Do those jade rollers and gua sha tools actually do anything? We asked a dermatologist.

We've all seen 'em slinking around. Looking all cute and aesthetic on Instagram, hanging out in a pastel coloured beauty fridges. But do those crystal facial tools actually do anything?

Y'see it's been a while since they popped on the mainstream beauty scene, but the buzz around gua sha tools and jade rollers hasn't really gone away. It's still very much A Thing. 

And it's not only cause they're super pretty and look good on your feed. Gosh, don't be so shallow, you guys! The fact is that they're touted as something that can fix just about any skin concern - from puffiness to dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles. 

There are a whole HEAP of benefits floating around.

Watch: Ever had a facial massage before? Here's Amy Clark experiencing The Dermal Diary's signature IntraOral facial massage. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

So, what's the deal? Are they actually worth spending money on? Do we really need them?

Well, dear friends. You've come to the right place. 

We're going to delve into what jade rollers and gua sha tools are, and what science has to say (see: dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour from Bespoke Skin Technology) about whether they work.


What are crystal massaging tools?

Before we dive right in, it's probably worth giving you a bit of a rundown on what crystal facial massaging tools are, hey?

Well, basically a jade roller is a small handheld facial roller (kinda looks like a mini paint roller) made from - you guessed it - jade. You’ll also see ones made from crystals like rose quartz and amethyst. (Good to know: not all of them are made from authentic crystals).

As well as hand-held rollers, crystal massaging tools also come in the shape of flat stones (called gua sha tools).

Listen: So, what do jade and rose quartz facial rollers actually do? Post continues below.

But as we mentioned before - the use of crystals for facial massaging isn't exactly a new thing. It's been around for yonks. Like, centuries.

The early versions of these tools originate from China, where they were used as part of ancient Chinese beauty rituals for their metaphysical benefits and intrinsic healing energy. 

Fast forward to 2021, and jade rollers and gua sha tools have been commercialised into a skincare trend, popping up in the mainstream beauty stream as the answer to pretty much all of our skin woes.

This has obviously sparked concerns about the appropriation of these traditional tools, and how they've been reduced to a monetised aesthetic practice.


Do gua sha tools and jade rollers actually work?

If you give jade rollers a quick Google, chances are you'll find a lot of different claims ranging from 'face slimming', lifting and contouring to detoxifying and reducing the signs of ageing. There's a lot.

And many of these claims are often attributed to lymphatic drainage, and how the massaging action of the tool helps remove excess fluid from the skin.

But here's the thing: most people don't have a lymphatic dysfunction - that is, a poorly working lymphatic system. What's more, there's no scientific evidence that this kind of facial massaging can actually help with lymphatic drainage. And even if it did, the result would be temporary.

As well as this, it looks like the talk around the benefits of facial rollers 'detoxifying' the skin is utter BS. Why? Because removing toxins from your skin is physiologically impossible

In terms of lifting and contouring the face, Dr Armour said facial rollers can't target the muscles enough to to be able to stimulate muscle tone.

"I know that they’ve been around for centuries. But, I think that jade rollers and gua sha tools are just that – hype. They are not going to change the contour of your face, as has been claimed," said Dr Armour.

Oh. Well, can a jade roller help skincare products absorb better?

Another big claim you might have seen floating around out there is the ability of facial rollers to help 'push' serums into the skin so they can penetrate more effectively. We hate to be *that* guy, but Dr Armour is calling BS on this one, too.


A facial roller isn't going to help your products penetrate any better than your digits, friend.

"They are also not going to improve penetration of skincare, as they are not designed to create channels into the skin to enhance penetration (as dermal rollers do)," said Dr Armour. 

Why? Cause, science said so. The way in which different ingredients penetrate the skin is based on their molecular size. Meaning? If it's small enough to penetrate, it will. If the molecular size is too big, using a facial roller will not make it smaller.

Can a jade roller help with circulation?

"Just like any form of massage (including manual with hands), these tools will temporarily improve circulation to the skin," said Dr Armour.

So, while they may not work at a deeper level to improve the tone of your skin or make you breakfast in the morning, they will help boost your circulation and give your skin a nice radiant glow.

"Jade rollers feel cool and soothing for inflamed skin. So, they do have some benefit – just not as much as is touted, in my opinion."

So, there you go. That's the 411 on jade rollers and gua sha tools, peeps.

If you use them gently and enjoy the whole self-care experience of using a facial roller (cooling! refreshing! feels nice! makes things fancy!), by all means go for it! 


Just keep your expectations realistic - because like with many things in the beauty world, there's a whole lotta fluff out there.

Feature Image: Getty

Do you use jade rollers or gua sha tools in your skincare routine? Share with us in the comment section below.

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