At home, in quarantine and physical distancing, are you looking for something to do? Here is an effective skin care activity, particularly interesting these days when we can’t visit a spa/medispa for skin-care services. With tons of information circulating the internet and social media platforms regarding DIY facials, we’re covering this trending topic which supports home-care treatments and offers the “wow” effect you’re looking for. Not only can you do this every day from the comfort of your couch, but it’s an effective result-oriented skin care exercise, that’s easy to do and very affordable.
Drum roll please… introducing Gua Sha (Gua means to scrape and Sha means to sand). It’s literally a treatment that involves scraping a flat stone over the skin in upward and outward strokes (we will get to the why’s and how’s soon, keep reading).
Historically, Gua Sha has been practiced in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Perfected throughout centuries, Gua Sha tools were designed to firm, lift and drain with movement exercises to relax facial and muscle tension, which over time can cause fine lines and wrinkles. With regular use, practicing Gua Sha will tone the skin and promote elasticity.
Due to the natural variations in the stones, every Gua Sha is unique in pattern and colour. The stones (and crystals) used are original, authentic and natural. True Gua Sha’s are not artificially dyed or treated, in order to optimize their true beauty. Here are a few different materials used:
- Jade: for balancing and naturally-cooling properties. It is known as the stone of eternal youth;
- Rose Quartz: for soothing and promoting self-love, reflection and acceptance. It is known as the stone of love;
- Amethyst: for relieving stress and cleansing negative energies. It promotes clarity and relaxation;
- Black Obsidian: unlike the other stones, Black Obsidian naturally retains warmth and is great to use on congested and blemish-prone skin. The warmth of the obsidian encourages stimulation of the lymphatic system and circulation. To warm Black Obsidian tools, it is recommended to place them in a glass of warm (hot) water.
Aside from improving overall health and radiance of the skin, Gua Sha tools have multiple benefits for the skin, body and soul. Just as our bodies experience stress and tension, our faces experience this in a similar fashion (furrowed brows, clenched jaw, frowning).
Here are the key benefits of practicing Gua Sha in skin care:
- Promotes lymphatic drainage;
- Reduces puffiness and fluid buildup;
- Relieves facial and jaw tension;
- Improves blood circulation (oxygenation) to brighten and give the skin a glow;
- Helps to break up fascia, the connective tissue that hugs muscles, but can sometimes interfere with optimal circulation;
- Calms the skin, giving it strength to combat redness and dark circles;
- Firms and lifts the facial features, over time and with regular use;
- Helps with migraines, neck pain and other associated symptoms.
Here is how to use your Gua Sha tool:
- Start with a clean face, then prep skin with an oil or serum to create a smooth glide for the tool;
- Keep the tool flat against the face and, using medium pressure, begin with the forehead. Scrape in an upward/outward motion from the eyebrows to the hairline;
- Move to the cheeks and scrape in an upward/outward motion starting from the crease of the nose to the ear;
- Move to the jawline and use the end of the Gua sha tool with the two curves. Start from the chin and scrape towards the ear. Gently massage the Gua sha tool into the ear to release tension;
- For the under-eye area, very gently scrape the Gua Sha from the inner corner of the eye outwards to the temple. Because this area is so sensitive, it is important to apply only light pressure.
- When going along the neck, move in a downwards motion to drain lymph nodes.
Tip: For a cooling effect, store your Gua Sha in the fridge. This will not only feel amazing, but will also help to drain puffy eyes and reduce the redness and inflammation of breakouts and skin imperfections.
Have fun, relax and enjoy the experience,