Winter (or just cooler weather) can wreak havoc on skin, causing dryness, redness and dullness. The three main ways to keep a healthy glow are to hydrate, exfoliate and be gentle to your skin.

The most important part about a healthy winter glow is to stay hydrated. This is achieved in a few different ways. The first is by drinking a lot of water. Dry, cold air dehydrates you inside and out, so drink extra during the winter months.

We sat down with Dr. G to get the 411 on how to mitigate dryness and keep skin glowing, hydrated and supple all year round.

What are the main causes of dry skin?

Skin can be dry for numerous reasons. A few of the main culprits are the weather, the climate (humidity vs. dry), your age (as you age skin becomes drier), dirt, sun damage, bad diet and incorrect product and ingredient use.

The best ways of treating dry skin? Topical, non-topical?

Topical: If you have dry or sensitive skin, be careful with what types of ingredients to use topically. Stay away from astringents, acids, sodium lauryl sulfate and alcohol. Staying hydrated from the inside out is also crucial. Drink plenty of fluids. Always apply moisturizer or body oil to damp skin. Post bath or shower; try moisturizing your skin while still damp, this allows the skin to capture and seal in moisture. Take a look at your cleansing regimen, over exfoliation, particularly with physical scrubs, can be taxing and drying to the skin. Try decreasing the frequency and try a lactic acid enzymatic exfoliator as lactic acid pulls moisture to the surface of the skin.Choose a moisturizer or oil appropriate for dry skin. Good ingredients to look for are avocado oil, vitamin E, plant lipids, oils full of omega fatty acids, hyaluronic acid and plant extracts. Always wear an SPF when in the elements.

Non-topical: Similar to the thought process of what to topically use, what we ingest may help to prevent dryness. Choose foods high in omega 3 fatty fats, such as avocados, salmon, walnuts, eggs, olive oil, sea kelp and vegetables high in silica. Silica helps form collagen in the body. Look for oats, avocados, cucumbers, flax seeds and leafy green vegetables.

Should we ditch exfoliating from our skincare routine? 

Moisturizing is a crucial part of keeping skin hydrated during the winter, but you shouldn’t ignore exfoliating. Look for scrubs that have moisturizing elements to them, such as jojoba oil , avocado oil and apricot seed oil. Oils are also very beneficial during the winter months to keep skin glowing, hydrated and plump.

Alternatively, grab your peels:

“Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHA’s (which are Lactic acid, Glcolic acid and Fruit acids) are used as facial exfoliators. AHA’s are excellent options for people with sun damaged skin, aging skin, oily skin and normal to dry skin types. AHA’s do not cause sun sensitivity and come in numerous forms. AHA’s come in the form of lactic acid which is derived from milk, glycolic acid which is derived from sugarcane and fruit acids which are derived from fruits (citrus and apples/malic acid) and are gentle exfoliating agents that break apart the dead skin cells and pull hydration to the surface of your complexion which increases hydration and promotes a supple texture.” Dermatologist, Dr. Gary Goldfaden

Do certain foods help with dry skin? 

Choose foods high in omega 3 fatty fats, such as avocados, salmon, walnuts, eggs, olive oil, sea kelp and vegetables high in silica. Silica helps form collagen in the body. Look for oats, avocados, cucumbers, flax seeds and leafy green vegetables.

Is dry skin dependent on our skin type? Yes and no.Skin can be dry for numerous reasons. A few of the main culprits are the weather, the climate (humidity vs. dry), your age (as you age skin becomes drier), dirt, sun damage, bad diet and incorrect product and ingredient use.

At Goldfaden MD, we’re all about safe and natural facial treatments. But here’s the thing—if we’re going to fit any new products or techniques into our beauty routines, they have to actually work. If it’s not efficacious, we’re just not interested.

We created our Needleless Line Smoothing Concentrate for exactly that reason—we wanted to see fine lines and wrinkles diminish by the time we woke up in the morning. Yes, our obsession with the Needleless Line Smoothing Concentrate is real, and we’ve been actively searching for a non-invasive treatment that works as well as our formula and is also safe for skin.

And then we stumbled across gua sha facial massage, and our complexions were changed (and lifted. And toned.) forever.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua sha (pronounce gwah-shah) is a popular therapeutic technique used in Eastern Asia to encourage blood flow and healthy chi energy, decrease muscle pain and inflammation, and treat tension in the body. Traditional gua sha is performed all over the body, much like a massage.  In Eastern Medicine therapies, it’s believed that stagnant chi (or energy) is usually the root cause of chronic illness or disease.

Gua sha naturally encourages healthy blood flow to the body—which is why it’s so helpful for treating inflammation—and moves the chi throughout the meridians. Meridians are the energetic life force paths all over the body that act as a mainstay of Traditional Chinese medicine and are used as a guide for everything from acupuncture to acupressure to gua sha.

If you do a quick Google image search, you’ll be confronted with images of bright red backs, ripe with bruising and striations. Don’t be scared! It looks intense—borderline masochistic, perhaps?—but gua sha is actually wonderful for skin, muscles, and fascia. Enough pressure is applied during a full-body session to result in light bruising, which is part of the reason gua sha is so healing for soft tissues.

Much like getting a deep tissue massage, gua sha encourages movement in the lymph system to encourage detoxification and improve blood flow to muscles and tendons. As soon as the lymph fluid is stimulated through massage, the body can begin to detoxify itself. If you’re the one receiving a treatment, you’ll notice that any water retention or bloat totally vanishes after a treatment. When the lymph begins to move, it carries with it lingering toxins and extra water that’s holding on for dear life in your body.  Gua sha also can help to break down scar tissue and stagnant connective tissue to improve mobility and flexibility in joints.

In recent years, facial gua sha has become incredibly popular as a beauty treatment. Anecdotally, it’s been said to improve nearly every skin condition—from hormonal acne to sagging jowls. Facial gua sha is significantly lighter in pressure than a full-body treatment, so don’t expect to see bruising or even light marks on your skin. However, you’ll likely experience instant lifting, toning, and brightening after getting a gua sha facial or trying the technique out on yourself (yep, you can totally do this one at home!).

Keep scrolling for the low down on how gua sha works, who uses it now, and exactly how to perform gua sha on yourself.

How does gua sha work?

Gua Sha Massage

The biggest difference between a massage and a gua sha treatment is the gua sha tool. Typically made of jade or rose quartz, a gua sha tool is about the size of a credit card and can be held in one hand. The tool itself has smooth edges on all sides and is about a quarter of an inch thick.

To use it, your practitioner will hold the tool at a 15-degree angle to your skin with one edge gently resting on the area to be worked on. Using long, fluid strokes, the practitioner applies pressure and drags the gua sha tool along the appropriate meridians (or muscle knots) to stimulate the chi and break up muscle tension and adhesions.

Usually, a practitioner will go over the same area a few times. You’ll notice as they begin to work through the fascia, the area around the muscle immediately begins to release and relax. It’s really important that your practitioner moves the lymph all the way through your body to the end of the meridians—you don’t want to get that nastiness stuck anywhere! And if you’re the one enjoying the treatment, remember to drink tons of water the day after your appointment—you’re going to need it.

Gua Sha Facials

Gua sha facials aren’t all that different from the massage treatment—both use the same tool and technique. But, facials require a much lighter touch because pressing too hard can damage skin. Plus, our facial muscles don’t usually have the same scar tissue or adhesions as say, your quad or calf muscles, which go through a lot more wear and tear. With the face,  we’re more concerned with moving and draining the lymph fluid; stagnant lymph causes puffiness, bloating, dark circles, sallow skin, wrinkles, and pimples. And because it’s a very light massage, you might even notice that gua sha eases any tension that you might be holding in your forehead, jaw, and eyebrows. Just remember that it’s not necessary to apply heavy pressure, and in fact, if you’re pressing too hard you won’t be targeting the lymphatic material.

Lymph lives just below the skin, and is so sensitive that it won’t respond to roughness! When it moves through the body in a healthy way, our puffiness diminishes. We get our natural, youthful glow back because our bodies are naturally detoxifying themselves. And the improved circulation helps flush toxins and revitalizes the look of skin.

What to Expect After a Gua Sha Facial

After a gua sha facial, you’ll likely see instant results. Your brows and cheeks will look more lifted, and cheekbones will be more defined as excessive lymphatic fluid drains from the face. Skin will look brighter because of increased blood flow. And because you need to use a facial oil or emollient lotion whenever you gua sha, your complexion will be hydrated, too!

Where to Get a Gua Sha Facial

Gua sha treatments are typically performed by trained professionals. When it comes to full-body massage, practitioners are usually certified in the technique and also have their massage license. Estheticians and facialists also must go through a training to learn how to properly use the gua sha tool on the sensitive facial skin.

It’s safe to try giving yourself a gua sha facial treatment at home, as long as you’re not pressing too hard. If you see redness on your face, you’ve gone too far! A little goes a long way with this stuff. And trust, you don’t want bruise lines on your face—it’s not a good look.

How to Do Gua Sha at home

Gua Sha Facial Tools

To give yourself a gua sha facial you’ll need a gua sha tool, facial oil, and about five minutes of free time. We also recommend grabbing a towel, just in case! When purchasing a gua sha tool, make sure you get one that’s made of real stone like jade, rose quartz, or brian stone. Beware of super-cheap versions on Amazon—they might be made with dyed acrylic, which is bad for the planet and bad for your skin health! Also, the real things look very cute on Instagram. Really important to up your self-care ‘gram game.

Directions

  1. Before you get started, wash your face thoroughly. No make-up, no nothing. You want to be barefaced, babe! We recommend double-cleansing with the Pure Start Gentle Detoxing Facial cleanser to remove any dirt or grunginess from the day, and then following up with the Detox Clarifying Wash to give pores the clean sweep.
  2. Apply a few drops of Fleuressence Native Botanical Cell Oil to the skin. This golden elixir contains Kalahari oil, Mongongo oil, Rosehip seed oil and Baobab oil to boost skin’s natural radiance, improve tone, and fade scars. You want the gua sha tool to gently glide against the skin, so don’t be shy about using a little more oil than usual.
  3. Hold the gua sha tool at a 15-degree angle against skin; it should almost be flush against the face. In one fluid motion, sweep the tool from its initial starting point all the way down the next to the collarbone. Follow these pathways three to five times each:

– From the middle of the under the chin to the earlobe. Repeat on both sides.

– From the middle of the ridge of the chin (follow your jawline) to the earlobe. Repeat on both sides.

– From the lower edge of the nostril up to the middle of the ear. Repeat on both sides.

– From the inside of the eye, lightly draw the gua sha tool to the temple. Repeat on both sides.

– From the inside of the eyebrow, follow the brow bone to the temple. Repeat on both sides.

– From the middle of the forehead to the hairline. Repeat on both sides.

– From the hairline, sweep all the way down, around the back of the ears, down the sides of the neck to the collarbones. Repeat on both sides.

When you’re done, you should notice an instantaneous difference in your skin! Gua sha massage acts like a natural mini facelift—and it feels really amazing.

 

One of the most common questions Dr. G gets asked is, when to start using an anti aging regimen?’

“By the time your mid 20’s roll around, collagen production has already started slowing down. Collagen is one of three structural proteins that our bodies produce. Elastin and Glycosaminoglycans are the other two, which we will get to. Collagen is responsible for providing tissue and organs strength. As we age collagen is produced less and tissue begins to disconnect thus creating wrinkles, dryness and sagging skin. Elastin also plays a big role in aging, although not as plentiful in the skin as collagen, it is still important. Elastin is responsible for stretching abilities and ‘snapping back’, think of the word ‘elastic’. Once elastin starts to diminish, skin will look saggy, sunken and limp. Glycosaminoglycans are responsible for keeping collagen and elastin supported in the cellular space.” Dermatologist, Dr. Gary Goldfaden MD

If you missed the mid 20’s starting mark, do not worry. The good news is it is never too late to start an anti-aging regimen!

Dr. G created a proprietary complex named PURFLORA, found in our Plant Profusion Collection , that includes ingredients which tackle many of the signs of aging. Plant Profusion is an anti-aging collection that is made up of plant stem cells and other supercharged anti-oxidants. The specialized complex, PURFLORA, combines a potent blend made up of Raspberry Leaf Extract, Comfrey Stem Cells, White Tea Leaf Extract, Garden Crest Sprouts and Birds of Paradise Extract. The benefits result in skin tone and texture improvement, overall brightness + reduction of unwanted pigmentation, increase of the skin barrier function and an overall hydrated glow.

If you are already on a Goldfaden MD regimen and are ready to start using superior anti-aging targeted products, Plant Profusion can be easily incorporated. Focusing on intense skin rejuvenation, hydration and brightness, we created a serum, eye cream, neck cream and night cream. While the new collection was created to enhance the core collection, there can be some confusion in the beginning.  Below are a few questions you may be asking yourself.

Q & A with Dr. G

Can I use The Supreme Serum with Fleuressence oil?

No. Fleuressence is an oil and the new Supreme Serum is oil free. Our suggestions is to use Fleuressence during the day and Supreme Serum at night. Or use one every other day. For intense anti-aging benefits Supreme Serum should be used at least once a day.

Can I use Bright Eyes + Energetic Eye Cream together?

Yes. Bright Eyes can be used during the day or during warmer months. Energetic Eye Cream is richer in texture and contains caffeine (de-puff) and Quinoa for its proteins and riboflavins (help to rebuild thin skin). Bright Eyes targets darkness and puffiness and Energetic eye Cream targets them as well in addition to rebuilding the thin eye area skin and encouraging collagen production thus getting rid of line and wrinkles.

Why can’t I use my neck creams on my face and vice versa?

The Lifting Neck Cream was formulated with specific ingredients (peptides and pink grapefruit oil) to target sagging thin neck skin, along with the horizontal bands and hyper pigmentation that can appear with age. The neck also tends to be drier than the face and needs more moisture. However, people make the mistake of using neck creams that are too heavy-when all they need to a medium weight neck cream. Your neck doesn’t absorb in the same manner the face does, so less is more when it comes to the neck.

We hope you love Plant Profusion as much as we do!