The reason this form of facial massage has grown in popularity is because of its serious results. “You can make phenomenal changes to your own skin,” says Plug. “And you can give yourself a facial at home whenever you want without toxins, without chemicals, without having to constantly repurchase an expensive peel or mask.” Plus, it simply feels good.
Want to learn more about about Gua Sha and its benefits? Here’s everything you need to know:
Are there different kinds of gua sha tools?
Since gua sha's early beginnings, which date back to ancient China, people have been known to perform it with everything from spoons to horns to mason jar lids. Luckily, gua sha today is predominantly practiced with more therapeutic materials, like Bian stone, jade, or rose quartz.
“It really comes down to what stones people want to work with,” says Plug of all the options on the market. “You can start doing a gua sha practice on a budget without using the fanciest materials, but it is important to be aware that the market is being flooded with fake tools.” Using materials, like a dyed acrylic, has the potential to lead to skin irritation, so triple-check exactly what it’s made of before adding it to your Amazon cart.
Materials aren’t the only thing to consider either: Gua sha tools can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. While the most popular designs tend to look like a foot or a heart, Plug recommends you choose a shape that you feel the most comfortable holding.
Which gua sha should I buy?
What are gua sha's benefits?
Similar to jade rolling, gua sha activates your face’s different meridians, but as Plug explains: “The results don't even compare. It's like riding a bicycle versus driving a BMW.” Gua sha works deeper in the skin since it creates friction. This friction releases facial muscle tension and improves lymph drainage. The result is a brighter, clearer complexion.
“By increasing the circulation every day, we start to move those waste products out of the skin, which helps to clear out things like blackheads or breakouts. We see a reduction in hyperpigmentation too,” continues Plug. “Think of it as if your skin was made of glass and there's all this murky stuff beneath it. Once you clear that murk out, you can see that light finally shining through.”
Regular gua sha sessions can also improve firmness. According to Plug, her clients are amazed at how after fifteen minutes, one side of their face will be drastically tighter than the other.
What’s the best technique?
As you can see in Plug’s Instagram below, hold the gua sha tool so you’re getting as much contact as possible with its widest flat edge before you begin scraping the skin.
It’s important to start at your neck — it’s the bridge that brings all the circulation to and from your face. “If you are holding a crazy amount of tension in the neck that is going to inhibit circulation,” explains Plug. “Two major meridians from traditional Chinese medicine are also there, so I like to honor that tradition and get the energy flowing.” Then begin scraping the tool upwards, moving from the chin to the nose and cheeks to the forehead, using slow upward and out strokes.
Plug recommends practicing gua sha for a minimum of 10 minutes a day, three times a week. Do three to 10 strokes (anything over 10 could overdo it) on each section of the face, applying light to medium pressure.
Should I use skincare products during gua sha?
For the stone to easily glide over skin, it’s important to use an oil beforehand. “However, before you apply oil to the skin, hydrate it first. Otherwise, the oil just sits on top, and you feel greasy but not moisturised,” advises Plug (she likes using a hydrating tonic to prep skin). Afterwards, go ahead with your usual skincare routine.
Anything to look out for?
According to Plug, anyone with cosmetic injectables like Botox or filler should sit this skin treatment out: “Botox puts your skin to sleep, and the nerve function and the microcirculation is shut down,” she explains. “Whereas gua sha is working to rev all those things up, so it makes zero sense to do opposite actions.”
Practicing gua sha also makes a filler's effects wear off faster since the injections will metabolize quicker in the skin due to the uptick in lymph drainage and circulation. Other reasons to opt out? If you’re acne-prone, have an active breakout, or are dealing with rosacea— the pressure from gua sha could further aggravate any problems.
Via Women's Health.