Using a gua sha tool? Here’s what you should keep in mind

Ruhi Gilder
Gua sha, is big beauty buzzword today. It is yet another beauty tool in the market. But is it worth the hype?
What exactly is gua sha? It is a traditional Chinese healing method which popularly involves the use of a semi-precious stone tool. This half-moon shaped tool massages your face, cradling the structure of your face.
Similar tools are the jade roller, ice globes and the kansa wand. Flooding the Indian beauty market, these elegant-looking, colourful gua sha tools are available in a range of stones, most commonly, Jade, Rose Quartz, but Amethyst, Black Obsidian are also gaining popularity. The trend isn’t new, it’s an ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique that is now trending in beauty.   
LuxeBook gets an expert’s opinion on the efficacy of these facial tools. Head Dermatologist at Remedico, an online dermatology service, Dr. Manasi Shirolikar, separates fact from fiction, sharing her take on this beauty tool.   
What is the purpose of facial massage tools like gua sha and jade rollers?  
The claims are that they aid in lymphatic drainage, minimising pores, boosting skin elasticity and collagen, which in turn decreases signs of ageing. Analysing each claim, Dr. Shirolikar says that the first one is true. The tools do help in lymphatic drainage and de-puffing but this can also be achieved with a finger massage.  
Secondly, these crystals are, by nature, cold to the touch, and¬†must be¬†ideally stored in the¬†refrigerator. Hence,¬†they do help¬†in¬†shrinking pores. Anything cold can have the same effect on your skin.¬†Dr.¬†Shirolikar questioned the stone‚Äôs ability to penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin to stimulate collagen production and strengthen elastin. ‚ÄúSomething that we¬†do¬†for 5-15 minutes on the skin,¬†externally,¬†can not¬†stimulate collagen.¬†Only retinoids and Vitamin C¬†can do so.‚ÄĚ In the case of de-puffing the tool may provide relief, but it’s a temporary. However,¬†gua¬†sha does activates acupressure points along the 12 meridian lines of the face and massaging¬†with it¬†can increase blood circulation, giving your face a glow. The massage also allows the skin to release toxins and calms inflammation.¬†¬†
Gua Sha
Image Credits: Monstera / Pexels
Is it safe to use at home?  
According to¬†Dr.¬†Shirolikar, it is safe, though not an essential by any means. If you have a face serum or a sheet mask and want to use it as a relaxing tool, go for it. “There is not a lot of damage that you can do while using the tool,¬†even if you do it wrong.” says Shirolikar. At the most instead of making motions upwards you will make them downwards.¬†¬†¬†
Do not use it if…¬†
‚ÄúOnline, you can see a lot of people apply anti-acne serums, which contain Azelaic acid, Salicylic acid, and then they massage it in with a jade roller.¬†Do not do that. If you have active acne, it is terrible to massage over it and spread the puss.‚ÄĚ says the dermatologist.¬†¬†
Consumer’s take 
Dr. Shirolikar talks of patients who are skincare enthusiasts and have tried many over-the-counter treatments before coming to her, including face tools. The consensus is that it feels really nice, but it hasn’t done anything. 
Shirolikar concurs, citing similar feelings during her personal experience.¬†She¬†recommends¬†it as a relaxing procedure, but not as a treatment. Most of her patients interested in these facial massage tools are from the age group of 25¬†to¬†late 40s. ‚ÄúAt 25 suddenly there is this hyper awareness that sets in with ageing,‚ÄĚ says the skin expert, leading to experimentation with various alleged anti-ageing tools.¬†
Why are these tools gaining popularity in India?  
The marketing push behind these products affects consumer behaviour. International celebrities like Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Aniston and Meghan Markle have also created a buzz around it. There is a big culture of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in the beauty world, says Dr. Shirolikar. If your friend does it, you have to as well. Another factor could be the reassessment of priorities. The pandemic and work from home has given enough time to try different methods of self-care. The world is incredibly open to trying new things.   

 

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Things to keep in mind   
“If you are a beginner,¬†I suggest you start with a jade roller.¬†If you are more proficient,¬†go for a¬†Gua¬†Sha. But¬†it¬†claims of a¬†tighter jaw line, lesser¬†wrinkles,¬†or any other hasn‚Äôt been backed by a¬†scientific study.” says Shirolikar. She¬†reiterates¬†that any¬†seen¬†positive¬†signs¬†are the result of the¬†massaging effect of the tool, and not the stone itself. Keep¬†it¬†in the fridge and use with a facial oil or serum for best results.¬†Dr.¬†Shirolikar advises against its use as a primary mode of treatment, “If you are dealing with any severe¬†skin conditions,¬†which¬†can‚Äôt be¬†controlled by over-the-counter medicine, go to a dermatologist and get yourself treated.”¬†
Dr. Manasi Shirolikar
Dr. Manasi Shirolikar

How to use a gua sha tool 
РFor the neck, use the outward curved side of the tool, sweep up the side of the neck from the collarbone towards the jawline. 
РFor the jaw, use the indented side to make sweeping motions along the jawline, upwards.  
РFor the cheeks use the longest side of the gua sha and pull upwards and to the side. 
РFor the neck, use the curved upward side of the tool and pull up towards the hairline.  

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