What is Gua Sha?
If you are not already familiar with facial Gua Sha, it's time to get to know this ancient Chinese facial sculpting technique. Dating back centuries, Gua Sha has been used by acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine doctors to help alleviate everything from heat stroke and headaches to the common cold as well as body aches and pains.
The word "Sha" refers to the redness on the skin that appears after the treatment and ultimately triggers the skin to renew itself. The aesthetic benefits of Gua Sha were discovered almost by accident. When acupuncturists performed the Eastern wellness ritual on the faces of their subjects, they would notice that fine lines and wrinkles began to diminish and that the skin became aglow.
The Gua Sha technique uses upward and outward strokes and light scraping of a stone—quartz, jade, obsidian or almost any other exotic stone—against the skin to help with lymphatic drainage, promote blood circulation, relieve muscle tension, and now improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles on the face.
When concentrated on the facial contours, Gua Sha can have many beauty benefits, which has made it one of the most buzzed about at-home skincare treatments. Here is all you need to know about Gua Sha, the old but new beauty treatment that can restore and rejuvenate the face and body.
Why is Gua Sha gaining more popularity?
The term Gua Sha was starting to become familiar with beauty insiders pre-Covid, but with the stay at home movement and social distancing, it really began to gain ground.
"Due to the pandemic, many of my facial clients had to do facial "treatments" at home," says Molly Manley, an esthetician based in Statesboro, Georgia. "The Gua Sha is a great and easy tool to use with their existing skin care routine. Influencers and skin experts on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram also aided in its recent popularity."
In addition, many people do not want to use Botox or fillers to help plump the skin and rid of wrinkles. For those who want to keep their beauty regimen natural, Gua Sha facial sculpting is a wonderful alternative to injectables.
What are its specific benefits?
"The great thing about Gua Sha is that it benefits everyone. For centuries, it has proven to decrease fine lines and wrinkles, promote lymphatic drainage, aid in product penetration, and help sculpt the face," explains Manley. If you are looking to naturally lift the cheekbones and contour the face, the gentle scrapping and pulling method of Gua Sha can deliver noticeable results by helping to eliminate any bloating caused by fluid that gets trapped under the skin. The Gua Sha technique helps the lymphatic system drain that fluid. The beauty benefits of Gua Sha can be seen over time, meaning that a consistent routine using the Gua Sha face tool is necessary in order to receive the best results.The main benefits of Gua Sha on the face include:
- Collagen production
- Lymphatic drainage
- Decreased bloating and puffiness
- Glowing skin
- Sculpted facial features
- Contoured cheekbones
- Softening of fine lines and wrinkles
Is Gua Sha another form of deep massage or acupuncture?
Gua Sha can offer benefits similar to that of deep massage and acupuncture. In fact, many massage therapists incorporate the Gua Sha tool into their techniques to provide a full body wellness experience. "For facials, the Gua Sha is just "scraped" across the skin with light strokes to avoid bruising. For the body, Gua Sha can aid in deep tissue massages," says Manley.
How can I perform Gua Sha on myself?
The first step of a Gua Sha treatment is to begin with a clean face. It is important to rid the face of all makeup and give the skin a deep cleanse. Try HydroPeptide Makeup Melt to remove makeup without stripping the skin of any natural oils. For best results, use the Gua Sha on cleansed and hydrated skin once a day. "I recommend cleansing the skin, patting in a serum, applying oil, and Gua Sha away," says Manley. "Always start at the center of the face using gentle pressure with short and long strokes. Move the Gua Sha up and outward for each stroke."
Does Gua Sha help for muscles?
Gua Sha has many cosmetic and non-cosmetic benefits. "We have found that it drastically decreases jaw tension and migraine headaches. It also helps transfer nutrient rich blood to the skin and tissues," says Manley. When used on the body, Gua Sha can also help relieve body aches and sore muscles. Full body Gua Sha is often used on athletes to increase flexibility, treat muscle spasms and reduce pain and inflammation.
Does Gua Sha help reduce acne?
While acne that stems from genetics and hormones will not be cured by simply using Gua Sha, the facial tool can help reduce some of the inflammation associated with acne breakouts. "Gua Sha does help the body push out toxins trapped underneath the skin, which can reduce inflammation and acne," explains Manley. Treating acne takes a multi-pronged approach. Diet and lifestyle play a big role in acne, as does using the proper skincare products. Look for products that contain salicylic acid, natural clays and special redness-reducing peptides.
What skincare products are best to use with a Gua Sha treatment?
It's important to use a skincare oil along with your Gua Sha treatment. An oil helps the Gua Sha tool safely and gently glide across the skin. The Gua Sha tool will also help the skincare oil penetrate deeper into the skin, amplifying its beauty benefits. "For the face, I have found that Gua Sha works best with a facial oil such as HydroPeptide Moisture Reset Oil because it helps the tool glide across the skin," says Manley. "The Moisture Reset Oil is great for all skin types especially dehydrated! If using Gua Sha on the body, I highly recommend the HydroPeptide Firming Body Moisturizer because it aims to reduce skin concerns such as stretch marks, age spots, and dry skin."