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You’ve seen them all over your Instagram, on skincare websites, and inside beauty supply stores: beautiful, expensive, colorful stone rollers that look like tiny crystal house painting brushes or fans for your face.
The people that use them smile joyfully as they roll them over their skin, talking about the “huge difference” the devices make on their complexion.
But is there actually something to it, or is it all BS?
Here’s what we know.
In simple terms, a crystal face roller is a beauty tool - not unlike a painting brush - that’s generally armed with a crystal on each end. On one side, there’s usually a long oval-shaped stone (meant for the flat planes of your face like your cheeks, forehead, and chin) and on the other side, there’s a smaller, rounder stone meant for under-eye areas, nose, and eyes.
The roller can come in a range of crystal types, but the most common ones are jade, rose quartz, tourmaline, and amethyst.
There’s also a lot of shapes these days as well as different versions like gua sha tools (which look more like misshapen fans). There’s some debate about what shape works best, with many dermatologists claiming that the gua sha shape is actually more effective, but they all ultimately have the same purpose.
And believe it or not, these devices are nothing new. There’s evidence that the Chinese used jade stones on the skin as early as the 7th century, and jade rolling has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to draw out negative energy and balance 'chi', otherwise known as 'life force' or 'energy' in traditional Chinese medicine.
Today, the general purpose of these rollers is to facilitate lymphatic drainage massage, stimulate oxygen flow, allow products to penetrate the skin, and - as some companies claim - "lift, tone, and help contour the face.”
To understand the veracity of these claims, it’s helpful to first understand the face, the lymphatic system, and what we’re really dealing with here.
The lymphatic systemis a network of vessels, nodes, and structures - like your adenoids, spleen, and tonsils - that transport lymph (a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells) throughout the body. The purpose? To help your immune system kill bacteria and viruses, and to get rid of protein, toxins, cellular debris, and any other unwanted materials in the body.
Overall, the lymph nodes can be considered as your immune system’s first line of defenseagainst bacteria and viruses, and they can often appear in little clusters around the body - like in your neck, check, underarm, belly, and groin.
So where do jade rollers fit in here? Well, the idea is that the lymphatic massage can help stimulate the lymphatic system and move that lymph fluid away from places it tends to settle (like around the eyes) thereby facilitating the removal of toxins from the skin. This, in turn, will help brighten skin, improve complexion, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
But the real question is - can these little rollers really get that job done?
Well - yes, if done correctly.
What does that mean exactly? Well, you have to use the roller the right way if you actually want to drain lymphatic fluid out of the face. That means:
And what about the other claims?
Well, the massage, in general, is good for the skin. Massage increases blood circulationto the face, which can release toxins, calm inflammation, reduce toxins in the face, and bring fresh blood and nutrients to the area. Over time, this can encourage the skin to look brighter and more awake.
Massage can also help calm the mind, improve headaches, and address face concerns like sinus congestion, eye strain, or even TMJ.
Plus, the coolness of the jade doesn’t hurt (especially if you throw it in the fridge before you use it). Specifically, this cooling will help brighten the complexion, reduce puffiness, andpromote blood circulation.
Finally, the rollers can help your skincare products penetrate the skin more deeply and evenly than they otherwise would.
The muscles in the face are, invariably, going to drop with age. This roller simply can’t target those muscles enough to change that or to stimulate any kind of muscle tone.
There are claims that the typeof stone makes a difference. For example, there are claims that:
It all sounds great - and there’s certainly no harm in choosing the stone that you like best - but there’s no sound evidence to back these claims up.
Overall, there’s no harm in using a crystal roller - and it can be a soothing, cool addition to any skincare routine. Just don't expect it to produce game-changing results overnight - and be sure to massage gentlyand to wash your roller regularly to prevent breakouts.