By Sean Zucker –
Jade rollers have exploded in popularity over the last couple years, evidenced by their inclusion in CNN’s Underscored 2019 best-selling Amazon products list and adoration from mega stars Zendaya, Alicia Keys and Kim Kardashian. But are jade rollers actually effective at eliminating toxins, reducing wrinkles, tightening pores and eliminating puffiness or do those celebrities already have genetically superior skin? The answer is currently unclear but early results are encouraging.
The appeal is obvious. They’re easy to use. The application involves merely using a small rolling stone, usually jade but other stones can be incorporated, to massage the face. And jade rollers are massively cheap in comparison to other skincare products, with multiple versions on Amazon costing between ten and twenty bucks—a price range that some experts seem to suggest would be a productive use of money.
Jennifer Chwalek, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City, praised the simple tool when speaking with Glamour, citing its ability to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage, while making skin look more glowing and less puffy. She went on to compare its benefits and function to that of facial acupuncture.
GQ’s fitness and wellness columnist, Joe Holder, supported Chwalek’s support for jade rollers, adding that they can also work as stress relievers. “Honestly, it’s a bit of a ritual that helps me calm down, especially when I’m spread thin… It’s a light stress reliever that I use when I don’t get much sleep or am under general stress,” he explained.
So what does the scientific community make of these claims? Tokyo Institute of Technology conducted one of the few academic studies on the device and the results were surprisingly positive. The study involving healthy male and female volunteers examined the roller’s effect on facial skin and blood flood. The participants were split into two research segments, one focused on studying the short-term impact of rollers and the other examined the long-term impact.
The short-term experiment involved giving participants a five-minute session with the roller, which resulted in a significant increase in facial skin blood flow, with an average increase of about 25 percent. Visualization of the change in blood flow was achieved using a non-invasive technique called laser speckle flowgraphy.
The researchers were reportedly shocked at how quickly the results were evident. “The increase in skin blood flow after applying the massage roller persisted much longer than we had expected… Short-term mechanical stimulation by a facial massage roller increased skin blood flow for more than ten minutes solely in the massaged cheek,” they reported.
For the long-term focus, the researchers extended roller usage to five weeks of daily facial massages and found it steadily improved blood flow response. The study found the long-term sessions may also improve vasodilation, which is the widening of blood vessels.
Does all this add up to definitive proof that jade rollers are more than the what’s next skincare fad. Far from it. But for someone with strained skin and $10 to spare, it may be worth going on a roll.