The skincare world has found its new favorite practice. It improves skin elasticity, stimulates collagen, reduces puffiness, and improves lymphatic drainage. It's also been around for thousands of years, is noninvasive, and has instant results. It's called gua sha and here's the 411.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua sha, also know as scraping, coining, or spooning, is a traditional Chinese medicine practice designed to help improve overall health by massaging the skin with the aid of Gua sha tools. These tools can be made of bone, horn, porcelain, crystal, stone, just about anything!
The Benefits of Gua Sha
Gua sha can be a great way to decompress. It helps relieve the tension that we hold in our face and can help to relieve jaw and muscle pain. It's sort of like a foam roller after a workout. It also improves blood circulation by loosening up the connective tissue between our skin and muscles. Better circulation, means better health and improved radiance. Gua sha also has the added effect of reducing puffiness and improving the sculpted appearance of our face by aiding in lymphatic drainage.
Picking the Right Gua Sha Tool
To get started, find the right gua sha tool for you. A good gua sha tool should feel right when you hold it and should look pleasant to use. For instance, Alder New York's Black Obsidain Gua Sha Tool has a smooth heart shape that's ergonomically designed to fit nicely in your hand and to cup the curves of your face. There's so many options out there and it can be a bit overwhelming, so go with your gut and try a few different shapes and materials until you find the right one.
The Proper Gua Sha Technique
When performing gua sha, start with a clean face, then prime your skin with a serum, oil, or moisturizer to reduce friction. Next, angle your tool as close to parallel with your skin as possible - don't dig the edge straight into your skin- and apply a gentle pressure, as too much pressure can cause bruising and can break capillaries. Now use the fingers of your free hand to pull your skin taught to create tension, and gently sweep the tool up and out along your skin. At the end of each stroke give the tool a wiggle to help release tension. Repeat a few strokes, then do the same number and the same movements on the other side of your face. Makse sure to be extra cautious around your eyes, and don't forget about your neck!
As you see, it's really simple. So, if you're not already reaping the benefits of this ancient practice, then it's time to get scraping.