Looking for a simple trick to reduce puffiness and brighten skin?
You might’ve seen jade rollers touted all over social media and YouTube as a miracle cure for everything from puffy skin to lymphatic drainage.
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to consider using a jade roller.
Read on to find out what they are and how to do it, step by step.
Jade rollers are effective at pushing excess fluids and toxins through your lymphatic system, says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board certified dermatologist at the Shafer Clinic in New York City.
Since you’re most likely to notice puffiness in the morning after a long night’s sleep, it’s best to use a jade roller in the morning. Here’s how.
Using a jade roller on your face, neck, and eye area
You can use a jade roller on your face, neck, eye area, and décolletage.
Before getting started, follow these steps:
- Store your jade roller in the fridge. “The benefit of a jade roller, as opposed to a simple massage with the hands, is that the cool temperature of the stone may help alleviate puffiness,” Engelman says.
- Cleanse your skin. Follow your usual morning skin care routine. If it involves cleansing, rinse your skin before using the roller.
- Apply a serum or moisturizer. Use your usual nourishing product just before your jade roller. “The massaging movement of the roller can help your topical products absorb better into your skin,” Engelman says.
When you’re ready to go, follow these steps:
- Choose the right side. The smaller side of the roller is ideal for your eye area and the bridge of your nose. Use the larger side on your forehead, cheeks, and jawline.
- Roll gently. Avoid tugging on skin so you don’t irritate it. Engelman recommends aiming for 10 to 20 strokes on each section of the face you want to target.
- Roll from the center of the face outwards. Lymphatic drainage is located on the sides of the face. “Rolling fluid away from your face and toward the lymph nodes will naturally stimulate the system to drain the fluid,” Engelman notes.
- Follow your contours. “For best results and skin health, be gentle and move in the direction of your face’s natural contour,” Engelman says. For the jaw and cheek area, that means rolling slightly upward.
- Guide fluids through the lymphatic system. Lastly, roll down on the edges of your face and then your neck. Engelman says this helps guide the fluid down through the lymphatic system.
Don’t worry too much about pulling down on the skin. Even regular rolling isn’t enough to contribute to wrinkles.
“The time spent on each section of the face is so brief, and your rolling motions should be gentle enough that you’re not actually tugging the skin,” she says.
While there’s no evidence that the jade itself makes the tool more effective, using a jade roller may have some benefits, including:
- lymphatic drainage
- tighter-looking facial skin
- facial de-puffing
- improved circulation
- better product absorption
“It’s the massage movement that drains fluids,” Engelman adds.
The lymphatic system transports fluid and filters toxins from the body.
“Massaging the face and neck can stimulate the lymph nodes to drain fluid from the face,” Engelman explains.
Tighter-looking, puff-free skin
Engelman says there are a few potential culprits behind a slightly swollen or puffy appearance:
- Lying down for long periods of time causes fluid to collect in the soft tissues of the face. That’s why you’re most likely to notice puffiness in the morning.
- Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can contribute to water retention and puffiness.
- Eating processed and high-sodium foods makes you thirsty. As you drink more fluids, it can collect in areas of the body, including the face.
- Drinking alcohol can lead your body to retain water to counteract alcohol’s dehydrating effects.
Massaging the face and neck pushes fluid and toxins into the lymphatic channels and stimulates the lymph nodes to drain it away, Engelman says. This results in a firmer and less puffy appearance.
“The results are temporary. A proper diet and exercise can help prevent water retention, and therefore puffiness,” she explains.
Facial rolling stimulates blood circulation, which can make your skin appear brighter, firmer, and healthier.
“Any facial massage, when done correctly, can help improve circulation and decrease puffiness — with or without a jade roller,” Engelman says.
Better product absorption
Engelman recommends always applying a serum or moisturizer before using a jade roller.
“Rolling or massaging the face after applying topical product can help the product absorb into your skin,” she says.
Some people claim jade rollers can stimulate collagen production, but there’s no evidence they have this effect.
Ditto for acne. The cool temperature of any stone rolling tool can help calm inflamed skin temporarily.
“But jade rolling itself is not known to be a cure [for acne],” she says.
The bottom line
There’s no evidence that jade rollers can improve collagen production or fight acne.
Jade rollers aren’t the only tool out there. Different styles of tools may have different effects.
Using a roller with spikes
Some people use larger jade rollers with spikes on their lower body. While some claim the tool may reduce cellulite on the hips, any effects are likely temporary.
“It may have the same de-puffing effect on your body as it does on the face, but it’s unlikely that rolling can significantly improve or get rid of cellulite,” Engelman says.
Use the roller similarly to a facial roller. If you’re using it on areas of the body below the heart, like the hips, roll upward. This is the natural direction of lymphatic drainage.
Pro tip: Roll upward when using a jade roller below the heart. This is the natural direction of lymphatic drainage.
Using a gua sha tool
A gua sha tool is a scraper-like tool that’s often made of jade, quartz, or other stones.
“Its shape and edges allow it to provide a stronger, more targeted massage than a roller,” Engelman says.
You can use a gua sha tool to massage the face, neck, and body to stimulate the lymphatic system and circulation. This helps drain retained fluid and de-puff your skin, Engelman explains.
You’ll use it similarly to a roller.
- Apply a serum, oil, or moisturizer to clean skin.
- Work the gua sha tool across the targeted area in smooth strokes, as if you’re gently “scraping” the skin, Engelman suggests.
- End by scraping down on the edges of your face and neck.
Jade is one of the most popular roller materials. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Chinese people have used jade for thousands of years and link it to clarity of mind and purity of spirit.
Other roller materials
In addition to jade, rose quartz is another common roller material.
According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), quartz has been used for at least 7,000 years for its supposed magical powers. The Egyptians, for example, believed quartz could prevent aging, while early American cultures believed it could heal emotions.
Engelman notes that there’s no evidence to suggest either of these rocks have specific benefits over any other hard material.
Other popular rolling materials include:
Engelman recommends the following safety tips for facial rollers:
- Choose the right material. Make sure that your roller isn’t made from a porous material, which can easily trap bacteria. “This can cause acne breakouts or allergic reaction,” she says.
- Use gentle pressure. Your roller should never cause pain or tug your skin. Rolling too aggressively can irritate and even damage the skin, especially in sensitive areas, like under the eyes.
- Wash your roller in soap and warm water. Cleanse it after every use. This gets rid of bacteria and grime that could irritate your skin or lead to acne breakouts.
- Don’t aggravate your skin. Facial rolling is safe for most skin types when done properly.
Talk with your dermatologist before using a jade roller if your skin is irritated, damaged, painful to the touch, or if you have a pre-existing skin condition.
Jade rollers gently massage skin. This helps stimulate the lymph nodes to drain fluids and toxins from the face, temporarily reducing puffiness.
Facial massage also stimulates circulation, making your skin appear brighter and firmer.
Be sure to choose a roller in a non-porous material, like jade, quartz, or amethyst. And clean your roller after every use to avoid aggravating your skin or causing acne.
Colleen de Bellefonds is a Paris-based health and wellness journalist with over a decade of experience regularly writing and editing for publications including WhatToExpect.com, Women’s Health, WebMD, Healthgrades.com, and CleanPlates.com. Find her on Twitter.