Gua Sha vs Jade Roller For Lymphatic Drainage [Do They Work?!]

Gua sha and facial rolling have become ultra-trendy in the at-home self-care space. They’ve become skincare staples for many wellness enthusiasts and are even thought to be like a “natural facelift” or “Eastern Botox.” But are these skin-enhancing tools legit? Gua sha vs jade roller – what’s the difference between the two?

Whether you wake up with a puffy face or you’re just looking for some self-care, this article is for you. Let’s dive into all the details on gua sha and face rolling. Keep reading to learn more!

Gua Sha Vs Jade Roller 2

Note: This article contains affiliate links, meaning In On Around will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me maintain the site. As always, I value full transparency & only work with brands I love and trust.

What Is Gua Sha?

Gua sha, pronounced “gwah shah,” loosely translates to “scraping, rubbing, or pushing” in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It’s been used for thousands of years in ancient cultures like 7th century China. It’s not a new practice by any means!

Gua sha is also known as jade scraping, skin scraping, spooning, or coining. Essentially, gua sha involves lightly massaging your face with a specific tool to assist in circulation and lymphatic drainage. The gentle scraping helps to push excess lymphatic fluid outwards toward the lymph nodes… as long as it’s done the right way!

They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials (most are a type of stone) – some with more jagged edges, while others are smoother.

What Is Jade Rolling?

Facial rolling is a delicate skincare tool that has a jade stone attached to a small handle that can be rolled across the skin. Like gua sha, jade rollers or facial rollers are another facial massage tool. Facial rollers have also been around for thousands of years and were used in ancient China.

A jade roller is almost like gua sha’s fraternal sister!

Gua sha and jade rollers have distinct differences.

Face rollers are usually gentler and don’t stimulate the lymphatic system as significantly as gua sha, yet they can be more convenient than gua sha and can be used quickly in a pinch. They don’t require the use of two hands, so one can easily be used while multitasking.

It’s called jade rolling when the stone is comprised of jade, however, they can also be found in a wide variety of materials like amethyst, clear quartz, or even metal.

Natural Face Gua Sha

Benefits of Gua Sha and Facial Rolling

Gua sha and facial rolling are thought to help with a number of conditions:

  • Improves temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Reduces puffiness and inflammation
  • Help with lymphatic drainage & fluid build-up
  • Aids in a glowing complexion
  • Creates a more contoured face
  • Promotes circulation and blood flow
    • This is also known as the movement of “qi” or energy throughout the body in TCM
  • Evens skin tone
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Smooths fascia beneath the skin
  • Reduces tension
  • Encourages skin elasticity
  • Stimulates collagen production
  • Improves skincare product penetration

Scientific studies around this topic are limited, however, facial massage has been proven to improve skin blood flow and improve neck pain. [1, 2, 3] Full-body gua sha is also potentially linked to improved muscle recovery and may be longer-lasting for back pain than other treatments. [4, 5]

Side Effects of Gua Sha or Facial Rolling

Let’s dive into the potential side effects of gua sha or face rolling. These are important things to note!

Can Gua Sha Cause Acne?

Yes, gua sha can cause acne if the tool is not properly cleaned or if you’re using comedogenic facial oils.

If you’re suffering from any active wounds or active acne breakouts, it’s best to avoid gua sha or massage in those areas. You don’t want to further irritate your skin or spread bacteria! Let any open wounds fully heal before re-incorporating this practice.

Never use gua sha or face rollers on open, infected areas.

Can Gua Sha Cause Wrinkles?

Yes, gua sha can cause wrinkles, but only when it’s not used properly! When used the right way, it’s thought to actually help prevent wrinkles. In order to prevent wrinkles, it’s important to use oil, cleanser, or lotion on your skin for proper lubrication.

Can Gua Sha Slim Your Face?

Yes, gua sha is thought to help with facial slimming. The light stroking motions on the face can move stagnant lymphatic fluid, which can help reduce inflammation and fluid retention (which can cause a puffy face). If you’re looking to slim your face and have more contoured facial features, it’s worth giving gua sha a try!

Are Gua Sha Results Permanent?

No, gua sha results are not permanent, per se, however with consistency you can see regular results. Doing gua sha once will not make much of a difference. Change is made when it’s used consistently week after week. Incorporate it into your routine!

Is Gua Sha Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, gua sha is generally safe during pregnancy, however, if you have certain skin disorders, bleed or bruise easily, or take certain medications, it’s best to speak with your doctor. It’s always best to chat with your OBGYN if you’re looking to incorporate a new skincare practice, especially while pregnant.

Those with deep vein thrombosis or major disease should also check with their doctor (like a naturopathic doctor or one familiar with Eastern medicine).

How Often Should You Gua Sha?

It’s best to gua sha about 2-3 times per week, but, as always, listen to your skin! If you can’t tolerate it that much, use caution. Both gua sha and facial rolling should be very gentle. Using too much pressure can irritate your skin.

Gua Sha Tips

Gua Sha Directions [5 Simple Steps]

Curious about how to gua sha properly? We’ve got you covered! If you’re using a jade roller, follow the same general steps. Follow these 5 simple steps:

1 – Cleanse Skin

Before starting, always make sure your face is properly cleansed to prevent unwanted breakouts. Properly prepping your skin is key!

2 – Apply Oil

Apply a generous amount of non-comedogenic facial oil to clean and damp skin. It’s important that it’s non-comedogenic so as to not clog your pores. FYI – Facial oils with coconut oil CAN clog your pores.

If a facial oil is not available, facial cream, lotion or soap can be used. You want to create a slick skin surface.

Very important note: you want to use a generous amount of oil so you don’t tug at your skin!

Gua Sha vs Jade Roller For Lymphatic Drainage

3 – Sweep Along Neck, Jawline, Cheeks, Brows, & Forehead

Now… the fun part!

With the gua sha tool flat at a 5-15 degree angle, lightly sweep it around your face, as shown in the above diagram. Make sure you’re properly manipulating the angle of the tool so as to not cause unnecessary skin wrinkling. The tool should be as flat as possible.

Move slowly & mindfully with gentle pressure, otherwise, you’re at risk of bruising or increasing inflammation. The number of strokes on each side of the face should be even and symmetrical – aim for about 4 sweeps per spot.

Move in the direction of your lymph nodes with light pressure.

  • Neck: It’s best to start AND end with your neck. At the end of your gua sha, the outer part of your neck (under your ear) should be swept downward towards your clavicle.
  • Jawline: Hold your chin with one hand and sweep the tool from the chin to the ear.
  • Cheeks: Start at the center of your face and gently sweep outwards towards your ears.
  • Brows: Start at the center of your two brows and sweep outwards, gently avoiding the eye area.
  • Forehead: Sweep upwards from your eyebrow to your hairline.

It’s best to avoid the sensitive undereye area. If you want to target the under-eyes, it’s best to use a facial roller instead of gua sha. Always support the skin with the opposite hand to prevent unnecessary tugging or wrinkling. Gua sha is a two-handed routine for this reason.

4 – Remove Excess Oil

To avoid unwanted breakouts, remove any excess oil on your skin. Make sure you apply non-comedogenic oil, which won’t clog pores (see the bottom of this article for some recs)!

5 – Clean Tools

Always make sure to properly clean your gua sha tool after each use to prevent any build-up of bacteria. Always wash it well with hot water and soap. Some great non-toxic soap options are available in the In On Around Shop.

Make sure you store it in a safe place – it’s fragile and can easily break.

Your gua sha technique matters!

Jade Vs Rose Quartz – What’s Better?

Both jade and rose quartz are great options! Their functionality is nearly the same. Rose quartz is a harder stone than jade, so it’s usually a bit more difficult to curve and manufacture (hence it might be more expensive). Rose quartz is also a bit cooler to the touch.

Can You Use Gua Sha And Jade Roller Together?

Yes, you can absolutely use a gua sha and jade roller together in your skincare routine! Both tools can help with lymphatic drainage, but gua sha is usually a deeper facial massage. To avoid irritation on your face, it’s best to alternate between the two tools.

Should You Use Gua Sha or a Jade Roller First?

You can use either first – it’s completely up to you! Gua sha usually provides a deeper massage, while jade rollers mostly impact the skin’s surface. They can be used at any time of the day, however, morning may be best if you wake up with a puffy face.

The Best Gua Sha & Facial Rolling Tools

Check out the best gua sha and facial roller tools! There are plenty of great options available.

Gua Sha

Facial Rollers

Facial Oil

Final Thoughts – The Bottom Line on Gua Sha vs Jade Roller

Clearly, both gua sha and facial rollers can both be great options! Personally, I prefer gua sha since it’s more effective at stimulating lymphatic fluid movement. Don’t expect it to solve all of your skincare woes, but it can certainly help!

There’s more of a learning curve with gua sha, but when done properly it can make a big difference… just make sure you’re using oil.

Pin this “Gua Sha Vs Jade Roller” pic on Pinterest for future reference!

Gua Sha Vs Jade Roller Pin

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the below FAQs to learn more about: gua sha sets, gua sha for double chin, gua sha for face slimming, gua sha oil, gua sha benefits for your face, gua sha tips, gua sha and jade roller routine:

What are the health benefits of gua sha?

Gua Sha Vs Jade Roller

Gua sha can potentially help with reducing puffiness and inflammation, aid in lymphatic drainage, and increase blood circulation.

Can gua sha cause acne?

Gua Sha Vs Jade Roller

Yes, gua sha can cause acne if the tool is not properly cleaned or if you’re using comedogenic facial oils.

Can gua sha slim your face?

Gua Sha Vs Jade Roller

Yes, gua sha is thought to help with facial slimming. The light stroking motions on the face can move stagnant lymphatic fluid, which can help reduce inflammation and fluid retention (which can cause a puffy face). If you’re looking to slim your face and have more contoured facial feat

Can you use both gua sha and a facial roller?

Gua Sha Vs Jade Roller

Yes, you can absolutely use a gua sha and jade roller together in your skincare routine!

Have you tried gua sha or face rolling?

Let me know your thoughts and key takeaways in the comments below!

You can watch our web story here.


Want to read more? Check out my other articles here!

References on Gua Sha Vs Jade Roller: Real Simple, Sabbia Co, Body Unburdened, Essential Moves To Wellness, Healthy Maven, Plantifique, Byrdie, Knesko, Children of Earth Skincare, Eminence Organics, Medical News, Zove Beauty, Cheeky Physique, Best Life, Primally Pure, Dukes Avenue, Personal Care Routine, La Coess, Grove Collaborative, Style Seat, Lifestyle Asia, Herbivore, Glamour, Sdara, Wildling

Copyright In On Around LLC 2022 ©. The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided by this website should not be used as individual medical advice and you should always consult your doctor for individual recommendations and treatment. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis. Related to this site, there are no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness, or timeliness. In On Around LLC assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site.

About Catherine Power

Catherine Power is the Founder and CEO of In On Around. She is a Harvard-educated Ingredient Safety and Environmental Toxins expert. Catherine has a background in Food Science, Personal Care Quality, and Regulatory Compliance.

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