Pink flowers on white background near woman's hand holding pink, heart-shaped gua sha stone.

Gua Sha 101

Jul 03, 2020Natalie Novak-Bauss

Hello, beauties!

Have you ever searched “gua sha” on Google? You probably saw a TON of products, such as stones and rollers, a host of “how-to” videos from dubious sources, and certainly a number of horror stories from improper use. But I would be willing to bet that you didn’t find the RIGHT kind of information on the uses and benefits of facial gua sha, body gua sha, or the rich history of gua sha before it became such a fad here in Western culture. 

Today, I want to break down the facial gua sha specifically. We sell the stones and rollers on our website, but what good does that do you if you’re not ‘in the know’ about best practices? Not a whole lot! I’m going to try to correct that with some trusty facts backed up by years practicing as a master esthetician. 

First Thing’s First: What is facial gua sha?

At its core, facial gua sha is a gentle self-massage of the face and neck area. This promotes lymphatic drainage, increases blood flow, manipulates sub-dermal fascia, and increases nutrient delivery, especially when combined with organic lotions or creams. This combination of benefits improves your complexion noticeably while also detoxifying your skin. Win/Win. 

As a practice, gua sha involves slow, steady strokes with a contoured stone that aids in lifting, toning, clarifying, and brightening your face. Facial gua sha results are sometimes referred to as the ‘natural alternative’ to injectables such as botox. While medically these techniques are obviously different in their results, regular gua sha facials will absolutely work wonders on reducing or eliminating signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, or sagging skin. 

Below, I’ll cover the benefits of facial gua sha in greater detail!

Gua Sha & Anti-Aging

Stimulating blood flow is incredibly beneficial for your skin. And wouldn’t you know it, gua sha promotes enhanced circulation! A happy accident here is that gua sha can increase collagen production through better circulation. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and one that our body naturally creates. However, collagen production naturally decreases as age. The lack of collagen then causes the “aged” look many people struggle with. Increased collagen production is associated with fuller, more sculpted skin.

Gua Sha & Fine Lines

Regular gua sha practice will rejuvenate the fluids in your face. By practicing the traditional motions/strokes (tutorials can be found here) with consistency, you’ll help your blood, lymph, and fluids move. This will naturally increase fluid circulation throughout your face. More advanced practice can help to hyper-target your specific trouble spots, thus evening out your fine lines and wrinkles. 

Gua Sha & Puffiness

Lymph drainage is another primary benefit of facial gua sha. Puffiness of the face is typically caused by our bodies holding onto excess fluid, often a result of our diet, allergies, or environmental factors. It’s often said that the neck is the lymphatic “highway” to the face. By treating the neck during gua sha, you are giving the lymph a route to drain down and out of the face. 

Gua Sha & Acne

Though less obvious, gua sha has the potential to help reduce the appearance of chronic blackheads, whiteheads, and even hormonal breakouts. While the first-time implementation of a gua sha practice may aggravate your skin, causing a breakout, don’t be alarmed! This is totally normal, and will likely diminish entirely with time. Think of your skin like a still pond: the first time you splash into it, you’ll stir up all manner of sediment. The same goes for your skin: as you implement gua sha, you’re stirring up all that “sediment” your skin has been holding onto. This is a natural part of the detoxification process! As you gently redistribute the fluids in your skin, you provide a pathway for their exit, taking all the ‘sediment’ from your suddenly-glowing complexion.

Note: I do not recommend the use of gua sha on skin that’s currently experiencing a breakout, as this may cause prolonged irritation, and may actually hinder healing. 

Gua Sha & Radiant Eyes

Gua sha practitioners will tell you that the eyes really ‘come to life’ when you commit to a daily gua sha routine. Even a few minutes each day can work wonders around your eyes. Gua sha gently treats the sensitive skin under the eyelid, removing puffiness. It can also help to drain a droopy/hooded eyelid and may relieve tension between the brows. This creates lift, and gives your eyes greater vitality and life.

Gua Sha & Stress

Whether you’re receiving a gua sha facial (lucky you!) or practicing on yourself, facial gua sha can help put the mind and body at ease. Physical touch has demonstrably beneficial for the mind and body. Because touch boosts sensations of physical and emotional well-being, gua sha certainly qualifies as a stress-relieving practice. It has been demonstrated to produce feel-good hormones that promote relaxation. In short, gua sha is as good for your mental well-being as it is for increasing your glow!

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