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Quick Question: What Can Gua Sha *Really* Do For My Skin?

Know more about this ancient beauty tool.
PHOTO: Getty Images
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Gua sha is more than a pretty tool you see all over Instagram. The use of gua sha dates back for centuries—it's a skincare technique from traditional Chinese medicine. Its usually made of a crystal and its shape is meant to adapt to the contours of the face and body, mainly to improve blood circulation. It is widely popular today, especially in the realm of DIY self-care. If you're curious about what this curved crystal can do for you, keep scrolling.

What are the benefits of gua sha?

In traditional Chinese medicine, gua sha is used for the body, and the pressure is hard, leaving red marks on the body. ("Gua" means "stroke" and "sha" is redness.)  But don't worry about having bruise-like spots on your cheeks—a gua sha facial massage calls for gentler pressure. Phew!

As for its benefits, applying pressure on the skin with a gua sha tool helps improve blood circulation, de-puff, relax the muscles, and define the contours of the face. Some holistic estheticians swear that it can aid in increasing skin elasticity, too. 

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Here's the thing: There aren't any scientific studies that back the benefits of using a gua sha, but anything that is rooted in ancient practice, there's probably something special about it. Plus, facial massages—the umbrella where the gua sha technique falls under—are known to help "lift" the skin and improve blood circulation. These two factors create a youthful-looking and healthy complexion.

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How often should you gua sha?

You can practice a gua sha massage daily or as little as once a week. It should be a relaxing experience, not a chore that you're "forced" to do on yourself for the sake of what an Instagram trend dictates. Do it at your own pace and be mentally present while stroking your face.

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How do I use gua sha?

The critical factor is in the movement and pressure of the tool: It should be slow, upward strokes with gentle pressure. The massage is done on the neck, jawline, cheeks, between the eyebrows, and the forehead. You can focus on the following areas five times for maximum results. Here's an informative video that demonstrates how you can do a gua sha relaxing facial on yourself.

Learn Facial Gua Sha from a Chinese Medical skincare professional

Also, never use a gua sha tool on bare skin because it will just tug the skin. It's best to apply hydrating mist and facial oil first. Any emollient product will help the gua sha tool glide smoother on your face.

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So, is gua sha worth trying?

Give the benefits that people and skincare practitioners rave about, it's safe to say that it's worth a shot. In fact, there are dermatological clinics that offer this procedure to clients. But, like all things that call for spending money (umm, like everything?), it's important that you think really hard if you can commit to at least a once-a-week ritual before adding a gua sha tool to your cart.

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