Beautiful redhead woman doing skin care routine after shower, scrapping, massage facial skin with jade gua sha scrapper, body and face beauty concept, green background.

Skin Care, How To

Tools for Your Face: What is Gua Sha?

by Neutrogena
May 31, 2024

Facial tools are a valuable part of an effective skincare routine. Gua sha facial massage has many benefits for the skin, is cost-effective and easy to perform right at home. Read on to learn more about this ancient practice.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua sha may be relatively new to the modern beauty world, but this ancient practice has been used for centuries. Gua sha is rooted in Chinese medicine, and is used to promote the proper flow of energy (or "chi") throughout the body. It's believed that many health issues can come from stagnant energy stored in the body, and gua sha massage can help to keep you feeling your best.

The practice of modern gua sha in the American beauty and wellness industry is a bit different from traditional Chinese medicine usage. Traditional gua sha massage includes the use of a special tool to gently stretch and relax the muscles and tissue in the body. At home, you can practice gua sha on your face with a tool like a jade stone to improve the appearance of your skin.

The Benefits of Gua Sha

What is gua sha good for, exactly? Turns out, it has many skin benefits! When performed on the face, gua sha massage can visibly de-puff, tone and smooth the skin and give the look of a glowing complexion. As with most beauty rituals, the more regular your gua sha routine, the better the results. Not only can gua sha make your skin look healthy and beautiful, but it also feels amazing and can help de-stress your senses. And, perhaps best of all, you can do it yourself at home. Here are just some of the skin benefits of gua sha massage.

Improves the Appearance of Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Looking for a natural way to smooth the appearance of your skin? Gua sha can help with that. Research published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine states that gua sha visibly improves fine lines and wrinkles, as well as skin texture.

Stimulates Skin and Improves Circulation

Gua sha massage increases microcirculation at the site of massage, which has many benefits for those suffering from muscle pain. Try using gua sha massage on your jaw, the back of your neck or over your eyebrows to help relieve tense muscles.

Helps Decrease Inflammation

Inflammation in the skin can appear as redness or even acne and may produce a sensation of burning, itching or irritation. Interestingly, a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine shows that gua sha may provide long-lasting feelings of relief from inflammation in elderly patients. So it's definitely worth a try for upset or tender skin.

How to Use Gua Sha

Ready to get those gua sha benefits for yourself? Follow these simple steps for an effective, feel-good gua sha ritual.

Step 1: Cleanse

Wondering when to gua sha? You can perform your gua sha ritual during your regular skincare routine, morning or night. Choose the time of day that works best for you to make this part of your regular self-care ritual. It's important to start with clean skin by cleansing with the best product for your skin type. This will help the following products you use to better absorb into your skin during the massage.

Step 2: Tone

Applying a toner helps to remove any excess cleanser or impurities from the skin and ready your skin for next steps. Apply the Neutrogena® Rapid Clear 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Salicylic & Glycolic Acid Toner for Acne & Marks and allow it to dry before going to the next step.

Step 3: Apply Oil

Facial oils have loads of benefits for your skin. They are also an essential step in a gua sha massage, since oil allows the tool to glide smoothly over your skin with no tugging or pulling. Apply a generous amount of the Neutrogena® Body Oil, Light Sesame Formula For Dry Skin to your body and Neutrogena® Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Anti-Wrinkle .3% Retinol Lightweight Facial Oil to your face. If the tool begins to glide less smoothly during the massage, feel free to apply more oil — you can always pat off any excess after your massage.

Step 4: Perform Gua Sha

Now for the fun part! Holding your gua sha tool at a 45-degree angle to your face, start at the base of your neck and glide the tool against your skin in upward motions. Next, moving the stone outward and upward, glide along your jawline and chin, up over your lips and cheeks, the sides of your nose, under your eyes, over each brow bone and both sides of your forehead.

That's it! Gua sha massage, complete. If you have excess oil remaining on your skin, either massage thoroughly into your skin or pat off the excess with a tissue. Perform your gua sha ritual every day for maximum benefits.


Does gua sha hurt?

Facial gua sha shouldn't hurt or leave marks on the skin. Use a light touch when performing facial gua sha massage.

What oil should I use with gua sha?

You may use your favorite facial oil with your gua sha massage, like the Neutrogena® Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Anti-Wrinkle .3% Retinol Lightweight Facial Oil.

What serum should I use for gua sha?

You can use any serum that works for you to perform gua sha. We recommend the Neutrogena® Hydro Boost Ultra Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid for ultimate skin benefits.

Can you use body oil on your face?

Neutrogena® Body Oil – Fragrance Free may be used on the face, as well as the body. If you have extremely sensitive skin, we recommend you do a patch test before trying it on your face.

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