What is Gua Sha?
Gua sha is a natural ancient self-care beauty ritual, originated from China. This facial massage technique has been used for several thousand years to achieve skin health and provide a youthful, radiant complexion.
The natural therapy involves sweeping the skin with a massage tool. These strokes help to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow and encourages lymphatic drainage. With regular practice facial tension is relieved, the jawline becomes more defined, fine lines are reduced, the skin is lifted and de-puffed.
How to use
Cleanse the skin and gently pat dry before applying your favourite serum, moisturiser or masque. Simply apply your product as normal and then use the tool to make sweeping motions over the contours of your face. The layer of product is important to ensure the tool does not tug at the skin.
You should work through this seven-step routine on one side of the face, then repeat on the other side, making sure to repeat each stroke 3-5 times. Repeat 2-3 times a week to see the full benefits.
- Neck – Start at the collar bone and sweep up the neck.
- Under the chin – sweep from the soft part of the under the chin towards the earlobe.
- Jawline – start from the middle of the chin, move under the lower lip up towards the ear.
- Under cheeks – sweep from the corner of the mouth under the cheekbones to the hairline.
- Over cheeks - sweep from the corner of the nose over the cheekbone to the hairline, by the top of the ear.
- Under eyes - be very gentle in this area. Sweep from the corner of the eye to the hairline. Use less pressure than on the rest of the face.
- Over eyebrows - start from between the eyebrows, sweep out towards the hairline
- Forehead - sweep upwards from the eyebrows the top of the head.
Clean and dry the tool after use.
What are the benefits?
This natural therapy can help to activate the immune system, allowing the body to speed up its natural healing process. Gua Sha is performed on the back of the neck, shoulders and mid-back where the lymphatic system and drains the lymphatics which assists in decongestion. This has huge benefits for cold and flu symptoms. Gua sha is an anti-inflammatory therapy, great for dealing with chronic pain and sore muscles. Additionally, it is able to firm the skin, smooth fine lines and wrinkles and plump skin to give it a youthful glow.
- Try keeping your jade tool in the fridge. This will intensify the cooling sensation, leaving you feeling refreshed.
- Use the tool to massage your head. Wiggling it against your scalp through your hair can help to relieve tension.
- Once you have mastered the basics, feel free to experiment. You may want to focus on certain areas more than others.
Our in house therapist Kate Hardy performs gua sha using our jade tool in her treatments, so we asked her to tell us what she likes about it and why she uses this particular form of therapy.
"I've been working the jade tool myself for several months now & have recently introduced it into facial treatments for clients. The jade tool really helps to stimulate the facial muscles. It's also great for increasing lymphatic drainage, helping the skin get rid of toxins. It gives the skin a natural boost with a lifting and firming effect, brightening the skin and reducing puffiness. It leaves you with a wonderful fresh-faced glow and is also super relaxing to do".
Where can you find out more?
You can view our Gua Sha tool here. Until the end of March 2020, this is also part of a discounted duo alongside our Hydration Injection Masque, saving you £17. This is part of our spring offers range which you can view here.
What a peculiar time we’re living in. Strange - isn’t it? We at ARK are just trying our best to count our blessings and take each day as it comes. Whether you are at home, at work, or somewhere in between, we hope that you’re okay and keeping well.
Please do keep in touch with us via social media, or if you wish to contact our customer services team, please email email@example.com or call 02037403303 and leave a message. We are all working from home but will respond to every message we receive. The ARK Skincare website is still operating as normal and we are continuing to ship orders.
With a lot of us now staying inside, we thought we would share some tips on working from home. For this, we asked our newest member of the team Lucy, our new sales and marketing assistant, to share what she has learned in her first week from working from home.
If you’re like me and finding yourself working from home for the first time, you might be still finding out how to adjust. So, I thought it would be a better time than ever to create a guide for working at home and put together some top tips that I’ve learned.
1. Establish a routine
Although you’re at home, there is still work to be done. Of course, your schedule might be a little more relaxed than usual, but it is still important to get a good night's sleep and wake up at a sensible time so you feel fresh and ready for the day. Deciding when you plan to take your lunch and breaks is important too as then you can work around your own guidelines.
2. Create a workspace
While at home, it’s really important to differentiate ‘being at work’ and being at home. Try to find a quiet space to do your work where you aren’t in the way of anybody else. Then, you can create a set up with everything you’ll need. Try your best to keep out of the way of any distractions like the tv, phones or your other family members.
3. Write a daily to-do list
Write yourself a list of things you want to achieve and then order them most to least important. I find starting with the most important first means I can relax a little knowing it's done and don’t rush through any of my other work. It can be really helpful to do this at the end of the working day so you know what has been done and what your priorities are for the next day.
4. Remember to take breaks
Be realistic with the goals you set yourself. It’s not healthy to be sat down all day consumed in one thing. Aim to take short breaks every few hours to allow yourself some time away from a screen. This could be when you take a walk, make your lunch or catch up with a family member.
5. Get some exercise
Without the need to get yourself to your workplace and with gyms being closed, it can be very easy to forget to keep active, but exercise is so important for both physical and mental health. This article by the NHS explains why sitting too much is bad for us and why it is so important to stay active. So, if you’re lucky enough to have a little bit of sun where you are, it's definitely worth getting out and making the most of it, even if it is just for a short walk!
There are also some great pre-filmed workouts online and even some live workout classes being aired on youtube and Instagram which give a great sense of community and encouragement for those who feel like they need a pick me up.
Please don’t allow yourself to get lonely. This is a difficult time for everybody, but we are so blessed to live in a world where we have technology and phones to be able to keep in contact with those around us. Make sure to keep in touch with family and friends by sending pictures and sharing the things that make you smile to keep the conversation flowing!
7. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. This is something new for everyone and we are all still learning to adjust. Some days are bound to be easier than others and that is okay. Try your best to focus on all the little things that bring you joy and be proud of all the things you are able to achieve. We must keep finding the positives and remember that we will get through this.
In the next few posts we will be sharing some ideas of what you can do in your free time while being at home, so keep an eye out if you're in need of some inspiration!
Also, while we're all washing our hands constantly, we have decided to put together a little gift. A free hand & nail cream will be added to any orders £5 or over - helping you to avoid getting dry hands!
Do you suffer from redness and facial flushing? Does it get you down, make you feel less confident, or even make you hide away? Do you find you feel like you need to use lots of make up to disguise it?
We are often asked how to help irritated skin, and to treat conditions such as Rosacea. Rosacea is a topic we have addressed in newsletters and blogs before, but since it is such a common concern, with millions of people suffering from it, we have decided to put together a guide. We hope this guide will help to explain the symptoms, and causes of Rosacea, and suggest tips which could reduce it. You may also wish to to view our full collection of skincare products design to soothe red skin by clicking here.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. The redness can slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Even the ears, chest, and back can be red all the time. But Rosacea can cause more than redness with many other associated signs and symptoms such as broken capillaries, acne, thickening of the skin, burning or stinging, and even eye irritations. You can read more about the different classifications of Rosacea here. Symptoms can be triggered by many things and, unfortunately, can vary so considerably between individuals that it can be very difficult to identify the exact cause.
Main causes of Rosacea
Environmental Factors - Hot weather, humidity, extreme cold or harsh winds can exaggerate the condition.
Dietary Causes -
Alcohol - A recent study showed alcohol consumption increases the chance of developing Rosacea
Certain foods - Spicy food, dairy, or even citrus may also make things worse
Food additives - MSG, Sulphites, and preservatives may exaggerate symptoms
Stress - Stress can be a major factor in a number of skin conditions and is considered a major cause of Rosacea. Anything which places undue pressure on you can be considered stress, and may impact your skin.
Sun Exposure - Skin prone to Rosacea is not happy in the sun. Sun, and exposure to UVA and UVB rays can make the condition far worse.
Fragrances and perfumes - Scent can increase redness and irritation. Artificial scent is a prime cause but some natural scents and essential oils can be a causal factor too.
Physical exercise - Extreme physical exercise can exaggerate and prolongue symptoms of Rosacea.
What can we suggest to help relieve the symptoms, and hopefully make you stop feeling like you have to hide away? Here are our top ten tips:
- Protect your skin from damaging UV rays. UV rays are the number one cause of Rosacea flare ups. Use a broad spectrum good quality facial SPF (have you tried ours) all year round. In high summer use a hat and stay out of direct sunlight.
- Keep a food diary. Diet can have a huge impact on Rosacea. Whilst it is not the only cause, controlling the intake of the foods which are thought to lead to flare ups can help keep redness under control. Common triggers are spicy food, alcohol, and caffeine but each person will have unique triggers they should avoid. Keep a food diary and note the appearance of your skin each day, or consider intolerance testing, which may identify foods you should avoid.
- Consider the environment around you. Extremes of temperature and pollution can aggravate Rosacea. Hot weather, cold winds, high humidity, and urban pollution can all be problematic. Keep cool, avoid steam, wrap up against cold winds, and protect from pollution.
- Manage stress levels. Stress is known to exaggerate skin concerns. Use stress management strategies and take care of your whole self. Sleep, eat well, exercise, and consider including meditation or breathing exercises in your daily routine. All will help.
- Keep well. Being unwell can show on your skin. Fever, coughs and colds, high blood pressure, and serious illness can cause Rosacea flare ups. Occasionally long term medication can affect the sensitivity of your skin. If you take medication and suffer from redness discuss it with your GP and explore alternatives. Consider taking multivitamins to keep well especially those with vitamin C and Zinc.
- Wash your make up brushes. In an independent survey of 1000 people 44% said they had never cleaned their make up brushes! Several studies have shown that make up brushes can be contaminated with dangerously high levels of bacteria, and in some cases carried more bacteria than was found on a loo brush! Clean those brushes to prevent skin irritations and redness flare ups.
- Go make up free. Consider having a break from make up and see if your redness comes down. Some ingredients in cosmetics can cause irritation. If you have a break from make up and your skin improves reintroduce your products one by one to see which ones cause a flare up. You may be able to identify key ingredients to avoid.
- Avoid scent. Scent can be a major cause of skin irritation. Stop using perfumes and avoid facial, body, and bath products that are highly scented. Even some essential oils can be irritating to the skin.
- Alter your exercise routine. Exercise is reported by many Rosacea sufferers as a cause of flare ups. But don’t stop exercising! It is essential to your stress management and overall wellbeing. Instead alter the way you exercise. Consider short blasts of high intensity work outs rather than prolonged sessions. Avoid working out in a stuffy hot room, but instead make sure the gym is well ventilated and ideally air conditioned. Try using a beauty mist to keep cool during classes. Try swimming. AND always keep hydrated. It is essential to keep your water consumption up.
- Skincare. Products can help, but choose carefully. Use products which are free from known irritants. Avoid highly scented products and make sure you select those suited to sensitive skins. Keep your routine simple – “less is more” – and do not chop and change your products or over stimulate your skin. When applying products be gentle. Do not rub your face, or use harsh exfoliators or scrubs, and when cleansing with water avoid extremes of temperature - use hand warm water and a soft cloth. Resist the temptation to wash you face when in a power shower. The strong jets can cause sensitivity and redness to flare. Seek advice as to the best products for you. Our soothing Anti-Redness Serum contains a botanical complex clinically proven to calm and protect sensitive, and regularly receives 5 star reviews, you can find our more about it on our website and shop all products to help with redness here.
Controlling Rosacea involves looking at all aspects of your lifestyle. Follow these tips to help keep your skin calm. Don’t be disheartened or allow it to upset you. You are not alone. In fact, you are in good company with film stars, princes, and presidents reportedly suffering too. Friend of the ARK brand Lisa Faulkner recently discussed her battles with the condition and luckily had some success with the ARK Anti redness serum which you can see more about here.
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