We’d like to talk about two skincare tool trends that have recently taken the beauty market by storm: the jade roller and gua sha tools.
First up is the jade roller. The claim behind these little rollers is that they would help soothe skin, help products absorb deeper, erase wrinkles, and reduce puffiness. Jade is both considered to have balancing and purifiying qualities in the healing world (rose quartz is also used for rollers as it is known for soothing).
We’re here to tell you that it’s all just hype.
There is no scientific evidence that proves jade rollers smooth away wrinkles or turn back sagging skin. It’s logically impossible and it may be doing damage to your skin.
“… Most people don’t have ongoing lymphatic issues in their facial skin, and even if they did, there’s no proof that facial massage of this kind can help,” said American talk radio host, author, and businesswoman Paula Bergoin, also known as The Cosmetics Cop. “But even if it did help, any benefit would be temporary. More to the point, massaging skin can actually overstimulate circulation, exacerbating such issues as sensitive skin, rosacea, or broken capillaries.”
The lymph nodes don't work like toilet pipes. They won’t get drained because you’re pushing or pulling fluids by applying pressure. All you’re doing is tugging on the skin.
If you like the feel of a jade roller on your skin (we admit – it can feel refreshing), use it gently. If you have puffy eyes, the ol’ laying down for 10 minutes with a cool slices of cucumber on your closed eyes is more effective.
Gua sha is said to be good for lymphatic drainage, relieving facial and jaw tension, and lifting and contouring the skin. It is often made out of jade, rose quartz or other crystals, and come in various shapes that are meant to contour to your face.
Gua sha has origins in Chinese medicine that predates acupuncture. Its direct translation is “scraping” which is essentially raking the flat, handheld tool over the body to attempt better circulation and stimulation of the lymphatic system. Gua means ‘the tool to scrape the skin’ and sha means ‘the redness that appears from scraping’. Don’t be confused by the many studies that tout its effectiveness; those are usually focused on the effects of traditional gua sha practices on the body.
Like many American dermatologists and plastic surgeons, we turn back to the Cosmetics Cop for her take.
“Gua’sha is truly one of the worse skin care treatments I’ve seen in a while,” said Begoun. “I have no words for how terrible it is for skin because it’s so easy to overdo and increase the risk of damage. Gua’sha almost instantly generates inflammation (check out the videos where the model’s skin is clearly turning red during the process: that’s inflammation, not healthy blood flow—healthy blood flow should not show up as red on any part of your body).”
We know it’s difficult not to get suckered into marketing (we have!), especially when there are big promises in the message! But we are here to tell you not to waste your money on gimmicky skincare tools.