Sandra Lanshin Chiu, L.Ac and founder ofLanshin, a traditional Chinese medicine dermatology brand, walks us through how to do facial Gua Sha practice.
Sandra says, “Before we get into products, it’s important to note a few things. Don't do Gua Sha on your skin if you have an active rash like dermatitis, a sunburn or eczema. Skip reactive areas. For those with rosacea, it’s possible to do facial Gua Sha, but be extra gentle and test to see how your skin responds. If within the next 24 hours, you see increased redness or irritation, skip the hot spots and focus instead on inactive areas. I believe it’s ok to do Gua Sha if you have acne, but make sure it’s not bleeding, oozing, or open skin. You can put a pimple patch on those before you do Gua Sha. Gua sha can actually help acne inflammation heal faster. Note that sometimes increased circulation caused by Gua Sha can help whiteheads come up and out if they're under the skin.”
How do I use gua sha for acne?
“In Chinese medicine practice we view acne as a combination of “stagnation” and “excess heat.” When treating acne, we think about how to increase movement and circulation, and cool the heat. When stagnation builds in the skin for too long, it can build extra heat. Think of a creek that stops flowing, causing water to pool and linger. What happens to the temperature of the water? The temperature increases and debris builds up, instead of flowing away. The excess heat is inflammation. When we think of inflammation, we think of something being too hot. So, congestion can build heat, thus we want to move the energy and circulation in order to dissipate and cool the excess heat.”
What skincare do I use for gua sha?
“Start with a generous application of a hydrating mist. Then, massage the fluid into your skin. If your skin is dry, you can apply another layer. Then, you're going to do only 3-4 drops of facial oil on the face, and about the same amount for your neck. Use what works for your skin type because the skin is bio-individual. Check to see if you have enough oil so that your tool can glide effortlessly, but without being an excess grease slick. If you need more, apply a few more drops at a time. Once you’v got some slip on the skin, you can start using your Gua Sha tool. Hold it with the flat surface of the skin contacting as much skin as possible.”
How do I use a gua sha tool?
TheLanshin Pro Gua Sha tool was designed by Sandra out of her professional expertise. It was designed to hold the functionality of multiple tools in one. It has different curves and angles to fit different parts of your face and body.Lanshin Gua Sha toolsare not machine made. Each tool is individually hand-crafted, cut, and polished smooth. When you use this tool, aim to feel the flat surface of the body against your skin rather than the edge. Keep the skin taught. Start at the jawline and go down to the collarbone. Don't go back and forth. Just go downwards or diagonally, and when you reach the bottom, start again. Feel the groove of your muscle, and just follow it all the way down. This stimulates circulation and eases tight muscle and tissue. You can also hold the tool vertically. When you use the flat surface, it’s much more gentle than using the thinner edge.
How do I use gua sha for the under-eye area?
First, if you want to work on the under-eye area, it’s helpful to first work with the cheek. If the cheeks are tight, there's no circulation passage for the eyes. Pull the skin on the cheekbone taught, and with the flat surface of the tool, follow the path of the cheekbone bone to the temple. If you turn the tool vertically, you can get that whole under-eye and cheek area.
For the eye area, you can boost it with a mist and oil. Always moisturize your under-eye area so there's enough slip. You can use the point of the tool. Don't dig the point into the under-eye area, but apply the flat surface of it. Just pull the skin on the temple back to create an anchor, and with a very light amount of pressure, stroke from your temple to the side of your nose - the side of your nose by the inner eye. But, think less about pushing into the eye and more about stroking towards the side of the nose. You can also stroke outwards from the side of the nose to the temple. You can do each direction in one minute. This is my favorite stroke when I'm in a rush.
Can I use gua sha for forehead lines?
Hold the tool horizontally above the eyebrow. Choose an eyebrow to do first. Start from the innermost part of the eyebrow, and follow the shape of your brow bone to your temple. So, you'll follow the brow bone with the tool’s flat surface, and then you'll do a slight upwards movement to reach the hairline directly above it. If you have a prominent brow bone, you might have to tilt the tool a bit so you feel it along the front and underside of your bone.
Another stroke you can do is going from your hairline to the space between your eyebrows. You want to go downwards because when your forehead muscles are exposed to tension, you become alert, and they go upwards. For this stroke, you can hold it horizontally or vertically.
When you're well-circulated, you feel like your face is returning back to where it should be. You can do a minimum of 3-5 strokes in each area, and that will take around 7 minutes. You can do more strokes though and finish in up to 30 minutes.
Gua Sha is about helping elevate the vitality in your body. The cosmetic benefits are like an "added benefit" of increased health. But at the same time, vitality is the root of everything you want in beauty. Remember, for facial Gua Sha, always apply the flat surface of the tool instead of the edge. Don't scrape quickly with hard pressure. Use a slow stroke and medium to light pressure. Also, the best resources for Gua Sha are Chinese medicine practitioners who are trained and licensed to practice Gua Sha. When seeking guidance, look for practitioners who have an L.Ac or D.Ac. after their names.