March 14, 2023
A staple among traditional Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years, Gua Sha has now quickly rocketed to fame as one of the most popular forms of facial skin care on social media. From TikTok to Instagram, you’d be hard-pressed to find a social media network where a beauty guru or skincare super fan hasn’t already shared strategies for implementing Gua Sha into a facial routine.
The only problem is just how accurate these strategies are. And can they do more harm than good? Unfortunately, many social media influencers have shared questionable Gua Sha techniques that can not only irritate the skin but also worsen underlying skin concerns like acne. Take a look at the most common Gua Sha mistakes, as well as my expert tips to improve your Gua Sha rituals!
Gua Sha (or kerokan, as it’s known in Indonesia) is an element of traditional Chinese medicine that dates back to the Shanghan Lun, an ancient Chinese medical text. The practice of Gua Sha uses a face massage tool, like a smooth stone, to gently glide across and soothe the fascia. Fascia is a type of connective tissue located beneath the surface of the skin that gives your face its lift and tone.
As you age and move your face over time, fascia can begin to carry a lot of tension that restricts blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. When you incorporate facial contour massage like Gua Sha into your skincare routine, you can encourage the fascia to release. The result? Improved circulation, reduced inflammation, and a boost in collagen that rejuvenates the face!
When done properly, Gua Sha techniques can help release wrinkles and generally tired facial muscles, as well as bring hyaluronic acid to the surface of the skin to achieve a plumper, healthier complexion. Even just the act of massaging the face can have a lifting effect! However, it’s essential to follow actual Gua Sha techniques and not questionable tips from social media influencers.
Despite its longevity as a contour massage, the practice of Gua Sha has recently become riddled with some no-so-safe techniques that can significantly disrupt your skin care. Though social media is a fantastic tool to share Gua Sha with others who may not have tried it, be sure to actively avoid these top five mistakes shared by social media influencers and unlicensed estheticians.
Regardless of your skincare goals, it’s always critical to keep your devices clean to avoid contamination. For instance, jade — a natural green stone traditionally used in Gua Sha — is a semi-porous material that can trap acne-causing bacteria. Instead, I recommend using a face massage tool like the ANMA device, made with high-grade acrylic.
Bear in mind, even with an ideal face massage tool like the ANMA, you must still cleanse your Gua Sha device before each use to avoid contamination. Wash it with a gentle cleanser and rinse well before applying. Once finished, cleanse the ANMA and store it in a clean, dry place.
While it might seem counterintuitive, the secret to Gua Sha is not to apply as much pressure as possible but to use a light touch. The key to fascia release and lymphatic drainage is to use very gentle strokes. The softer you massage, the deeper the release. Follow along with professional Gua Sha massage tutorials once per day to master the repeated, gentle movements.
Your skin must be moisturized (almost slippery!) for the Gua Sha tool to work its magic without pulling, skipping, or tugging on your skin. To avoid the mistake of irritation, apply a moisturizer or serum immediately before beginning the massage. I recommend the NeoGenesis Booster Serum, an advanced renewal serum safe for daily use and application around the eyes.
Though you never want to use a face massage tool on dry skin, you must choose a lubricant that’s safe for facial use. For this reason, steer clear of essential oils, which can trigger irritation and inflammation in the skin. Likewise, avoid too-rich combinations of oils that can cause piling and other undesired effects. Instead, choose a face oil that’s lightweight and nourishing.
Some of the most common (and frustrating!) Gua Sha mistakes I see online and across social media are users who expect overnight results. The truth about skin care results is that they take time! It will take consistent use of the ANMA device or similar Gua Sha tool to achieve fascia release. As a general rule of thumb, commit to at least six weeks of Gua Sha to assess your results.
Between YouTube and Instagram, you can almost always find me sharing my expert tips for skin care on social media. As a licensed esthetician for more than two decades, I am confident in both the safety and efficacy of the guidance I share on facial massage, skin care devices, and more. If you’re seeking expert support on your skincare journey, join me in the Christine Byer Beauty Club!
Unsure if the Club is right for you? I offer a 14-day FREE preview with full access to everything, so you can unlock personalized support for your questions, access to savings, and even the opportunity to win a complimentary consultation! What are you waiting for? Try the Club free today!
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