Learn To Create The Perfect Skincare Routine At Home With Our Gua Sha Guide

Introduction

With all the skincare routines and trendy facials, it can be hard to tell what actually works and what doesn’t. Gua sha facials not only work to reduce signs of aging, but they also have plenty of medical benefits as well. I like to think of gua sha as giving my face a workout. It gets the blood flowing, provides oxygen to my cells and nutrients to my skin. Gua sha facials work better than other massages because it activates all the acupressure points along the meridians in your face. It also gets more in-depth to the muscles and releases tension, and reduces signs of aging. If you don’t know where to start for gua sha facials, follow this gua sha guide with instructions and tips for incredible gua sha facials!

What Is Gua Sha?

Gua sha is a natural therapy that involves scraping your skin to boost your circulation using a massage tool. It is a healing technique that can be used to treat issues like chronic pain, inflammation, migraine headaches, release tension, boost the immune system, and improve circulation. In this gua sha guide, we’ll cover all the benefits of gua sha facials and the gua sha before and after results.

Gua sha facials work wonders for beauty and anti-aging effects such as reducing inflammation, tightening skin, and reinvigorating skin cells. Use this gua sha guide to understand the background, techniques, benefits, and tools for the best gua sha facials.

In the scope of traditional Chinese medicine, gua sha, pronounced gwah-shah, is used to move energy, or Qi, around the body and improve blood flow. It is believed that Qi can be blocked in the body, causing stiffness, tension, or pain. Additionally, gua sha is used to move stagnated blood, believed to cause many problems and diseases. The word gua comes from the Chinese word for scrape, and sha refers to the red petechiae (marks) that form. 

Gua sha pre-dates acupuncture and is one of the oldest forms of traditional Chinese medicine treatments. It began in the Paleolithic Age when stones and buffalo horns were rubbed over the parts of the body that felt sick or unwell to reduce their symptoms. However, it was under the Ming Dynasty, starting in 1368, that they included it in medical records. 

For a gua sha facial, a technician applies oil to the face, then uses a tool to scrape the skin in gentle, upward strokes. The instrument, usually a rounded, white jade gua sha stone, rose quartz gemstone, or ceramic tool, glides over the skin smoothly. This gua sha guide will go into the benefits of a gua sha tool, how to use it, and the best facial oil for gua sha.

Gua sha should feel relaxing and soothing at the right pressure. Whereas gua sha on the back, shoulders, or neck might use firm pressure and leave redness and bruising, gua sha facials use a much gentler pressure without the risk of bruising. You may start to feel fluids moving beneath the skin or a stimulating sensation in the cheeks and eyes. 

Benefits Of Gua Sha Facials

There is a reason why gua sha has been practiced for hundreds of years, long before Western medicine existed. It’s because it works! Gua sha has become all the rave in skincare, and anti-aging treatments as more and more people discover its benefits. 

People have turned from Botox injections and face-lift surgeries to gua sha facials instead, which are much safer and less expensive. Plug, a licensed aesthetician that sparked the gua sha trend in New York City over the last few years, proclaims gua sha is better than botox: “Gua sha is for women seeking solutions that take care of both body and mind—women who want an expression-smoothing alternative to the neurotoxins of Botox.”

Botox shot to popularity in 2002 after the USDA approved it as a temporary solution to wrinkles. As with any drug or injection though, there are plenty of side effects, including droopy eyelids, uneven skin, and even facial paralysis. There are also questions about how Botox affects the immune system and how it could possibly trigger an inflammatory response. Gua sha facials have all the benefits of Botox without the scary side effects. 

Some of the amazing benefits of gua sha facials include: strengthening cells and encouraging collagen production (the chemical that gives skin elasticity and prevents aging lines), sculpts and tones the face, and reduces inflammation in the face. Gua sha for under eyebags gets rid of dark circles and puffiness caused by fatigue, lack of sleep, and aging. It not only returns the face to its healthy state, but it also reinvigorates your skin cells and evenly distributes blood and nutrients. 

Here are some more benefits of gua sha facials:

  • Delivers oxygen-rich, nutritious blood to skin and tissues
  • Drains toxins (lymphatic fluids) from the cells
  • Reduces signs of aging and wrinkles
  • Brightens the skin tone and complexion
  • Tightens and prevents saggy skin
  • Eliminates rosacea (red pigmentation)
  • Releases pigmentation in dark spots
  • Helps the skin absorb facial products
  • Helps heal acne scars
  • Reduces pimples and breakouts
  • Purges the skin of dirt and oils
  • Eliminates dark circles or under-eye bags
  • Relieves TMJ pain
  • Helps migraine headaches

Popular NYC aesthetician, Nichelle Temple, says, “you’ll see noticeable results while preventing and treating the signs of premature aging–namely in the appearance of wrinkles, dark eye circles and puffiness, and sagging and dull-looking skin.”

Gua sha works like a gentle face-lift without needles or expensive surgery. It gives the face a more toned, smoother appearance by tightening the skin and decreasing aging signs. The following gua sha guide will show you the results of gua sha before and after.

Best Gua Sha Tools

As with any product you use on your face, the design, quality, and value should be taken into consideration. Lucky for us, tools used for gua sha have become much more modernized since ancient Chinese stones and buffalo horns. Now, more refined materials such as white jade stone and rose quartz are used, especially on the face. 

The perfect gua sha tool should be gentle and contoured to your face. This Anti-Aging Facial Gua Sha Scraping Tool is the ideal tool to add to your skincare routine. It’s made out of ceramic, has gentle, rounded curves to reach all the acupressure points on the face, and helps fight stubborn signs of aging like wrinkles, sagging skin, eye bags, dark circles, and more. Using our uniquely designed 7 steps massage routine on your face, you’ll instantly see results of better complexion, fewer wrinkles, and tighter skin.  

The best facial oil for gua sha doesn’t have to be expensive or name-brand. This Gua Sha Facial Massage Oil improves the gliding of scraping tools and is made with therapeutic essential oils to help treat acne, reduce inflammation, and increase blood circulation. If you don’t have a facial oil, you can start your gua sha facial at home with a hydrating, alcohol-free mist and a facial oil or moisturizer. Here are some other great recommendations for the best facial oils for gua sha from experts.

Gua Sha Guide

Follow these gua sha instructions for the perfect at-home facial with all the wonderful benefits of gua sha. 

1. Wash your face and prepare gua sha tool

The first thing you should do before your self-treatment is to make sure your face is freshly washed and your gua sha tool is sanitized. Otherwise, it could spread oils and dirt, which is counterproductive. Learn how to clean your gua sha tools here.

You should also warm up your gua sha tool by rubbing it between your hands, it will help circulate the blood better. Note: Some people will suggest you freeze or cool your gua sha tool before using, but this is not good advice. A cold tool will restrict blood vessels and prevent circulation. 

2. Apply a moisturizer or facial oil

The best facial oil for gua sha is anything you’ve got in your bathroom vanity. Start with an alcohol-free toner or hydrating mist, and then apply a moisturizer or oil. It will help your gua sha tool glide easier and allow for greater absorption of other facial products.

3. Start with the neck

You might be wondering why for a gua sha facial, you start massaging the neck, but your neck should be the first thing cleared of tension. Without clearing the neck, the tension in the face has nowhere to escape.

Start by sweeping gently over the front of your neck and Adam’s apple. Then run the longest side of the tool on each side of the front of the neck, starting at the collar bone and moving up to the jaw bone. Repeat 5 times on each side.

4. Jaw

Place your gua sha tool in the center of your chin, using the notched edge. It should form perfectly with your jaw, one above, and one below. Move the tool up your jawline until you reach your ear. Once near the ear, massage gently. Repeat 5 times on each side.

5. Cheeks

Use the long edge of your gua sha tool, starting at the base of your nose. Sweep the tool in a gentle but firm motion out towards the ear in a slightly upward motion. Once at the ear, massage gently. Repeat 5 times on each side.

6. Under eye

For scraping under the eye, you should use the lightest pressure of all. This area is very sensitive and delicate, and you don’t want to risk bruising it.

With the long end of your tool, notches pointing upward, start on the inside corner of the eye. Sweep under the eye, then finish in an upward motion towards the temples. Repeat 5 times on each side.

7. Forehead

Hold your eyelid with your finger, and start with the long edge of the tool on your brow bone. Scrape upward toward the hairline with steady, firm pressure. Repeat 5 times on each side of the forehead.

Tips:

  • Keep the gua sha tool almost parallel to the surface of your skin rather than perpendicular.
  • If you feel your tool pulls the skin, add more facial oil.
  • For beginners, start with a minimum of 3 strokes per side, then sweep up to 5, and even 10 times per side.
  • If something doesn’t feel right, do not force the tool to glide over it, the contours of your face may call for a different stroke.

How Often Should You Use Gua Sha

You should aim to do a gua sha facial once a week or as often as every 3 days. There is a considerable difference between gua sha before and after. Before, your face might look and feel tired, with wrinkles, worry lines, and saggy skin. After following gua sha instructions for several weeks, though, you should notice a significant improvement. Your cells will be rejuvenated, your skin will feel tighter, and your complexion will look improved.

Practice makes perfect, so the more often you practice gua sha, the better your facials will feel, and the more it will work. However, as great as gua sha facials’ benefits are, performing it very often won’t necessarily increase those benefits. The skin on your face is very delicate and should be cared for as such. Performing gua sha facials too often can lead to bruising and temporary red blotches on your skin.

Gua sha should be avoided by pregnant women, people undergoing chemotherapy, and during menstruation because it can trigger contractions and affect blood flow. Additionally, if you have veins that protrude from your face, the gua sha tool’s flat edge should be used to avoid agitating the veins.

Hopefully, you found this gua sha guide helpful, and you now know how to use gua sha tools, the best facial oil for gua sha, and all the wonderful benefits.

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash, Elly Fairytale and Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels