Gua Sha for the face – what is it and how to use it

Why you should add Gua Sha facial massage to your skincare routine

Green plate with three Gua Sha tools for face massage
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Facial Gua Sha is technically nothing new, but it is having a major moment in the beauty world, which is no wonder, as Gua Sha routines for the face deliver impressive results. Done consistently, Gua Sha facials work to improve the function of the skin, which helps with many skin conditions; Deep lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, rosacea, acne, acne scars, pigmentation, dark circles and puffiness. It retrains the muscles of the face, relaxing them, strengthening, lifting and toning.

However, the benefits extend way past aesthetics. Gua Sha facial massage promotes healthy lymph drainage by releasing toxins that have been stuck and ironing out the fascia (connective tissue) that is affected by tension, resulting in improved overall health and well-being.

Green jade Gua Sha facial massage tool

What is Gua Sha for the face

Facial Gua Sha is a form of gentle massage using a smooth object or flat stone. It was adapted from the traditional body Gua Sha massage technique used in traditional Chinese Medicine.

While Gua Sha bodywork uses intense pressure designed to stimulate blood circulation and chi to areas of the body needing healing, Gua Sha for the face applies light pressure yet firm sweeping strokes across the skin. This benefits the skin by moving the lymph and increasing blood flow and blood volume. It activates and promotes tissue healing by manipulating the fascia (the thin casing of connective tissue surrounding and holding every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fibre and muscle in place). Not only does this contribute to overall wellness by detoxifying, strengthening the immune system, and calming the nervous system, but it also significantly improves the appearance of the skin. Gus Sha for the face can also help unclog pores, tighten and firm the skin, reduce wrinkles, lighten hyperpigmentation and give the skin a radiant look as well as promote overall well-being and health.

How does Gua Sha work

Facial Gua sha tools are made from materials such as jade, bian, rose quartz and metal, and are shaped into smooth edges. Oil is applied to the face before the practice begins, allowing the stone to glide smoothly and softly over the skin in long, slow strokes.

Gua Sha facial massage tools

The Gua Sha tool is swept across your skin with gentle pressure, helping to boost blood circulation and promote lymphatic drainage. It works by stretching the fascia tissue, muscle fibres and the skin and opening up the lymph pathways to drain excess fluid (toxins and waste) build-up.

The scraping motion of Gua Sha techniques help release stagnation and move energy through the body. Stroking the skin’s surface helps promote blood circulation, improving oxygenation and cell nourishment. As a result, the skin will look plumper, firmer, brighter, lifted and more sculpted as puffiness caused by fluid build-up is removed.

What are the benefits of facial Gua Sha

Gua Sha is an effective method for those looking for a non-invasive facial treatment. When done properly, Gua Sha routines yield many benefits and impressive results that are guaranteed to make Gua Sha an important part of your skincare. Some of the benefits of Gua Sha include:

STAGNANT LYMPH IS ACTIVATED TO CLEAR OUT TOXINS. Gua Sha massages help to stimulate lymphatic drainage. Many lymph channels that help drain fluid, waste and toxins are located in the face, head and neck, which is perfect for using Gua Sha massage techniques.

The gentle sweeping motion of Gua Sha is fantastic for stimulating the lymphatic system and encouraging good drainage. Practising Gua Sha regularly helps to move and renew fluids, including blood and lymph. This improves circulation and clears stagnation. Good circulation of blood, vital fluids and life force energy can then be returned to your skin and tissues. In Chinese Medicine, stagnation of lymph and blood flow or Chi can be the root of illness. It can also be the root of many skin conditions and signs of ageing.

Two facial Gua Sha tools on black plate

PROMOTES COLLAGEN PRODUCTION. Stimulating the lymphatic and circulatory systems through facial Gua Sha can help increase collagen production. This increased collagen helps to firm up the muscles of the face and to fight against the loss of firmness, bringing an anti-ageing effect.

REDUCES SIGNS OF AGEING: Gua Sha may reduce signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles. We often hold emotion and tension in our faces. This can lead to tissue adhesions and cause lines and wrinkles. When we relax the face through Gua Sha and gently massage and release tension and tissue adhesions, we can smooth out these lines and release the emotions and tension behind them. Stimulating the circulatory systems increases circulation and blood volume and opens up channels for chi flow which also aids in plumping fine lines and wrinkles.

DE-PUFFS. Puffiness is usually caused by fluid accumulation due to toxins or excess salt in the body. Gua Sha can help move and drain this excess fluid and help remove toxins from the body. Thanks to this decongesting action, Gua Sha is very helpful in reducing puffiness and dark circles around the eyes.

DE-TOXIFIES. Gently massaging Gua Sha with repetitive strokes thoroughly detoxifies the skin and draws out impurities, leading to a clearer complexion and promoting lymphatic drainage.

LIFTS, TIGHTENS & TONES. With consistent usage, this massage technique unkinks fascia, muscles and layers underneath the dermis to smoothen out wrinkles. Also, the conscious movements of a facial massage will help move the lymph through the system and result in a more toned and sculpted appearance.

GLOWING SKIN & IMPROVED SKIN TONE. Moving the lymph and blood detoxifies and brings nutrients and oxygen to the skin, giving it a healthy natural glow and awakening dull skin. Also, Gua Sha might help reduce the appearance of age spots and pigmentation, resulting in improved overall skin tone.

Metal gua sha tool

REDUCES INFLAMMATION. Gua Sha helps to reduce inflammation in the face brought on by stress, a poor diet, environmental pollutants, or other factors. It stimulates circulation and increases blood flow to reduce inflammation and plumps the skin, resulting in a more even and healthy-looking complexion.

CALMs THE NERVOUS SYSTEM. This gentle massage technique is exceptionally calming and soothing for our nervous system. When we are in a relaxed state, our immune function works more optimally, and the body can naturally heal.

RELIEVES STRESS & TENSION. Gua Sha relaxes stressed muscles and combats muscle tension in the face, jaw, neck, and shoulders.

Gua Sha routines are effective and simple enough to incorporate into even the busiest of schedules

Adding Gua Sha to your skincare routine could not be easier. It can be done either in the morning or at night, as long as you allocate sufficient time to do it. By doing facial Gua Sha in the morning, you can reduce puffiness in the cheek and the under eye area, whereas Gua Sha at night can aid in relaxing your facial muscles. It is recommended to cleanse your face and apply moisturiser or facial oil before using Gua Sha so that the massage not only gives your skin ‘a good workout’ (stimulates blood circulation, helping your skin to look more radiant and healthier) but also assists nutrients from skincare products to be absorbed better into your skin.

Selection of facial Gua Sha tools in different kinds of stone

How do you choose the best type of face Gua Sha tool

There are so many shapes, and it all depends on the type of massage and the areas of concern. The heart-shaped Gua Sha tool is often regarded as the best one to start with, as it is easy to grip in your hand and has a large surface area for the cheek and neck.

Many of the popular Gua Sha tools out there are made with stone. Different gua sha stones and stone crystals offer specific energies and healing properties that may benefit your overall health. However, some of the most high-performing Gua Sha tools are made of metal because of their resonation properties — you can feel it resonate on areas with lots of scar tissue and blockages.

One of our favourite metal Gua Sha tools is BEEJ from Microcurrent Love. BEEJ is a facial massage tool crafted from Kansa, an alloy that has been used for centuries in India. This metal is believed to provide health benefits and is commonly utilized in Ayurvedic practices. By combining the healing properties of Kansa with Gua Sha therapy, which originates from traditional Chinese Medicine, it helps tone, firm, and lift the skin, imparting vitality, radiance, elasticity and overall skin health. Work it on the mouth, cheek, jaw, and neck muscles to counter the sagging effects of gravity and time. In time, the face will look brighter, firmer, supple and revitalised.

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