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What's the Deal with a Gua Sha? Do We Need It?

Folks, I almost bought a Gua Sha when its price dropped on a particular sale. But, my sister said it's not worth it — nor is it a necessity. And that made me wonder what is this item that beauty influencers and TikTokers cannot stop gushing about. Is it genuinely magical? Does it sculpt your face as it claims? Or is it plain, old (but proper) marketing that lures us into buying more things that we don't need? These thoughts led me into a rabbit hole; from looking up the benefits of a Gua Sha to reading up strange beauty trends like post-biotic skincare, I'm now armed with information that I'm quite unsure how to use. But, let's get back to Gua Sha.

What's a Gua Sha?

For the uninitiated, a Gua Sha is a flat stone usually made from a semi-precious stone like jade, amethyst, or quartz. Produced in different shapes, they are used for facial massages. Several brands claim they sculpt the face and reduce wrinkles, acne, and other skin issues. Honestly, that made me wonder—is this flat pink stone capable of bestowing me with cheekbones that'll put the cheekbones of Naomi Campbell or Keira Knightley at shame? Well, that's a tempting thought. One that urges you to purchase one immediately. But, I've taken to watching videos by dermatologists on YouTube. And that changes everything.

A quick search on Gua Sha and Doctorly (I swear by their channel) led me to this video, which introduced me to a different story. That Gua Sha isn't a stone but an ancient Chinese massage that involves scraping skin. I know, that doesn't sound pleasant at all (please don't Google its pictures), but Gua Sha literally translates to scraping skin or redness of skin. Back in the day, a Gua Sha was crafted from a buffalo horn, and the treatment involved scraping skin to the point of bleeding or injuring. No, really!

According to The Skin Games, coins or similar items were used to massage those in coma or illness, as people believed it would obliterate illness. You know, from the skin. Thank god, a Gua Sha works a lot differently now—in a way, it doesn't implicate scraping the skin or leaving abrasions and scars behind.

Also, what's interesting is that Taiwan is conducting clinical trials to gauge the role of Gua Sha in chronic knee pains. Skincare took a significant leap with this stone, though. From Sephora and Cult Beauty to Indian brands like MCaffeine and Nykaa—most brands and retailers are now producing a Gua Sha. With wellness evolving as a critical element in the beauty industry, there's a demand for not just a Gua Sha, but also jade rollers, cryo freeze tools, skincare range with superfoods, activated pearls, and fermented products (remember the rice water madness?). Often marketed as revolutionary or endorsed by celebrities, some fail to live up to their lofty claims.

So, Should You Get a Gua Sha?

If it tickles your fancy, then why not? If your sole purpose of getting one is to reduce puffiness and relax your muscles, it won't hurt getting one. But it won't diminish hyperpigmentation, nor will it sculpt your bones; cheekbones like that of Naomi Campbell are a far-fetched dream, too. I spoke to Sam, who owns two pieces of Gua Sha, and she says, "Gua Sha isn't something one needs but just a luxury. The only benefit is it offers uniform pressure as opposed to your hand or fingers. I use mine for de-puffing my face; if you have water retention or puffy face, it's great to use it. You can also refrigerate it for cold-pressure." Sam also told me that it doesn't matter if it's made from jade, rose, or ceramic, but it's something you can include in your skincare routine if needed.

Well, those were my thoughts (or not) on how I stopped myself from buying one. In an impending post, I'll talk about other skincare trends that aren't as incredible as they sound. Maybe, I'll throw in some deets on how some TikTokers (or should we call them skinfluencers?) are using lubes as primers. Till then, bye!

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