I am late to the Gua Sha craze, which is funny considering I've studied Mandarin Chinese for nearly a decade, been to China twice, and my daughter is an esthetician. Oh well, if you're like me and are new to the scene, let me fill you in on the details. Let me also extend an invitation to join me and Gua Sha Expert, Tara Parenti to learn the ancient self-care ritual.
After you register for the virtual event with us, you'll get a beautiful package shipped to your door. This will include details about our session as well as Jenny Patinkin's Uplifting Gua Sha Heart and NakedPoppy's Revitalize Organic Facial Oil.
Want in on one of the best beauty secrets of all time? A self-care practice that you can add to your beauty routine to improve blood flow in your face, reduce breakouts, increase collagen production, and more? It's Gua Sha!
What is Gua Sha?
Gua sha is a centuries-old practice used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to eliminate inflammation, de-puff the skin, and more.
Gua = scrape
Sha = sand
Yep, scrape sand. That's what Gua Sha means. The reason being that in Traditional Chinese Medicine it was used for a variety of health benefits. In ancient medical treatments, the scraping would tiny burst capillaries leaving a sand-like bruising. (Don't worry, you're not going to do that!)
Bruising was only a result when the technique was used on other parts of the body, such as for back pain. Again, when performing Gua Sha on your face, you'll want to use a light stroke; so no bruising!
Traditional Chinese Medicine
It helps to know the origin of the practice so you understand how it works. Both cupping and Gua Sha are techniques used to encourage circulation of blood, lymph, and Qi and the removal of toxic waste in the skin and fascia tissues.
This ancient practice was also used to help the lymphatic system move lymph. This is why a practitioner would move the tool in the direction of lymph nodes.
Scraping a tool along the body helps with lymph flow, lowers pain, and helps work out the tension in the body.
Facial Acupuncture is known to bring collagen to your face and is often used as a natural type of anti-aging treatment. When acupuncture is performed on facial tissue it helps improve elasticity, as does Gua Sha. If you have an acupuncturist they may also be able to perform the technique on you.
No worries if you don't have an acupuncturist, you can DIY the technique with a stone gua sha tool and some oil to give it slip. No matter what your skin type, the oil recommended here will improve your skin. So if you have oily skin, rest assured, the NakedPoppy Revitalize Oil will not make it more oily. (Read the reviews on NakedPoppy's site, and mine at the bottom of this post.)
Benefits of Gua Sha
This technique originated to improve health conditions but is also used in dermatology to improve the appearance of the skin. Other benefits include:
- Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
- Improves skin's appearance
- Reduces puffiness in the face
- Helps skincare products work better
- Relieves Tension (and can help TMJ)
- Reduces dark circles under eyes
- Leaves you with glowing skin
- Relaxing form of self-care
- Helps Balance Hormones (2)
- Relieves Pain (3)
The layers of skin are changed by this scraping method, in a way similar to using fascia blasters for reducing cellulite on legs. Keep reading, my review of the ritual set is at the bottom of this post!
Anti-Aging Benefits of Gua Sha
Consistent use of the gua sha tool combats the signs of aging such as reducing wrinkles, especially around the neck. Some women claim that using these facial techniques eliminated a double chin or improved the jawline.
Choosing a Gua Sha Tool
You may already have a jade roller and are wondering if it works the same way. Both of these facial tools are helpful for improving blood circulation which stimulates collagen production. However, they work differently. Gua sha is more effective at sculpting.
One word of warning, your Gua Sha Stone should be made from real stone. Make sure to buy your tool from a reputable source. There are a few fakes on Amazon as Jade Gua Sha Beauty Tools are quite popular.
Jade stone is called “the stone of eternal youth” and real jade is cool to the touch and stays cool in your hand. This coolness helps with de-puffing the face.
Amethyst and Rose Quartz stones are also made into skincare tools for sculpting.
Rose Quartz Gua Sha tool
Rose Quartz is also a cool stone that stays at a lower temperature even after being in contact with the skin. This beautiful pink stone is known for its ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles which makes using a rose quartz gua sha tool an efficient anti-aging strategy. (1)
I chose a rose quartz sculpting tool as I also have a rose quartz roller, similar to a jade roller, only made from a different stone. Rose Quartz is a beautiful shade of pink and is soothing and is said to be the “stone of love.”
Both jade and rose quartz are breakable, so if you drop them on a hard tile floor, they can break. Some people use a stainless steel version for this reason, but I prefer the beautiful pink Rose Quartz.
To reduce the risk of dropping mine, I perform the practice sitting down! Sometimes I do the ritual while I'm sitting in bed watching a show or listening to an audio book.
Serum or Oil for Slip
I love Naked Poppy‘s Revitalize Oil and Odacite Baobab Sarsparilla Eye Serum. This allows the tool to glide and slide over your skin. In addition, the Odacite serum helps to brighten the under eye area. Naked Poppy has a step by step guide to help you learn the basics.
How to Perform a Gua Sha Facial
It's important to learn how to perform gua sha properly from an esthetician or dermatologist. First of all, you want to gain all the benefits and secondly, you wouldn't want to damage your skin.
Our instructor will be Tara Parenti, a licensed esthetician for 15 years with extensive teaching experience including at the International Dermal Institute. Tara is an expert on skin health and has advanced certification in Gua Sha. She'll be demonstrating the technique in a virtual zoom meeting; you'll also get the tool and oil needed to follow along.
Basics of Performing Gua Sha
Make sure your tool is clean by washing it with soap and water or by rubbing it over with alcohol.
First, using the Revitalize Facial Oil, apply a few drops to your skin. Use a little more than you would if you were just applying it for moisturizing. You can also use a moisturizer if you prefer.
Holding the tool flat against your skin, not straight up at a 90-degree angle. Try to hold the tool at about a 15-degree angle to your skin. Working upwards toward the hairline, using light to medium pressure.
Drag up and then do a little massage, glide up from shoulder towards ears on the back and sides of your neck can help with tech neck. When you reach the stopping point, usually the hairline, give a little wiggle.
Many acupressure points are located along the edges of your face.There are numerous lymph nodes located in the head and neck. Lymph is right under your skin so doing gua sha helps move lymph. Don't forget to pay attention to hydration after you practice Gua Sha to prevent lymph stagnation.
Move to the cheeks and scrape in an outwards motion starting from the crease of the nose out to the ear.
Work from the collarbone up towards the chin, adjusting speed and pressure to what feels comfortable to you. Note that, if it drags or pulls you need to add more oil or moisturizer.
You should anchor your skin with one hand and pull the tool upwards toward your ears. If your jaws are tense you can ease that tension and work it out using the gua sha tool. Always glide slowly when using your tool.
Gua Sha Tutorial Class
Your gua sha treatment may leave your skin a bit red and splotchy at first but it should calm down quickly. I perform my gua sha ritual at night before I go to bed, using plenty of oil so that my face has all night to absorb moisture and calm down.
In the class with Tara Parenti, she will give us a step-by-step tutorial, plus, you'll receive everything you need in advance. This includes a cute storage container for your Gua Sha Heart. (*see it in the photo below)
When and where: Thursday, August 5th at 8pm ET/5pm PT on Zoom
Cost: $76. Get 10% off with coupon code TOM. Includes heart shaped rose quartz tool, case, NakedPoppy's Revitalize Oil, plus the class. Shipping is free, and best of all, you get to join the class with Tara and me!
Fascia can be improved with certain massage techniques as it has the potential to stimulate connective tissue or even help reduce scars. You can use the gua sha as a massage tool for a facial treatment
Remember, it is different from your jade roller. Facial Gua Sha releases tension, especially if you do it consistently. Relaxing the tension in your skin in areas where your facial muscles are tight.
When performing the technique on your eye area always use a very light stroke. You should start at the inner eye corner moving towards the outer corner and continue on to the temple, where you can give a little wiggle.
Gua Sha Facial Massage
Another wonderful result of gua sha massage is de-puffing your face. Not only is it good for your appearance but also as a face massage to help with lymphatic drainage, and puffiness
If you tend to have puffiness around your eyes you'll appreciate the effect. While researching, I've seen some interesting before and after photos where women have used the technique to sculpt their jawline.
Incorporate Gua Sha Facial Massage as Part of Your Overall Well-Being and Skincare Routine to eliminate eye bags and make skin brighter and healthier.
When you've had a long hard day, reach for your Gua Sha tool to release tension in your neck.
How Often to Perform Facial Scraping
A good goal would be to perform a gua sha facial massage at least 3-5 times per week. However, if you can add it to your regular skincare routine you will see the best results.
If you have had Botox treatments or other injectable fillers you might want to avoid those areas. For severe breakouts or other skin conditions, take extra care not to irritate the skin. Check with your esthetician or dermatologist.
An excellent way to practice self-care
Adding gua sha in your skincare routine as part of your daily wellness practice is an excellent form of self-care. The benefits are firming and smoothing your skin, improving your immune function, and increasing lymph flow while also reducing puffiness. How can you go wrong!?
Join me and learn the technique by following along with the step-by-step tutorial with Tara Parenti on August 5, 2021. I can't wait to see you there.
1 – Caberlotto, Elisa et al. “Effects of a skin-massaging device on the ex-vivo expression of human dermis proteins and in-vivo facial wrinkles.” PloS one vol. 12,3 e0172624. 1 Mar. 2017, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172624
2- Meng F, Duan PB, Zhu J, Lou QQ, Fang ZH, An HL, Liu LY, Hu Y, Hu Q. Effect of Gua sha therapy on perimenopausal syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Menopause. 2017 Mar;24(3):299-307. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000752. PMID: 27760084.
3 – https://he01.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/ams/article/view/66337
4 – Yuen JWM, Tsang WWN, Tse SHM, Loo WTY, Chan ST, Wong DLY, Chung HHY, Tam JKK, Choi TKS, Chiang VCL. The effects of Gua sha on symptoms and inflammatory biomarkers associated with chronic low back pain: A randomized active-controlled crossover pilot study in elderly. Complement Ther Med. 2017 Jun;32:25-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.03.010. Epub 2017 Mar 21. PMID: 28619301.
The Gua Sha Ritual Set from Naked Poppy
Product Name: The Gua Sha Ritual Set
Product Description: The perfect set for your Gua Sha routine. Apply the NakedPoppy Revitalize Organic Facial Oil first, then follow it up with Jenny Patinkin’s Uplifting Gua Sha Heart which will glide smoothly across your skin. This Ritual Set has everything you need to practice the skin-affirming ancient beauty ritual. The best-selling NakedPoppy organic facial oil works to hydrate, brighten, and firm skin while you Gua Sha. Plus the Jenny Patinkin Uplifting Rose Quartz Heart Gua Sha helps lift and revitalize the appearance of skin with stimulating massage
Brand: Naked Poppy
The Gua Sha Ritual set includes a rose quartz tool and revitalizing oil. I'm over 50 with sensitive, dry skin and rosacea. After using the oil nightly for only two weeks, my skin feels baby soft when I wake up. I've also noticed after using it my face seems less puffy and the texture of my skin is improved. Another thing, it doesn't have a strong fragrance, which is most appreciated. The oil is light, not heavy like some oils can be.
- Clean ingredients
- Cruelty free
- Works for all skin types
- Certified USDA Organic
- Sourced from a women-led sustainable farm in Patagonia
- Helps to visibly lessen wrinkles and hyperpigmentation
- Nourishes the skin barrier and locks in hydration
- Balances sebum production, keeping skin clear and calm
- Provides deep moisture that’s ideal for all skin types
- Helps skin to retain hydration, resulting in a more supple texture
Natural stone materials may have irregularities in how they look. Impurities in a stone are also proof that the stone is real – so not sure if that's a con, but it's all I could think of!