Education, Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

Your guide to Gua Sha for Facial Skin Care

Give it a try.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Nov 21, 2021

The jade scraper, also known as a Gua Sha tool, has been trending for years but saw an increased rise in popularity over the pandemic when skincare lovers, both new and advanced, had to resort to at-home skin care when salons and spas were closed. This small flat pebble of jade is worthy of the most famous celebrities and influencers for its ability to chisel out cheekbones, de-puff hangover eyes and brighten up your skin.


But what exactly is a Gua Sha and how can rolling something over your face give so many benefits? Ahead, we break down everything you need to know about the infamous skincare tool.


What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha has origins dating back to 220 CE, it is truly a tool that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. Historically, practitioners wanted to obtain “sha,” the redness that encourages the skin to heal itself. After studying both Gua Sha in Japanese and Chinese cultures — today it is known as one of the most popular facial treatments.


Actually, Gua Sha back then was used as an all-over body treatment where today it’s used in a more gentle, gliding technique on the face that promotes lymphatic drainage. Once drainage is reduced, you will experience less bloating caused by interstitial fluid, or fluid trapped under skin that needs to be release to your lymphatic system.


Wonderful, so what are the benefits of Gua Sha?

Some of the most amazing benefits can happen with Gua Sha include:

  • Stimulates circulation
  • Helps produce collagen
  • Softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Decreases puffiness (great for the morning after a night of partying)
  • Decreases inflammation (perfect for foods that cause inflammation)
  • Diminishes dark circles
  • Temporarily tightens skin
  • Brightens complexion (who doesn’t want that)
  • Sculpts facial muscles (so your face can work in it’s optimal state)
  • Releases tightness (hello, WFH)


Got it, so how do I use it?

The cool thing about Gua Sha is that there are many shapes and tools, eliminating a one-size-fits-all standard. Instead, that gives you freedom to use it how you like. Of course there are some fundamentals to follow.


The most important rule to follow is gentle pressure. When using, apply even strokes against the skin, in the direction of lymphatic flow. Performing Gua Sha techniques basically allows your lymphatic system to rid itself of the floods that is causing your face to bloat or look inflamed.



Is it better to go in for Gua Sha or can I do it at home?

We suggest going into a spa for your first Gua Sha experience just so you can see how the esthetician or dermatologist uses the tool — that way you can follow the proper technique from the beginning, for maximum results.

If this is not an option for you, there are tons of YouTube videos showing how to do it as well. As a rule of thumb, it’s great to use a Gua Sha tool every morning for at least five minutes. Skin care lovers will typically apply face oil or serum, then gently sweep the stone up the neck toward the hairline — focusing on jaw and cheekbones. Essentially this will help drain the fluid downward and promote circulation.

Remember, little pressure applied is the sweet spot to reap the benefits. Also, using Gua Sha at home in between appointments is a great way to maintain the results.


Can anyone use it?

Unfortunately if you have sunburns, rashes, or blood coagulation issues, you should avoid the small but mighty tool. Other than that, if done correctly, you can use it on all skin types.

In related news, here’s what you need to know about jade rollers.

Photo via Hayo’u