We’re out here, asking life’s hard questions, like whether Botox can replace gua sha. Glad you’re out here with us. But really, truly, our mission as a brand is to help you feel better (or even feel GOOD) through whatever means is right for you. If that’s gua sha, we’ve got some goodies for you! And if it’s Botox, no judgement. If your happy place is a mix of both, keep reading.
The good news is that you don’t really have to choose between them. If you’ve heard that gua sha helps with “anti-aging,” you’ve heard right. While maintaining youthful skin has to do with numerous factors — from diet to genes — gua sha has long been known to be a key tool in the “anti-aging” arsenal. If you want to double the defense against the hands of the clock and invest in Botox while practicing gua sha, keep in mind that there are some very specific rules around doing gua sha if you’ve recently gotten injectables. While we appreciate the power of injections and fillers, we started Wildling to give people an alternative option for maintaining and enhancing their skin’s youthful glow.
Botox vs. Gua Sha: What’s the Difference?
Botox is an injectable toxin (hence its name) that temporarily paralyzes your muscles, while gua sha uses a stone for gentle face massage to boost circulation. Even though the desired end results are similar, the way Botox and gua sha work couldn’t be more different!
In other words, Botox works to freeze the muscles underneath the skin. Ceasing repetitive movement that creates facial expressions eventually leads to the erasure of wrinkles and fine lines. But this also can block the flow of fluids like blood, lymph, and “qi” (the body’s life force energy) to the area.
Gua sha works to increase blood flow in our facial muscles, bringing life force to stagnant tissue and skin. This can boost skin cell renewal, improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and over time return youthful plumpness to the skin. This may sound too good to be true, but the beauty benefits of gua sha have been known for centuries as a part of ancient Traditional Chinese medicine practices. Although Botox is a more fast-acting solution, facial gua sha, especially over time, may imbue your skin with a sculpted suppleness that works with your natural beauty.
Read more: Your comprehensive guide to facial gua sha.
Can you use gua sha after Botox?
Yes and no. If you want both, you can do both — but we suggest following a pretty specific set of guidelines to make sure you don’t accidentally move the Botox or otherwise injure yourself. If you get Botox in a few localized areas, gua sha can attend to the other parts of your face. For example, if you get Botox in your forehead and brows, gua sha can be your trusty support for keeping your jaw, cheekbones, and eye area contoured and supple. We do always recommend following the guidance of a licensed acupuncturist, such as that of our co-founder Gianna de la Torre, L.Ac., who has hands-on experience with both techniques.
Gua Sha in Between Botox Appointments
Giving your skin a break between Botox appointments allows it time to breathe. During this in-between period, gua sha therapy can help to revitalize and move energy through the muscles and tissues once paralyzed by the Botox. According to Traditional Chinese medicine principles, too much stagnation can cause imbalance. A facial gua sha ritual will get your qi moving again. Don’t do this until your Botox is well on its way out, and never ever gua sha over fresh Botox!
Read More: 5 common gua sha mistakes, and exactly how to fix them.
Gua Sha to Phase-out of Botox
It’s natural to change your mind about what products, tools, and techniques you use to take care of your skin. If you’re interested in transitioning away from injectables, gua sha is an excellent alternative to Botox. It brings energy back into your facial tissues by increasing circulation and produces similar youthful effects in the complexion. While the route may be very different, just as with Botox, you’ll start to notice tighter skin, suppleness, relaxed wrinkles, and a youthful glow with a consistent gua sha practice. Just remember, don’t begin your gua sha practice on the areas you’ve recently injected until the effects of your Botox have started to wear off.
Contraindications: Gua Sha Around Botox & Fillers
Some things in life simply don’t mix well. Oil and water. Humidity and a fresh blowout. New Botox and gua sha. So if you want to do facial gua sha but currently have Botox and or fillers, do not gua sha over those areas. Leave those areas in peace and let those injections shine, and gua sha over areas on your face that haven’t been injected. If you have super fresh injections, avoid doing any kind of gua sha all together for a few weeks as the technique could move the Botox or filler underneath the skin, and we don’t want that!
Read more: Is facial acupuncture better than Botox? We discuss the pros and cons.
Can gua sha give you wrinkles?
Nope! With proper technique, tools, and the right skin care products, facial gua sha should not give you wrinkles. In fact, as discussed in this article, it can help restore a youthful glow, sense of sculpted features, and overall plumpness to the skin. It’s a common question though, because proper technique creates a gentle tug or pull of the skin — but this works to help with our lymphatic drainage systems, decreasing puffiness around the face and sculpting the features.
Just because you get fillers or Botox doesn’t mean you can’t do gua sha. There are so many paths to feeling empowered in your skin, and the right combination is ready for you to discover. However you approach your self-care and beauty ritual, it’s always important to know the ins and outs of each routine to ensure you’re practicing effectively, safely, and supporting your skin in reaching its highest potential. We’re here to help :)