\ˈa-pō\ ter·ra : from the earth
Benefits of Gua Sha Practice For Your Skin

Gua Sha is a practice that has been used for generations to stimulate the body’s lymphatic system, promote increased health and relax the muscles in your body. Created in China, the practice has been said to boost your vitality and make visible improvements to your skin. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have been using it as a technique alongside acupuncture and herbal remedies to cure skin ailments for years and swear by its ability to draw toxins from the body.

Facial Gua Sha is a gentle experience and can be effective at combating the various skin challenges that you may have. In addition to this, Facial Gua Sha has been known to reduce stress and anxiety, so not only is it healthy for the body, it is also healthy for the mind too!

What is Facial Gua Sha?

Facial Gua Sha is a Chinese massage technique that improves the health of your skin. Gua Sha will give you a more radiant complexion and more lifted and sculpted features. The technique itself, combined with the right products, stimulates the blood flow beneath the skin, resulting in a whole host of benefits. It can be done a few times a week and the relaxing properties of this method, can transform the way you look and feel. But why should we be doing it? Here are some of the top benefits of facial Gua Sha!

Increased Circulation

Increased blood flow to the skin means that you’re getting plenty of oxygen and nutrient rich blood to nourish and increase the health and vitality of the skin. It promotes healthy cell growth and it helps the skin manage bacteria that can cause breakouts and other skin conditions. Gua Sha is great because it’s a wonderfully relaxing way to increase blood flow to the skin.

A brighter complexion

Gua Sha in conjunction with great products adds an exfoliating element to your skin care routine. That coupled with the aforementioned increase in blood flow, will slough off dead skin cells and even out your skin tone, giving you a radiant, healthy complexion.

Enhanced absorption of skin care products

If you invest in wonderful products for your skin regime, you want to get the maximum benefit out of them. Gua Sha helps to massage your products deeper into the skin, making it easier for your skin to absorb all the nutrients your products contain. The practice takes a little time, but it increases the efficacy of your products which is always a good thing.

Depuffing of the face and eyes

Your lymph system does not have a pumping mechanism like your circulatory system. This means that the fluid relies solely on muscle movement or intentional massage to move around the body as it collects all the harmful toxins. When performed in the morning on your face, Gua Sha helps to reduce puffiness by stimulating the draining of excess fluid from your lymph glands. This also helps to reduce toxins, as they are carried away from your face within the lymphatic fluid and passed out of the body.

Smooths out fine lines and wrinkles

Wrinkles in your skin, don’t necessarily start in the outer layer of your skin, they actually start underneath. Gua Sha stimulates the skin layers underneath the epidermis, leading to the removal of toxins, a greater flow of nutrients and improved skin tone overall. In this way, you’ll find that your lines and wrinkles will smooth out over time. As a result of this, your body’s natural collagen production will be more effective, but if you also include a product that increases collagen in your skin, you’re on your way to a wrinkle-busting combination that guards the youthfulness and resilience of your skin.

Improves skin tone and texture

Gua Sha can really help tighten the skin and improve the texture of the skin too. We all want our skin to have that soft, supple feeling, so adding this practice to your skin care routine will aid in you having skin that’s heaven to touch!

Decongests the skin

Gua Sha is known for its ability to reduce skin conditions like acne, rosacea and skin blemishes. It is known to reduce clogged pores which can be at the centre of a lot of skin problems.

Relaxes facial muscles

Life can make the muscles all over our bodies very tense and our facial muscles are no exception. Gua Sha is a great way to get those facial muscles relaxed thereby creating a beautifully soft and smooth foundation for your skin to lay on. Smooth muscle leads to smoother looking skin and you will feel far more relaxed as you massage away the stress of the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I do this myself?

Gua Sha massage follows particular channels on your face so it is important that when you get your first massage that you get somebody qualified to do it for you properly. Having said that, your face will love you if you do this 3-5 days a week. You can learn how to give yourself a facial gua sha massage at a workshop (ideal) or if you don’t have access to one near you, to find a good online tutorial. I recommend checking out this tutorial by Treatment By Lanshin (who also offers workshops in Brooklyn, NY!)

What gua sha tool should I use?

Find a high quality gua sha massage tool. They come in all sorts of shapes and stones. You can find them online (like in this kit which comes with Apoterra Skincare’s Rose Nourishing Serum), but please make sure you double check its quality; the recent increase in Gua Sha’s popularity has resulted in the creation of lots of tools containing harmful dyes which could cause a reaction on your face. Looks for something made of a high quality stone like jade or quartz.

What products should I use?

Everybody has different skin care products that they know works for them, but I recommend using a facial mist followed by a facial oil which will give you a great massage base to work from. I recommend combining Apoterra’s rose toner and rose serum if you have dry or normal skin, or their neroli toner and herbal serum for combination, congested, or acne prone skin.

Is this as harsh as the body Gua Sha?

No it isn’t! When doing this, you apply gentle pressure to the face which should not cause any pain or bruising.

How often should I do it?

I recommend that you do it 3-5 times a week. I like to think of this time as Giving loving self care to ourselves which can affect our beings on so many levels.

Is it better to do this in the morning?

You can do this as part of your routine in the morning to reduce puffiness in the face, or you can do this at night as part of your relaxation routine. Doing a facial gua sha massage is best in the morning since your body is primed for lymph stimulation, but in the end, both are good options; it just depends on what works best for you!

I really hope you give the facial Gua Sha technique a try. Not only does it rejuvenate your skin but it will also hopefully remind you of your true essential vitality. Gua sha is a great way to give yourself some well deserved love and self care, while also improving your skin health and maximizing the benefits you get from your skincare products.

Written for Apoterra Skincare by Erica Randlett, a Gua Expert Holistic Aesthetician. Find her at Treatment By Lanshin in Brooklyn, NY. 
July 05, 2018 by Erica Randlett Holistic Skincare Collaborator

Leave a comment