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Skincare 101

Gua Sha Are All The Rage, But Do They Do Anything?

If you haven't heard of the beauty trend that is Gua Sha, where have you been hiding? 

This beauty technique has an impressive history and is all the rage with beauty bloggers, influencers, online- and in-store shoppers alike. If you want an alternative way to give your skin a healthy, radiant glow and that toned and sculpted appearance, Gua Sha might just be it. So put down the lotions and potions and get ready to rock the – well – rock that everybody's talking about right now.

We're going to tell you all you need to know about this centuries-old beauty tool made from semi-precious gemstones, and how to use Gua Sha for the best results. 

What Is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha has a rich history that originates in China. Gua means “scrape” and Sha means “petechiae” (these are tiny flat red spots that can appear on the body) in Chinese. 

It started out as a full-body massage treatment used to address chronic pain all over the body and is commonly used alongside other traditional Eastern treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and heat therapy. The effects of the Gua Sha massage aren't pretty and may result in bruising and redness before the healing process starts. However, the end results can be dramatic, and some people call Gua Sha the best massage of their life. 

The Gua Sha stone used to apply the massage is made from flat rose quartz or jade and is scraped over the skin in upward strokes to relax the muscles and promote lymphatic drainage. 

It wasn't long before the Gua Sha tool and technique were adapted for use on the face. If you suffer from puffiness and want a more toned and balanced look, a Gua Sha tool could be a practical beauty investment for your skin. By scraping the skin with the Gua Sha, the lymphatic drainage system is intended to be stimulated and encouraged to drain away excess fluid, reducing bloating and puffiness. 

Whether it helps or not, any massage does feel good.

The Intended Benefits of Gua Sha

Gua Sha is designed to focus on stagnant energy in the body and face. This energy, otherwise known as chi, is what many traditional practitioners believe to be responsible for inflammation in the body and face. Inflammation anywhere in the body can lead to chronic pain and discomfort. By rubbing the skin with a Gua Sha tool, this energy can be broken up and reduced, thus reducing inflammation and promoting healing according to practitioners. 

For the face, Gua Sha offers a variety of possible benefits and a viable alternative to minor cosmetic surgery procedures. In fact, the treatment can deliver some impressive benefits including: 

  • Decreases puffiness
  • Stimulates circulation
  • Helps produce collagen
  • Softens fine lines and wrinkles
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Diminishes dark circles
  • Temporarily tightens skin
  • Brightens complexion
  • Sculpts facial muscles
  • Releases tightness

If you’re after a gentle yet effective way to promote circulation, boost radiance, and smooth the complexion, try Gua Sha yourself. It may not “work” for everyone, but as countless acolytes will explain, it certainly feels refreshing.

How to Use a Gua Sha

How can you experience the purported benefits of a Gua Sha in the comfort of your own home? 

A quick search online shows just how many different shapes and varieties of Gua Sha tools there are. There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to choosing or using a Gua Sha tool; however, there are some basic fundamentals to consider when using your tool to ensure you get the best results. 

For example, the best method of using your Gua Sha is to apply gentle pressure to the skin with even strokes, preferably in the same direction as lymphatic flow. 

While they might look a little daunting or confusing to use, a Gua Sha is actually quite easy to use. It's best to use with a little water or oil on the face to give your skin some protection and the Gua Sha little traction as it passes over your skin. 

Once you've moistened your skin, follow these steps:

  1. Take the Gua Sha and apply the curved edge to your face. Start with the neck and glide the stone down the neck to encourage the drainage of lymphatic fluid. 
  2. Next apply the stone to the jawline, chin, and area around the mouth, focusing on upward and outward strokes and stroking the skin three to five times around this area. Take short strokes in one direction rather than moving the Gua Sha back and forth. If you have a lot of puffiness, work lightly at first and then more firmly to relax the muscles and encourage reduced inflammation. 
  3. Finally, apply the stone to the brow bone using small horizontal strokes to lift and release tension between the brows. 

How Often Should You Gua Sha?

When first starting out, it's best to use your Gua Sha tool once a week. This will allow you to get used to the technique and discover what your skin's tolerance is to the stone and massage technique. As you start to become more familiar with using your Gua Sha stone, you can build up to using it two to three times a week. Some people even use their stone daily, though this will depend on your skin type, the amount of time in your routine, and the results you want to achieve. 

Safety Considerations

Gua Sha may not be the best solution for your skin if you suffer from blood coagulation issues or skin conditions such as rashes, or if you have particularly sensitive skin. If your skin is more susceptible than normal to bruising, you may also find that Gua Sha is not the best treatment for your skin. This is why it's recommended to build up slowly when using Gua Sha. Using it too frequently or too firmly can result in painful bruising or pink or red skin. The good news, however, is that Gua Sha is a safe bet for most skin types. 

Gua Sha At Home Or In The Spa?

Unlike microdermabrasion or micro-needling that can be challenging to perform at home, it's easy to achieve similar results at home as you would get in a spa with Gua Sha. However, if you're a newbie to Gua Sha, you might want to visit a professional first to witness the technique firsthand and get some tips that you can apply in your own home. A professional will also be able to give you advice on the best areas of your face to focus on for ideal results. 

How to Choose Your Gua Sha

Gua Sha tools come in a wide selection of shapes, sizes, and materials. Which you choose will depend on your personal preference and what you hope to achieve with your Gua Sha. 

Gua Sha stones are available in rose quartz, obsidian, and jade varieties, although you might be able to find others available. The great thing about these stones is that they are cooling to your skin, helping to reduce puffiness even further. Keeping your stone in the refrigerator can be a real pick-me-up in the mornings. 


All in all, this ancient yet re-emerging beauty technique is so much more than just a passing fad. In fact, it’s one of the longest-lasting beauty techniques we’ve got.

Many users claim these semi-precious gemstones produce astounding results, leaving you with smooth, sculpted, and relaxed skin. Find out for yourself and give Gua Sha a try at home.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency