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What is facial Gua Sha and how do you do it yourself at home?

What is facial Gua Sha and how do you do it yourself at home?
PHOTO: Pexels

You’ve probably heard of Gua Sha before or even tried it at a traditional Chinese medicine clinic. But there’s also a derivation of this technique that you can try on your face. Facial Gua Sha has gained more popularity recently over social media.

But what does it do exactly? Does it hurt? Will it make your skin red? And how do you do it yourself at home? We decided to ask an expert and find out more.

Ask The Expert is a new series where we find experts and ask them our most pressing questions about all things concerning beauty, health, and wellness. First up, facial Gua Sha.

We speak with Dr Chen at Yong Kang TCM Clinic to learn more about what it is, the benefits, and how we can do it ourselves at home.


What is Gua Sha?

As Dr Chen explains, “Gua Sha is a therapeutic method in TCM and it is widely used in Asia. By using a surface flattening technique we call ‘Gua’ and the petechiae and red rash similar to millet seed we call it ‘Sha’ are induced. There are a lot of different forms of Gua Sha and it all depends on the practitioner’s preference.”

What are the benefits of facial Gua Sha?


Gua Sha has multiple benefits for the overall health and appearance of the skin. Dr Chen explains, “It can help to release the tension of the muscles. By pressing a deep pressure on the skin with the Gua Sha tool it can get into some ‘sticky’ or knotted areas to release the tension.”


“It also can help with detoxification. Gua Sha can help to remove blackheads and remove 'qi' stagnation in the meridian channel.”

It can also help add a glowing finish to the skin as “Gua Sha regulates the 'qi' flow in our body and increases the circulation. That way, it results in a dewy and glowing complexion.”

Gua Sha can also help to drain lymph and shape the skin with regular usage.

As you use the Gua Sha tool on your face, you might notice your face is more contoured than before and while the slimming effect is mostly temporary – it can last longer over time with regular practice.

How often should you do it and when should you avoid it?

The recommended routine for a facial gua sha is around two to three times a week or every three days.

Dr Chen emphasises, “The skin on our face is very delicate so we don’t recommend performing this treatment every day. Remember not to overdo it and give your skin a break every now and then.”

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While gua sha holds many benefits, it’s important to note that it’s not suitable for everyone. Those who are pregnant, for one, should avoid it. Along with cancer patients or diabetics.

Dr Chen also notes that people who struggle with active acne breakouts or broken skin like open wounds and scratches should avoid gua sha as it might aggravate the skin even more.

People who have bleeding disorders or take anticoagulant medicine should also avoid this TCM technique.


What are some techniques we can practice at home on our own?

Dr Chen shares, “For your home Facial Gua Sha, we can separate it into three easy steps. First, you should apply facial oil or serums on your face.

Secondly, for beginners, you can start on the chin and angle the Gua Sha tool at around 45 degrees and go to the ears.

Then, from the cheekbones move the tool along to the ear. Also, along the eyebrow to the temples, and the last part is above the eyebrow to the hairline. Simply follow this procedure and repeat every movement around five to 10 times.”

This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.

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