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Dermatologist’s Take on Popular Trends Series

With new skincare trends constantly on the rise, we know it’s hard to research them all. Our Dermatologist’s Take on Popular Trends Series blog is here to help! This month, Dr. Kelso is discussing Gua Sha and giving us her expert advice on whether to add this technique to your routine or leave it behind! Learn more in our latest blog below.


What is Gua Sha?

Dr. Kelso: It is a traditional Chinese practice in which a tool is used to scrape the skin.  In short, it is a tool-assisted massage.


What are the benefits of Gua Sha?

Dr. Kelso: Proponents of the practice say it improves circulation. It has been used on the body to improve muscle and neck pain.  On the face, its most likely effect is by improving lymphatic drainage and so reducing puffiness.


Are there cons to Gua Sha?

Dr. Kelso: If done aggressively, it can create petechiae, or tiny little bruises. It should definitely be avoided in people on blood thinners. For people with really sensitive skin, like those with rosacea, that kind of manipulation may create redness and irritation and should be avoided as well.


How often should you use the tool?

Dr. Kelso: Once a week should be the correct frequency.


What’s the best technique for Gua Sha?

Dr. Kelso: The best technique is to divide the face in half and scrape with the tool outward in a smooth straight line.  Do this systematically until you have covered the whole face. You should notice some redness but nothing more.


What should you keep in mind when choosing your tool?

Dr. Kelso: You should choose a tool that has a smooth edge and is easy to maintain and keep clean.


How would you rate Gua Sha on the glow-up potential scale of 0-5?

Dr. Kelso: I would give this a 1 on the scale.  It is largely unproven, but if you enjoy the process, then go for it!  This can be done on the body as well for muscle pain, which makes a lot more sense in terms of disrupting adhesions.

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