combat dark circles and puffy eyes
- define your jawline
And, it’s a relaxing treatment that doesn’t take a lot of time. You can do it at home. Which is great because it works best if you do it at least 3 times a week. You can also do it daily.
Gua sha dos:
- Start with a freshly cleansed face.
- It will help work in your products in, so use your serum and moisturizer.
- You need some moisturizer or oil to give your skin some “slip” . Otherwise you’ll be stretching and pulling your skin. Definitely not what you want to be doing. I use a few drops of Raindrops-not a lot. You want slip but you also want a little bit of friction when you use the tool.
- Use the tool at as flat angle as possible and at light to medium pressure. Feather light pressure near your eyes.
The basic rule of thumb is that you work in one direction (no back and forth motion) and you work from the center of your face outward.
I don’t recommend using the gua sha tool on the front of your neck/throat. You have a lot of structures there that you don’t want to damage or overstimulate. Like your thyroid.
Check out the video below to see how to do facial gua sha.
Gua Sha Don’ts:
- Don’t use on your throat area
- Don’t use the edge of the tool on your face. You want as flat an angle as possible.
- Don’t use on open wounds or active breakouts.
If you have a skin condition like roasacea, eczema, etc. , don’t use gua sha when you’re particularly inflamed. You can use Gua sha very gently at other times and it usually helps. Proceed with caution and see how your skin reacts. Less is more in this case.
More radiant skin
When performed correctly, gua sha can have amazing skin benefits. You’re literally massaging your way to more radiant and healthy skin.