Gua Sha: Is it worth the hype?

Gua sha is a handheld tool marketed to use on the face to help improve blood and lymphatic circulation on the skin and help relieve tension in the facial muscles. Facial guy sha has been also marketed in the anti-aging sector of cosmetic industry, specifically to minimize fine lines and wrinkles and improving skin elasticity.

Initially utilized in traditional Chinese medicine was thought to promote the flow of “chi” or energy in the skin. Theoretically, the tool manufacturers claim that gliding the gun sha along the face will help break up the adhesions between the connective tissue between the muscle and the skin and help relieve muscle tension. Though may help with minimal puffiness of the skin, there is little to no evidence that it helps with skin contouring, collagen production and wrinkles. However, may be helpful when gently used to massage tense facial muscles.

Caution with use of facial gua sha if you have active inflammation or dermatitis on the skin. Patients with cystic and pustular acne use of facial gua sha ma exacerbate acne as there is a frictional component of acne (persistent rubbing and massaging may trigger further acne breakouts). Open sores, viral infections (herpes labialis, cold sores) are situations in which a facial gua sha should not be performed.

If you do decide to try the facial gua sha tool, caution about vigorous rolling or massaging near the eye as the skin is thinner and you are more likely to cause bruising. Make sure the face is initially cleaned with a gentle cleanser and a gentle facial, noncomedogenic moisturizer is placed on the face to help the tool glide easily along the skin and prevent a “rug-burn” type of injury on the skin.

Using your fingers as traction, gently glide the tool along the skin. Some facial gua sha brands recommend daily use; however, I would recommend using it 2-3 times weekly initially to assess for any skin irritation, swelling and discomfort after application. After application, it is important to use a gentle facial moisturizer.

Is this the same as a Jade roller? No.

In contrast to Jade rollers, facial gua sha tools typically do not warm up with increased skin contact. Jade rollers may not last as long as with repeated use consumers may experience wear and tear of the tool.

There are various shapes for gua sha tools on the market currently and have flooded the cosmetic and skin care industry. The pink rose quartz gua sha board is a popular type (available on Amazon for purchase) that has different shapes and curvature. A broader base may be easier to use along the curvature of the face, specifically the cheek bones. The “jagged” edges has been designed with the intention to target finer lines and wrinkles. With that being said there is little objective evidence for the treatment of rhytidies.

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