Anyone who knows me is aware that I don’t do “bullshit” beauty. Unlike our beautiful, wonderful, sweet assistant editor Rachel, I don’t believe that placing a crystal near your face can get rid of acne, or that doing a ten-day juice cleanse can “detoxify” your skin, or that whispering positive affirmations to yourself each morning can cure your rosacea. And I most definitely do not believe that rolling a green rock up and down your face like a rolling pin on a slab of dough can do anything other than feel “interesting.”
Listen, I’m not saying I’m right. I’m an out-and-out hater of most alternative beauty methods, and, as Tay Tay says, haters gonna hate. But I do prefer to rely on scientific evidence when making decisions about my skincare—and most trends don't have any. Yet, despite most beauty fads going the way of the dinosaurs, jade rollers continue to dominate the skincare world (and probably your social media, too).
So after watching Rachel excitedly show off her new millennial-pink jade roller, I decided to put down my haterade and find out, once and for all, whether or not jade rollers really do anything—at least, from a medical standpoint.
“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—i.e. 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.
Now here’s what jade roller cannot and will not do: “increase collagen stimulation, reduce wrinkles, enhance or increase the penetration of skincare ingredients, or clear acne outbreaks,” says Dr. Levin. “I do think that rolling a cold stone on your face can be relaxing, which, in turn, can indirectly improve stress-linked skin conditions, such as rosacea, acne, and psoriasis, but that’s about it.” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using a jade roller every day if it makes you feel good, she adds, “but it also isn't going to do a whole lot for your skin.”
If you're planning to try jade rolling anyway, the process is simple: Apply a few drops of moisturizer, serum, or oil to your clean, dry face, then gently roll the jade up, down, and all across your skin until the product is absorbed. That's it. I'm still not personally convinced that they're worthwhile, but for every naysayer, there are a thousand yes-sayers (Rachel), so I’ll just defer to the old adage of “to each her own.”