Discover the Benefits of Gua Sha for Skin
Gua Sha is a popular facial treatment that is offered in spas across the country, but did you know that this beauty trend actually dates back multiple centuries? The ancient therapy is said to plump and firm the skin, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and relieve muscle pain. We chatted with Dr. Lamees Hamdan, Founder and CEO of natural skincare line Shiffa, to learn everything you need to know about this skincare technique, its complexion-boosting benefits, and more.
Where did Gua Sha originate and how long has it been around?
It’s been a recent trend here in the west, especially in spas, but has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A TCM doctor would be the one usually performing the treatment. Gua Sha is an ancient traditional Chinese medicine treatment where the skin is scraped to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petechiae (looks like bruising). This has positive anti-inflammatory and immune-protective effects for the body and the area being treated.
Tools are used to scrape the skin, and the type and shape of the tool depends on the area being treated. Chinese medical practitioners usually have an array of differently-shaped tools at their disposal. Traditionally, buffalo horn, a piece of jade, or even coins were used as Gua Sha tools. The tool needs to be both blunt and smooth.
What are the benefits of Gua Sha?
It contours and refines the face, releases muscular tension (which tends to give you a pinched, aged and angry look), helps circulation, and lifts the skin. With use, your skin looks visibly plumped and it glows. It’s labelled an “Eastern Botox” facial because of the ability to relax tense muscles in the face.
My FaSha Clear Crystal Quartz Tool is specially designed with different edges to properly release tightness because fascia is multi-directional. The pointed edge is better suited to help break up lines that have already formed, while the serrated edge helps stimulate acupuncture points. For me, I used Clear Crystal Quartz for my FaSha tool, because Clear Quartz (known as the master healer) amplifies all energies and is suitable for all people. It also draws out all kinds of negative energy.
How is Gua Sha performed?
The basic technique is the same—scraping, usually upwards and outwards with long strokes for the face, and always make sure your face is well-oiled. Traditionally, Red Oil is recommended, but I find it might be a little too much for the skin on the face. I use my Shiffa Healing Balm, as it contains St. John’s Wort and other gentle anti-inflammatory oils.
Is there anyone who isn’t a candidate for Gua Sha?
It’s not recommended for those with rashes, sunburns, cuts, or blood coagulation issues.
Any at-home tips for those doing Gua Sha at home?
Make sure your face is well-oiled and that you’re scraping upwards and outwards with long strokes. There are instances where you can scrape downwards (remember fascia is multi-directional).
Anything else we should know?
It’s important that the technique is learned properly. While body Gua Sha produces petechiae and bruising that lasts for a few days, facial Gua Sha shouldn’t.
[Image courtesy of Shiffa]
Kamala Kirk is a University of Southern California graduate and has been an editor/writer for more than a decade. She has written for E! Online, Total Beauty, TravelAge West, Malibu Times Magazine, and many more. She resides in Los Angeles and is a proud pug mom. Follow her on Instagram: @kamalakirk