Facial rollers are everywhere right now. Whether they’re made of jade or rose quartz or some other fashionably colored crystal, these devices are far more attractive than any cosmetic device deserves to be. Not only do they have appeal as an Instagram and YouTube product du jour, facial rollers also look like they belong in a museum and in fact, that’s where some of today’s makers of the devices say they first saw them, resting in a display case. If you’re contemplating adding one of these beauties to your daily skin care routine, here’s what you need to know.
“Jade facial rollers have been used to massage the skin since the 17th century in China,” says dermatologist Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., clinical attending at NYU Langone and Mount Sinai Hospital. Anecdotally. based on about 50 reviews and articles I’ve read on the internet jade rollers are said to “remove toxins” from the skin, smooth fine lines, decrease dark circles and under-eye bags, ease tension headaches, calm inflammation, heal breakouts, brighten skin, and create an overall feeling of “zen.” Sounds magical, right?
Welp, according to Dr. Levin, only some of the claims are medically true, like the fact that jade rolling can increase blood circulation, which, in turn, can temporarily give you a brighter flush. Of course, you can get the same effect by doing a few jumping jacks, but hey. The de-puffing claims are also relatively accurate. “Jade rolling may increase some level of lymphatic drainage in the face, which can temporarily reduce swelling,” says Dr. Levin. But, of course, so can gently massaging your face with a dab of serum, oil, or moisturizer.
I’ve never been one for a bare-bones skin-care routine because frankly, I find it boring. After a long day, there’s nothing I love more than indulging in the beneficial but ultimately not-so-necessary products that make me feel better about other shortcomings, like not drinking enough water.
And even as a beauty editor, there are still a lot of things on my wish list, like a facial roller. Unless you’re like me and super extra about your beauty regimen, those two words have probably never crossed your mind. And if you are proficient with the ins and outs of beauty tools, then you’re probably thinking, “Catch up, girl!” Yes, I’m well aware that facial rollers have been around for quite some time, but honestly, I’ve been a little intimidated by them. So I reached out to Purvisha Patel, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare to see what they actually are, how the heck you use them, and if the hype is actually real.
Facial rollers are essentially paint rollers for the skin. They’re most commonly used to enhance blood circulation, which in turn helps products absorb into the skin. They also help reduce puffiness, which is caused by congested lymphatic channels.
“Lymphatic channels are all over the body they are the way our immune system cells get to infections and heal us,” says Patel. “These vessels do not have valves, or muscle in the linings, meaning that lymphatic fluid can pool puffiness seen from sleeping on your face, for example, is from lymphatic fluid.”
Although there is a ridiculous amount of facial roller models out there, the ones made with gemstones are more popular than ever in 2018. Anyone familiar with crystal healing knows that jade and quartz the most frequently used ones are calming and cooling. But Patel emphasizes that it isn’t just all hype.
“[Jade] was used in the past and throughout history (especially in China where it is more common) in ball/egg forms, as it is not very porous will not retain bacteria. Other gems have the same properties. There are, of course, healing, energy, metaphysical, and spiritual attributes given to gems. It is thought that the jade helps relieve the tension in the face. After all, it is rolling over wrinkles.”
So, how do you use it? There are two ways: Either massage your face with it for three to five minutes after applying face products or apply your serum/moisturizer with the roller. However, Patel says that the roller itself won’t instantly increase absorption; it will only help with the lymphatic flow under your skin.