By now, you probably know how essential it is to wash your make-up brushes, but the cleanliness of your skincare tools is just as important. Be honest with yourself: have you washed your facial rollers and gua sha tools recently? The logic behind why you should is simple: "Would you use a dirty towel over and over again on your body?" asks Five Seasons TCM acupuncturist and herbalist. Kai Yim. Obviously not.
"Similar to our makeup brushes, bacteria can accumulate [on gua sha tools] and cause rashes and infections," warns a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics, Dr. Sheila Farhang.
Meet the expert
- Kai Yim is an acupuncturist and herbalist at TCM Five Seasons.
- Sheila FarhangMD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Avant Dermatology and Aesthetics.
- Dani Schenone is a Spirit body specialist in holistic well-being.
Even if you think there's no build-up on your gua sha, Yim says the very environment in which it's left can cause bacteria to accumulate. And since most people leave their gua sha tools in their bathroom among the rest of their skincare regimen, you can make an educated guess about what kind of bacteria might be present. Since you probably don't want this or any other infection-causing dirt making its way onto your face, read the best ways to clean your gua sha tools, according to the pros.
More about Gua Sha
Gua Sha tools are not state-of-the-art skin care devices, they are rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and date back thousands of years. Gua Sha tools have been shown to increase circulation in the treated area and tend to benefit women more than men. Although they are known today for their face-lifting benefits, they can also be used on the body, which is why Yim believes differentiation is key.
"There's a difference between gua sha for the face and body and medical gua sha," she says. "Depending on the area you're treating, you'll then consider the type, size and material of the tool. Facial gua sha has a much gentler technique and is generally safe for most to do at home. Medical or body gua sha is generally used in conjunction with acupuncture and used as a medical therapy and can treat a wide variety of ailments, such as body aches and pains (especially acute and fixed pains), early flu and bronchitis, migraines, hepatitis ( not a long list).
Since body gua sha can have such wide-ranging effects, Yim says the practice is best left to the pros. "If you're looking for medical gua sha as a treatment, please consult a licensed Chinese medicine practitioner, so they can properly diagnose and assess treatment from there," she says.