The #1 Facial Tool You Need For Glowing Skin (No Matter Your Skin Goals)
Before we dive in, take a deep breath and take a minute to tune in:
What are your skin goals? What shifts are you hoping to experience in your skin? What about in your mindset?
From pigmentation and premature aging to breakouts and blackheads, even TMJ, sensitivities and mental stress, no matter your skin state or the condition you’re trying to treat, this little facial tool deserves a spot in your daily beauty routine and will leave you feeling lighter and lifted.
Let’s take it back a few centuries...
Gua sha is an ancient healing technique rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, one of the oldest holistic healing modalities on the planet, that has been passed down from generation to generation, making its initial origins a bit of a mystery. But what's not a secret, is that the use of this simple tool has profoundly impacted well-being and enhanced beauty for centuries.
Rather than simply targeting symptoms, TCM takes into consideration the underlying conditions to restore balance in skin and body. Enter: Facial gua sha.
Gua literally means scraping and sha means redness. Through the intentional, gentle scraping motions of the stone across the skin, circulation is stimulated and redness appears on the surface as it releases stagnate fluid, impurities and toxins.
While this practice traditionally started with spoons, coins and even horns, today we use a variety of precious stones such as jade, rose quartz or bian (our fav by far!), to sculpt the face, increase collagen production, melt muscle tension, reduce puffiness, improve lymphatic drainage and rejuvenate beauty below the surface.
Now that you’ve gotten to know gua sha a bit better, here are 5 reasons (and noticeable, long-term results) this facial tool should have a permanent place in your skincare ritual.
Whether you wake up feeling puffy after a night of poor sleep or have more of a sluggish lymphatic system, a few mindful, downward strokes with a gua sha stone immediately depuffs, awakens the complexion and activates lymphatic drainage.
The lymphatic system is our body’s natural detoxification system, sweeping away waste, toxins, pathogens and impurities - but without manual support to get things moving, this system can become clogged and contribute to premature wrinkling, dullness, puffiness, sensitivities, acne and inflammation.
The light pressure and intentional technique of facial gua sha optimizes proper drainage to help clear out stagnant fluid, blockages and buildup, creating healthy skin tissue and naturally clear, glowing skin from within.
Lymphatic Tip: Always start on the neck before moving up to the face. With gentle pressure, begin by gently sweeping down behind the ear towards the collarbone. Repeat 3-5x and wiggle stone at the end of each stroke to activate lymphatic drainage. Even if you only have 2-5 minutes to commit to your gua sha practice, follow this tutorial to focus on the neck and get stagnant lymph going.
All you need to know is: increased flow = serious skin glow. Not only does gua sha support the flow of lymphatic fluid but it’s been proven to boost circulation by 4x! This means the skin gets to binge on a fresh flow of blood, oxygen and vital nutrients.
A regular gua sha routine helps to form new pathways of blood flow to nourish skin tissues and cells while simultaneously stimulating collagen production for a more youthful, glowy and sculpted appearance.
Circulation Tip: After focusing on downward strokes to stimulate lymphatic drainage and depuff, use upward strokes with the stone starting from the collarbone, up the neck, over the jaw and cheekbone to the temple (ending with a wiggle at the hairline) for a serious lifting, firming and blood flow boost.
FASCIA + MUSCLE RELEASE
Gua sha’s repeated massage movements melts tension (TMJ, anyone?), and believe it or not, tension is one of the top contributors to aging. But first, I’d like to introduce you to fascia. Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue (resembling a spider web), situated just between the skin and the muscles, that fully covers and supports every muscle, bone and organ in your body - fascia is a big deal! And if fascia is tight or twisted, it can be difficult to release the underlying muscle.
A stagnant lifestyle or lack of movement can cause fascia to become bunched or bound leading to feelings of tightness and tension. Tightness works just like a traffic jam – it clogs the flow of fluids, like lymph and blood, and causes sagging and signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles. Gua Sha helps to break up adhesions, release fascia and soften tight muscles to move out waste material and sluggish lymph and allow vital nutrients to flow more freely and restores mobility and elasticity in the tissue. The result? Firmer, brighter, lifted, more youthful skin.
Tip: Take your gua sha strokes (using the teeth edge) into your scalp wiggling the stone at the end of each stroke. Our facial muscles and even our fascia extends well past the hairline and can easy get tangled and tight. Surprisingly, scalp massage helps to release and relax the face!
From acne to aging and everything in between, this tool and technique will help to treat any condition on your complexion!
Fine lines + wrinkles: Gua sha has become known as a natural alternative to Botox. The repeated massage movements help to repattern the lines that have formed in your face (and, at the same time, ease an anxious mind that can lead to premature wrinkling!) and deeper depressions and wrinkles begin to release, soften and over time, become less visible.
Pigmentation + acne scarring: Dark spots and discoloration are essentially excess melanin built up below the surface and intentional gua sha strokes help to break up pigmentation and dissipate dark spots for a more even, clear complexion.
Breakouts + inflammation: Improved lymphatic drainage helps to detoxify skin tissue and expedite the healing process - just remember to always work around an active breakout or area of inflammation (never directly over it) to open up pathways of healing to the area.
Tip: Check out this tutorial for specific gua sha tips to help heal wrinkles, dark spots and breakouts from below the surface!
One of the biggest causes of premature aging is chronic stress, and a consistent Gua Sha practice not only addresses stress-induced skin conditions, but it creates a more calm, quiet mind.
Its rhythmic, repetitive massage movements powerfully supports stress levels by sedating the sympathetic nervous system (our fight/flight response – which is active all too often in our culture today) and tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system (rest/digest). This allows the body and mind to enter a state of relaxation, focusing on reparative functions and restoring overall health - and creating a ripple effect of well-being in spirit and skin.
Tip: Repeat each stroke 5-10 times to fully drop in to a deeper relaxed state and be sure to focus on areas of tension or tightness that need some extra TLC.
Gua Sha may sound like some magic formula or just too good to be true, but ultimately, this holistic approach to youthful skin is all about living well. Building a consistent beauty routine on the foundations of a healthy lifestyle to support skin that truly glows, from the inside out.
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