Blame it on the pandemic and the need to do everything at home, or the surge of celebrities posting on social media, but it’s apparent that a DIY face massage is becoming an integral part of people’s skincare routines around the world. Whether it’s using a gua sha tool, kansa wand or just your fingers, massaging your skin once a day definitely comes with its benefits. The question is how far those benefits actually stretch—can it lift your skin or make you appear younger? Can it really lend a lasting glow to your skin? We got two skin experts to help us separate the facts from the myths—here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of an at-home face massage and the things it won’t do for your skin.
At-home face massage 101
The basic premise of a massage anywhere on your body is to relax your skin, help your muscles rejuvenate and boost blood circulation. When a face massage is in question, the benefits are fairly similar. “A facial massage is designed to boost facial circulation, improve lymphatic drainage, tone your muscles, uplift your skin and increase skin suppleness”, says Delhi-based Dr Kiran Sethi, an integrative aesthetic specialist and founder of Isyaderm. While massages also differ in the way they’re done, Los Angeles-based celebrity esthetician Amber Rose Johnson and founder of Facial Lounge explains the two most common types. “The two most popular ones are a contouring massage which is an upward massage that softens fine lines, tones and tightens skin and a lymphatic drainage massage that helps remove water weight and puffiness.”
The need-to-knows when trying a face massage by yourself
As is the case with any new beauty product or treatment, it’s best to start slowly, constantly checking your skin along the way. “Start a few times a week and then build up,” recommends Dr Sethi. “Do it gently—don’t aggressively rub your face. Gently massage in an upwards motion and towards the points of lymphatic drainage.” If you have active breakouts or acne-prone skin, Dr Sethi suggests you tread with a lot of caution. “If you have a lot of comedones or have a tendency towards acne, please don’t make this a regular practice, because you may see more zits rather than less. It will trigger a purging process,” she says.
Johnson is a fan of the lymphatic drainage face massage and recommends doing so after dry brushing your body, which preps the lymphatic system. “Pretend to draw a line from the top your head towards your chest, massage from the top your head going down towards your heart which will open your watershed line, then massage from the middle of your forehead out towards your ears, massage your cheeks from the nose out towards the ears and follow with massaging down on the chin and neck. It’s ideal to ice the face after massaging,” she suggests.
What to expect after an at-home face massage
There are plenty of ways that a face massage can benefit your skin, giving you instant results. “You can genuinely see more soft, supple, dewy and moisturised skin,” says Dr Sethi. “Your face can also appear to be more sculpted and have an added glow. Also, for those of you who are stressed, you hold a lot of tension in your face; it can relax that and make you feel calmer.”