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Looking for a soothing way to reduce puffiness and inflammation? Then it might just be time to add gua sha to your skincare routine. This skincare technique draws on traditional Chinese medicine dating back centuries and may contribute to a brighter, smoother complexion. If you’re intrigued by gua sha but are unsure how to get started, Melanie Sutrathada (@melaniesutra) is here to help. Melanie sits down with Sandra Chiu (@treatmentbylanshin), an acupuncturist, herbalist, practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, and founder of Lanshin, who breaks down how to get started with gua sha.
Sandra shares that her company’s goal is to spread the power of traditional Chinese medicine and help people improve their skincare in the process. “What we do is we treat skin disorders. I also treat cosmetic concerns and it’s all using Chinese medicine,” she explains. “That is everything behind what Lanshin is, which is really a brand that’s wanting to show people the power of Chinese medicine, its wisdom, its principles, for modern life, and for skin health.”
While gua sha may be all the rage in the 21st century, it actually dates back many hundreds of years, according to Sandra. “It’s super ancient,” Sandra says. “In fact, some records suggest that it’s even older than acupuncture. Gua sha has been a part of Chinese medicine healing for a really long time, and it’s effective, and that’s why it’s here and still around.”
To get started with gua sha, you’ll need a few tools. Gua sha involves using a special gua sha tool to gently scrape the skin on your face. But it’s important to prepare the skin for the routine before you get started. Sandra recommends starting by prepping your skin with a hydrating mist, like the Hydrating Accelerator by Josh Rosebrook. “You want to mist your skin generously,” Sandra explains. “I like to press it into my skin with my hands.”
Once your skin is hydrated, it’s time to add a few drops of oil. “You don’t need to use too much. I only use like four to five drops,” Sandra says as she gently pats the oil onto her face and neck. “You can press that into your skin.”
Then, it’s time to start the gua sha routine. Sandra begins with her neck before moving on to her face, gently stroking her neck with the gua sha tool in an upward motion. “I do all my upstrokes first, and then if I want to come down, then I do all of my downstrokes,” Sandra explains. “You just need to worry about going one direction at a time. So what you wouldn’t do is go up and down like you’re painting a wall. It’s one direction at a time.”
Sandra recommends doing five to 10 strokes on each area of skin before moving to the next. Simply repeat this process across your face and neck, beginning with upward strokes and moving on to downward strokes. Once you have covered the skin on your face and neck, the routine is complete!
Sandra claims that gua sha can not only brighten your complexion, but can even help with skin conditions like acne. “The types of benefits that you’ll see from doing gua sha correctly and well is smoother skin, brighter complexions, and less puffiness,” she says. “I think it actually also helps with acne as long as the acne is not open, it can help acne heal faster.”
She concludes by recommending anyone who is interested in learning more about gua sha to seek out practitioners of Chinese medicine. “Follow Chinese medicine practitioners, because this is a Chinese medicine technique,” she says. “If you stick to the Chinese medicine practitioners, we’ll be able to teach you in an effective way, but also an accurate way.”
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