Are you looking to achieve a natural and healthy glow? If you are, you may want to consider incorporating gua sha into your skin care routine.
Gua sha is an ancient Chinese healing technique that has been used for centuries and, over the years, has been gaining popularity as a skin care treatment.
If you’re interested in giving it a try, then keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this treatment and how to incorporate it into your skin care routine.
The History of Gua Sha
Gua sha is an ancient healing technique that has been used for centuries in Asia. Its use dates back to the Qin and Han dynasties in China (221 BC-220 AD). Although, its exact origin is unknown, it's thought to have originated in China and Southeast Asia.
Gua sha is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) technique that involves gently scraping the skin with a smooth flat stone that gently massages to stimulate blood flow and promote energy flow, balance in the body, and healing.
The technique was, and it’s still, used today to treat a variety of conditions, including musculoskeletal problems, tension headaches, migraines, neck pain, swelling, inflammation, and skin disorders.
It has been popular all over Asia for centuries; however, the treatment has been gaining popularity in Western countries and is on the rise as more people are looking for alternative and natural ways to improve their complexion.
What is gua sha?
Gua sha is a traditional East Asian healing technique that uses a flat smooth round-edged stone to gently scrape your skin to increase blood flow and remove stagnation to improve the body’s natural function and promote healing.
Types of Gua Sha Stones and Their Benefits
There are many different types of aua sha stones, each with its own unique benefits:
Jade is a type of quartz crystal that is pale green, and it’s the suggested choice for beginners practicing gua sha due to its smoothness and coolness.
It has a calming and balancing effect on the body, and it helps reduce inflammation because it harvests a great deal of qi energy.
2. Rose Quartz
Rose quartz is a type of quartz crystal that is pink, and it’s naturally calming, making it perfect for use on sensitive and reactive skin.
It’s thought to be beneficial in reducing stress and tension and has a calming effect on the mind and body.
3. Green Aventurine
Green aventurine is a type of quartz crystal that is dark forest green, and it’s excellent for encouraging skin cell turnover and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Amethyst is a type of quartz crystal that is reddish-purple or purple, and it has a cooling effect on your skin to help release muscle tension and prevent wrinkles.
5. Bian Stone
Bian Stone is a type of quartz crystal that is grayish-black or brownish-black, and it has the highest rate of electronic pulses, which allows deeper penetration making it great for muscle work and stress relief.
6. Clear Quartz
Clear Quartz is a type of quartz crystal that is transparent and clear to white; it removes heat from the body, calms the mind, and improves qi (energy) flow making it perfect to use either in the evening or before bedtime when your skin is feeling tired and stressed.
Bloodstone is a type of quartz crystal that is a mixture of jasper and chalcedony, and it’s beneficial in promoting circulation and detoxification.
It’s believed to be helpful in reducing inflammation and in boosting the immune system.
The Benefits of Gua Sha
While more research is needed to confirm its benefits, early evidence suggests that it may be helpful for relieving a variety of conditions, such as:
- Muscle pain and tension.
- Tension headaches.
- Swelling and Inflammation.
- Treats acne and fights acne scars.
- Improves dark circles and a dull complexion.
- Softens wrinkles and fine lines.
- Contours and sculpts jawline and cheekbones.
Read more about all of the benefits that gua sha provides your skin with.
The Risks of Gua Sha
While it's generally considered safe, there are a few risks associated with the practice, which include:
- Skin Injuries
- Internal bleeding; if the stone is used on an open wound.
- Allergic reaction to the stone material.
- Sudden onset of pain if the person is pregnant or has a fever.
If bruising occurs, to help with the pain and swelling, you can either apply an ice pack or take an over-the-counter painkiller.
The skin may turn red after treatment, but this is completely normal and should fade within a few hours.
However, stop the treatment and consult a board-certified dermatologist if your skin becomes irritated or swollen.
Who shouldn't use gua sha?
People with the following conditions shouldn’t use gua sha:
- Bleeding or clotting disorders.
- Infections, tumors, or wounds.
- Deep vein thrombosis.
- Strokes or seizures.
- A fever.
- Taking blood thinners.
- Pregnant women.
- Cosmetic procedures or surgery in the last six weeks.
If you are taking medications or have any medical conditions, it’s important to consult a board-certified dermatologist before starting gua aha.
How is gua sha different from other tools?
Gua sha is different from other tools because of its motion; the strokes applied to your skin are specifically designed to stimulate lymphatic drainage and improve circulation, which helps with muscle tension, contouring and product penetration.
How often should you gua sha?
You should gua sha at least 2 to 3 times per week; however, the frequency of use depends on your skin type and skin tolerance.
There’s no set rule for how often this treatment should be performed, so if you are a beginner, start with once a week and increase frequency as needed.
How long should you gua sha?
The length of time you should gua sha depends on your skin type, but we recommend 2-3 minutes per area being treated as a general rule of thumb.
How long does it take to see results with gua sha?
Some people see results after the first treatment, while others may need to gua aha for a few weeks before seeing any visible changes.
I wanted to put gua sha to the test and see how long it took before I started seeing results; check out my case study.
Should you clean your gua sha stone?
Yes, cleaning your gua sha stone is an important part of taking care of it and ensuring that it remains free of bacteria and negative energy to prevent skin problems.
How to clean your gua sha stone?
Gua sha stones should be cleaned regularly to prevent them from becoming dirty or contaminated.
To cleanse your stone, soak it in warm water and soap or facial cleanser for a few minutes, then rinse the stone thoroughly to remove all residue.
After cleaning, either allow the stone to air dry completely or dry the stone with a soft cloth.
To clear any negative energy and prepare the stone for healing, use sage or Palo Santo. Light the sage or Palo Santo and run the stone through the smoke.
Before using it again, spray Isopropyl Alcohol to disinfect and remove product build-up.
It is also important to store the stone in a safe place when not in use. For instance, in a cloth bag or a wooden box, just make sure you don’t store the stone in direct sunlight or near heat.
Is it better to gua sha in the morning or at night?
In the morning and at night work, as long as you invest the appropriate time to gua sha.
In the morning, it can help reduce puffiness and inflammation, while at night, it relaxes your facial muscles and promotes better sleep.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what works best for you.
How to incorporate gua sha into your skin care routine?
To incorporate gua sha into your skin care routine, cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser to remove any dirt, makeup, or oils on your skin.
Then, follow all the steps in your skin care routine, leaving gua sha as the last step at night and in the morning before SPF.
Apply a light layer of oil to your face and neck to help your gua sha tool glide smoothly over your skin.
Using light to medium pressure, massage the stone across your skin in upward strokes in the areas where you tend to hold tension; over your forehead, cheeks, jawline, and neck.
Be especially gentle around delicate areas such as the eyes and mouth.
Should you use gua sha on serum or oil?
You should use your gua sha on oil because it will help the stone easily glide across your skin to prevent pulling or tugging it.
As we age, our skin loses elasticity which is what gives your skin the ability to snap back into place after being stretched.
Every time you pull and tug your skin, you’re causing microscopic damage to the collagen and elastin fibers that give your skin its structure.
Over time, this damage adds up and leads to sagging skin and premature wrinkles.
How to use your gua sha stone?
Here's how to use your gua sha stone:
- Before you start, make sure your gua sha stone is clean.
- Cleanse your skin and apply a facial oil of your choice; your skin should be slippery to allow the stone to glide easily.
- Hold the stone firmly and, depending on the shape of your gua sha in the correct way, always making sure the inner arc or flat part rests on your skin.
- To use your gua sha stone, glide it over your skin in sweeping motions without putting too much pressure. Start at the base of one of the sides of your neck, pulling it up towards your jaw. Repeat the same upwards movement on the front and the other side of your neck.
- Next, with the concave-convex mouth of your stone, scrape along your jawline towards the bottom of your ears. Repeat the same upwards movement on the other side of your jawline.
- Using the inner arc, scrape from the center of your face along your cheeks in an upward motion. Then, with the small rounded end of your tool, massage your under-eyes pulling it towards your temples.
- Last but not least, using the inner arc against your forehead, pull it up towards your hairline.
- Always use light pressure, and to increase the circulation and lymphatic drainage, use long strokes in the direction of lymph flow. For a deeper massage, use shorter and more focused strokes.
- Continue massaging for 2-3 minutes, then move on to another area. Repeat until you have treated all desired areas.
In addition to the above, these 11 tips will help you maximize and get the most out of your gua sha stone.
With that being said, avoid using your gua sha on bare skin because it will result in rashes and irritation. You can even leave it in a skincare fridge for a few hours for an additional cooling and soothing effect on your skin.
If you experience any discomfort, stop using the stone and consult a doctor.
Which gua sha stone is best?
There are many different types of stones available; however, the best gua sha stone is the one that best suits your needs.
How do you know which gua sha to buy?
There are 3 factors you need to consider when buying a gua sha stone, the size, shape, and type of stone.
The size and shape of the stone will determine which areas of your face and body it can be used on. Find a stone that is smooth, rounded, and fits the curvature of the areas you want to treat, and it’s comfortable to grip so you can apply even strokes to your skin.
The type of stone is a matter of preference, but Jade and Rose Quartz are two of the most popular options. Jade is a good choice for beginners because it’s gentle on the skin, while Rose quartz is good for people with sensitive and reactive skin.
This list of the Best Gua Sha Tools will help you choose the right one for you if you aren’t sure about which stone to buy.
Have you tried gua sha? What were your results? Let us know in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions
No, Gua Sha is not painful, but it can cause discomfort if used incorrectly. If you experience pain, stop using the stone and consult a board-certified dermatologist.
Yes, Gua Sha can help improve the appearance of a double chin by stimulating lymphatic drainage and toning your skin.
You don’t have to store your Gua Sha in the fridge, but some people find that cold stones help better reduce their puffiness and inflammation.