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What is gua sha? Everything you need to know about this skin-care phenomenon, tips

It was first used to help with ailments from pain to early onset of fever and illness and now is increasingly popular for facial skin care.

In TIkTok videos that are surging in popularity, people are seen gliding a smooth, stone tool across their faces and then relishing in the outcome. What is gua sha, and why is it on the rise now?
In TIkTok videos that are surging in popularity, people are seen gliding a smooth, stone tool across their faces and then relishing in the outcome. What is gua sha, and why is it on the rise now?
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It’s all over TikTok: gua sha.

In videos that are surging in popularity, people are seen gliding a smooth, stone tool across their faces and relishing in the outcome. The effects show results that range from decreased puffiness to newly chiseled features.

What is gua sha, and why is it on the rise?

Sandra Lanshin Chiu, a licensed acupuncturist who founded the healing studio Lanshin, believes the pandemic played a part in increased interest surrounding gua sha, a skincare and wellness technique that originates in Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM. The uptick in video calls and Zoom meetings has magnified interest in our faces and skin health.

People are paying attention to the practice. The hashtag #guasha has been used on TikTok more than 379 million times, and Google trends shows a spike in searches for the term.

What is gua sha?

Though gua sha has gained popularity in the United States recently, it is a practice that has been used for thousands of years, explains Angela Chau Gray, co-founder of skincare line Yina, which is rooted in TCM.

Gua sha was initially practiced on the body, Gray explains, and it was first used to help with an assortment of ailments, from pain to early onsets of fever and illness.

“‘Gua’ just means scraping and ‘sha’ just means the kind of the redness... that forms,” Gray explains.

Facial gua sha is being used by a lot of people because of its accessibility.
Facial gua sha is being used by a lot of people because of its accessibility.
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Facial gua sha is a technique that was formed out of the body practice and does not aim to create an intense “sha” or redness on the skin.

Chiu describes body gua sha as ”more aggressive” and generally only performed by licensed TCM practitioners or in an East Asian family, where as facial gua sha uses a “much gentler, softer touch and can be learned for self-care.”

Gray says facial gua sha is being used more because of its accessibility.

What does gua sha do?

Practiced correctly, Chiu says, facial gua sha “stimulates and improves circulation of blood, fluids, and energy in the skin and underlying tissue. Improved circulation creates visible changes including but not limited to reduced puffiness, smoother complexion, softened lines, reduced sagging, sculpted and lifted appearance.”

One of her favorite uses for facial gua sha is releasing tension and knots in the face, neck and shoulders.

Fore best results, Gray says consistency is key.

“If you’re consistently doing it, consistently bringing circulation to your skin, you’ll feel the glow,” she says.

Tips for gua sha beginners

  • Prep your skin. ”Use a hydrating mist or alcohol-free toner followed by a facial oil formulated for your skin type. You need enough to get the necessary glide” Chiu says. Gray says avoid “dragging or grabbing of the skin.”
  • Use slow, gentle strokes and light to medium pressure. ”Practicing facial gua sha too hard or fast may result in some ‘sha,’ or red marks,” Chiu says. “Sha isn’t permanent, but it’s not what you’re going for with facial gua sha.”
  • Use lateral and upward motions on your face. ”I usually hold one side of my face and do half my face at a time and glide the tool in an upward direction,” Gray says.
  • Use downward motions in certain areas. ”On the side and the back of the neck, go downwards because that just helps with draining the lymph nodes,” Gray says.
  • Avoid chilled tools. ”Don’t store your facial gua sha tools in the fridge or freezer,” Chiu says. “We generally avoid using cold tools on the skin and body because cold constricts circulation.”
  • Take advantage of tutorials. Chiu makes YouTube videos for her subscribers on the Lanshin channel with tips about gua sha. Yina also offers masterclasses for those looking to learn more about gua sha and other TCM subjects.

Read more at usatoday.com