We’d try (almost) anything if it promised glowing, radiant, spot-free skin! Adult acne is a bugger and city-dwelling casts a murky, polluted shield against any sort of radiance! If moving to The Cotswolds isn’t an option for you then you’re going to need some skincare weapons to help combat city pollution. Aside from building a good skincare regime (we love de Mamiel’s Atmosphériques Range and REN’s Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist), you should also add Gua Sha into your life. What is Gua Sha you might ask? Facialist and founder of re:lax Skin Studio, Katie White, explains the benefits of this ancient massage technique and how you can do it from the comfort of your own bathroom.

At re:lax Skin Studio in Hackney, gua sha facials are a firm favourite with my clients and many of them are now including it in their home practice between treatments. Gua sha yields incredible results both instantly and cumulatively for all skin types. So, what is it and how can you incorporate it into your skincare regime? 

What is gua sha?
Gua sha is an ancient tool, most commonly made out of rose quartz or jade traditionally used in Chinese medicine to relieve pain and release toxins. The practitioner does this by scraping the skin to bringing blood to the surface, often leaving bruises. The increased blood flow encourages cellular repair, releases muscular tension and moves stagnant qi. 

Luckily, this is not how we use it on the face! Gua sha is used with a much lighter hand across the delicate skin of our face but some of the key objectives are the same. 

What are the benefits?
Gua sha is used with a light to medium pressure across the skin to achieve the following: 

Bye-bye breakouts – Fewer incidences of breakouts and less inflammation of blemishes or other inflammatory conditions such as rosacea, by supporting the lymphatic system to remove waste and toxins from the epidermis.

Healing – Faster wound healing time by encouraging healthy blood flow to the skin’s surface.

Plumping – Less puffiness and under-eye bags by encouraging lymphatic drainage 

Glow-getting – Improved microcirculation to the skin which encourages cellular repair as well as collagen and elastin production

Wrinkle-reducing – It releases tension from muscles which reduces depth and formation of lines. Lines form at right angles to muscles, so harder muscles equal deeper lines. 

How do I use it?
I am going to share my golden rules of gua sha with you so you can practise at home: 

Step 1

Thoroughly cleanse the skin using your favourite cleanser 

Step 2

Always use a massage medium such as a facial oil  – never gua sha on dry skin 

Step 3

Work from the neck upwards with a stroking technique. It’s best to pull up rather than push to avoid dragging or stretching the skin. Try to hold the tool as flat as possible 

Step 4

Don’t work over breakouts, broken skin, sunburn or inflammation. You should use gentle pressure, it should never hurt.


For more information, check out my
IGTV tutorials or join me at my next gua sha workshop at 2 pm, 28th July at Paper Dress Yoga, 352 Mare St, E8 1HR

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