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If we told you that you could get clearer, younger, and healthier skin without using a single product, you probably wouldn’t believe us. But we’re here to tell you that it is possible, and actually, in many cases, this ancient Chinese healing technique is probably more effective than many of your beauty products.

Today we’re talking about Gua Sha, a practice that involves moving a blunt, smooth instrument (a Gua Sha) along specific energy lines to remove toxins from your lymphatic system. Don’t judge yet, hear us out, because the skin benefits are too good to miss. We spoke to Danna Omari, founder of Noy Skincare and the glowing face behind the mesmerizing facials on the Noy Skincare Insta page, to get the full rundown on why Gua Sha (pronounced gwah-shah) is the best thing for your skin, and how you can do it at home.

Gua Sha Benefits:

“Done consistently, Gua sha helps to improve the function of the skin which helps with many skin conditions; Deep lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, rosacea, acne, acne scars, pigmentation, dark circles, puffiness. It retrains the muscles of the face, relaxing them, strengthening, lifting and toning.” Danna tells us. And honestly, we’d say it’s too good to be true if we hadn’t seen the results for ourselves.

“Clients are addicted to this facial! The results are visible and it looks like you received a mini facelift! The beauty of this therapy is that you can learn and do it on yourself at home and shift your skin in a major way. That is pretty powerful!”

Check out this before and after that shows the results of one side of Gua Sha complete: You can see that the left side is significantly lifted and contoured!

 

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What Exactly is Gua Sha?

Dating back thousands of years, Gua Sha has long been used as a healing technique. Danna tells us: “Gua Sha is an incredibly relaxing therapy that is performed using gentle strokes to massage, manipulate and stimulate specific energy lines and points along the face. This helps to promote healthy lymph flow by releasing toxins that have been stuck. It also helps to iron out the fascia [connective tissue] that is affected by tension which creates a beautiful lift in the face.”

 

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Gua Sha is performed using a stone called a Gua Sha (it’s both the name of the tool used and the technique) and the stones come in all types of shapes, sizes, and materials – more on that later.

How Does Gua Sha Work?

Essentially, Gua Sha helps our skin to be more efficient by “Releasing and clearing toxic stagnant lymph and removing blockages and adhesions from the shoulders, neck, and face. By creating space, we are creating flow. With the presence of blockages (tension knots) and stagnation, there is no space for movement, for flow, and therefore the skin is not able to function as it should. If there is no space for flow of oxygen, blood, Qi (energy) [chi], lymph and nutrients, the skin starts to suffer,” Danna explains.

Gua Sha for Your Face:

gua sha Source: Dasha Petrenko/Shutterstock

Gua Sha facials are also known as the ‘Eastern facelift,’ due to its contouring effect. It also does wonders for getting rid of puffiness or under-eye discoloration, as it removes excess fluid and improves blood flow.

Gua Sha Can Help Improve Acne:

If you’re prone to acne or experiencing a breakout, Danna understands. Her experience with severe acne as a teenager and her resulting emotional journey inspired Danna to study the science of skin and make it her “life.” On her Instagram, Danna explains that “Gua Sha is so effective for acne because it encourages the drainage of stagnant (toxic) lymph so that in turn promotes healthy skin function (flow).” To use Gua Sha to improve acne, Danna uses Gua Sha on the neck. Check it out:

 

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Gua Sha for Dark Circles

Dark circles can be caused by genetics, poor circulation, and lifestyle. If dark circles are not caused by an overproduction of melanin (which causes pigmentation), then poor blood flow, lack of sleep, stress, dehydration, dietary factors or alcohol could be to blame. The good thing is, Gua Sha can help to depuff the areas and improve the appearance of dark circles over time.

Check out Danna’s Gua Sha tutorial for dark circles:

Gua Sha for Your Body

Gua Sha can be used all over the body to improve circulation, which can also relieve muscle and joint pain as well as more severe conditions. Because Gua Sha increases your blood flow, which is vital for your general health, it means that oxygen can pass to your vital organs efficiently as well as to your skin and extremities such as your hands and feet.

Gua Sha also boosts your immune system by moving bacteria and toxins away and out of your body via the lymphatic system. Danna tells us that for Gua Sha on the body, “The work is done by acupuncturists where they are scraping and rubbing to release stagnant blood and toxins.” Be prepared that if you have this done professionally, you may experience some bruising.

How to Do Gua Sha for Your Face:

Lymph-Drainage-Chart

To do Gua Sha you need two things, a Gua Sha tool and the right technique. Fortunately, Danna has an Instagram full of amazing tutorials to show you how to do it, and honestly, the best way to learn is to watch and try. Check out her 5-minute Gua Sha tutorial here.

As well as knowing where to move your Gua Sha around your face and neck, there are some other important things to know before you do Gua Sha at home. Danna shared her top tips with us:

Step 1. Hydrate: “Drink lots of water before and after to help rid those toxins from the body.”

Step 2. Prep your skin: After cleansing, apply a product that has some slip, like a facial oil or serum.

Step 3. Start with the neck: “Always start by opening up the neck. You must release tension from the neck in order to treat the face. It also brings energy up to the face.”

Step 4. Move to your face: Once you’ve done your neck, move to your face, starting at the jaw and working outward to move congestion away from the center of your face and down towards your jaw. Move your way up the face and repeat with your under-eyes, eyelids, and forehead. We like to do one side first so that we can see the visible lift.

Rules for Doing Gua Sha

Rule 1: Use your Gua Sha at a 15-degree angle (almost flat) as you massage your skin; “This is so the stone will come in contact with the skin and will benefit from its healing and rejuvenating properties.”

Rule 2: “Make sure your pressure is firm on certain areas like the neck and jaw but that its light and gentle on the rest. That will give the best results.”

Rule 3: “Make sure to support your skin with the opposite hand and always follow through into the hairline.”

How Often Should You Do Gua Sha?

“I recommend a minimum of two to five times a week. It could take you five minutes on each side by simplifying and doing the most basic routine, which still yields beautiful results or you can take your time and focus more on areas of concern.” Danna says.

Gua Sha Routine for Double Chin

Check out Danna’s routine for tightening underneath the chin.

How to Choose a Gua Sha Tool:

You’d think a stone was a stone, but Danna passionately tells us “Stone matters. I didn’t know this at first until I started experimenting on myself and on my clients and found that there is a clear difference in the end results, and some tools are almost like toys compared to the quality ones.”

Danna’s Fave Gua Shas:

Jade gua sha stonesSource: Noy Skincare

“My favorite stones are the Nefeli White Jade Stone (phenomenal results), [$175], and the dark green Nephrite Jade Gua Sha [$130] by Cecily Braden. I find that if I am going to spend time and energy on this ritual, I might as well do it the right way.”

Obviously, these are very pricey and probably not your go-to if you’re a Gua Sha newbie! Naturally, we asked Danna for her recommendations, but as a specialist in this trade, it was difficult for her to recommend anything other than the tools she’s spent years working with and trusting.

Our Fave Gua Shas

Source: White Lotus, Mount Lai

However, as dabblers in Gua Sha ourselves, we have a few more affordable tools we recommend trying before you move onto a more expensive stone. This will allow you to perfect your technique before you make the commitment. We have tried both the White Lotus Jade Gua Sha, $36, and the Mount Lai Gua Sha in Rose Quartz, $28, and were super impressed with the quality of the stones. In fact, centuries ago, the tool was traditionally made from many different materials, including carved animal bones, jade, water buffalo horn, and rose quartz.

Getting a Gua Sha Facial

 

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As with all skincare techniques and treatments, getting a trained professional is key to getting the best results, and the same goes for getting a Gua Sha facial. When we asked Danna for clues on how to find the right facialist she suggested: “I think looking for a more holistic esthetician would be the way to go.” So, do a little research on your spa and inquire about their training.

What’s the Difference Between Using a Gua Sha and a Jade Roller?

 

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Jade rollers are the more commonly Instagrammed beauty tool and work in a similar way as a Gua Sha to promote healthy lymphatic drainage, so what’s the difference? Danna explains: “Jade rollers are used to calm the skin and promote healthy lymph flow where Gua sha does the same and so much more. It gives you an instant lift by de-puffing and releasing tension.” Mainly because the pressure, control, and movement you can get with a Gua Sha tool are much more varied and powerful.

So, now that you know everything there is to know about Gua Sha, we highly recommend a green juice and a scroll down Danna’s Instagram page! It’s packed with tons of tips and tutorials on doing Gua Sha, and honestly, watching is the best way to learn.

Are you guys going to try Gua Sha? Let us know in the comments below.