The Best Oils to use for Gua Sha according to your Skin Type

Megan Dominion

Gua Sha is a popular method of increasing lymphatic drainage and circulation to the skin. As this popular skincare technique uses oils, this is a great way to match the type of oil you use to your skin type or skin concerns to get even more benefit from this technique. Here’s more on how to choose an oil according to your skin type. If you understand a bit about facial oils, here are my favourite oils for Gua Sha according to skin type:

Oils for Oily or Acne Prone Skin

It’s best to use a very low comedogenic oil for skin that is already producing too much sebum (your skin’s natural oils) or is prone to acne, blackheads or whiteheads. Even if your skin is dry and acne prone, oils that have a higher comedogenic rating than 1 can aggravate acne breakouts. You can Google the comedogenic rating of an oil, and look for oils that do not have a higher rating than 1 if you are prone to acne breakouts or have oily skin.

Safflower oil and grapeseed oil are low comedogenic oils and high in linoleic acid. This means that they are very unlikely to aggravate or cause acne breakouts, or contribute to oiliness. These oils are great for providing the right moisture to your skin, but are lightweight and absorb easily. The biggest benefit of both oils is their barrier repair abilities. Other linoleic acid benefits found in these two oils include:

  • Anti-inflammatory and therefore can aid in controlling acne breakouts
  • Helps soothe irritation and can be a great addition to a skincare routine with stronger actives such as retinoids
  • Increase skin cell turnover leaving you with brighter skin


Gua Sha should be used with caution when you have an active breakout – you don’t want to end up spreading bacteria across your skin. Many beauticians would argue against doing Gua Sha when you have active breakouts, as you’d be pressing on these lesions, aggravating them and potentially increasing the risk of scarring. If you do want to practice Gua Sha and have an active breakout, try swap out your Gua Sha tool for a jade roller and avoid any active lesions.

Woman using gua sha tool in the bath

Oils for Sensitive Skin

Choosing an oil for sensitive skin is going to be based on two things:

  • If you have sensitive skin, the first thing to be aware of is that ANY oil or any new skincare product can cause irritation. Always test a small patch and introduce a new oil or product slowly to assess your skin’s reaction.
  • Does your skin lean more towards dry, combination or oily? If your skin leans towards oily, a lower comedogenic oil is better (2 or lower). If you have dry skin, choose an oil that has a higher comedogenic rating (up to 5). A higher comedogenic oil may feel richer and nourishing on your skin and will usually provide additional moisturising benefits.

Skincare Products

One of my favourite oils for sensitive skin is Argan Oil. It is non-comedogenic, so can be used for any skin type, but especially oily or acne prone skin. It has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as some amazing soothing properties. It can add moisture to the skin at the same time as regulating sebum production.1Healthline: Argan Oil for Skin

If you have dry, sensitive skin and are not acne prone, Marula Oil is a popular choice for Gua Sha. It has a moderately high comedogenic score, so it feels quite rich but light at the same time. Marula oil is great for keeping your skin hydrated and nourished. No scientific evidence points to it being beneficial for irritated skin, but anecdotally it has been noted to reduce itchiness and irritation caused by dryness of the skin.2Healthline: Marula Oil Benefits

Oils for Dry Skin

The oils you can use for dry skin are only really limited by any other skin concerns you may have, such as acne or oiliness (yes, your skin can be dry AND oily at the same time!), and sensitivity to any oils. Even if you do not have sensitive skin, it’s always a good idea to introduce a new product to your skin slowly in case of a reaction.

Dry skin will love oils with a moderate to high comedogenic rating (a rating of around 3-4). Look for oils that are high in oleic acids as they are great for moisturising dry skin. Marula Oil mentioned above is a great option. Almond oil is another amazing oil that is extremely nourishing and moisturising for very dry skin.3Healthline: Almond Oil for Face

Stearic acid found in some oils is very moisturising, but is often too heavy for your face and more suited for your body – so oils and butters such as shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil are all amazing for very dry skin on your body, but I wouldn’t put it on your face as it may be too rich and cause excessive oiliness, blocked pores or breakouts.

Oils for Aging Skin

When choosing an oil for aging skin for Gus Sha, you should also consider whether you have oily, dry or acne prone skin. This will help you determine what comedogenic level the oil you use can have.

Rosehip oil is a wonderful oil for anti-aging due to it containing a natural retinol which stimulates cell-turnover and helps slow down the rate of aging. It should be fine to use on oily skin, but is slightly too high for acne prone skin.

Jojoba oil is another good choice for an oil that helps combat signs of aging. Two skin conditions that speeds up the aging process is dry skin and oxidative stress caused by everyday exposure to pollutants and toxins. Using jojoba oil will help add in additional beneficial moisture to the skin and work as an antioxidant.4Healthline: Jojoba Oil for Face

Introducing a new oil in your skincare routine

Whether you are using oils for Gua Sha or not, it’s always important to patch test a new oil or product, and start slowly to assess how you skin reacts. Starting with once daily every 3 days is generally a good place to start, and watch for any reactions before increasing the number of times you use the new oil or product.

Combining Oils in your Skincare Routine

There are so many incredible products out there that combine some amazing oils. If you are buying individual oils and then combining them, be sure to test them out on your skin one at a time. If you are buying a product that has already combined more than one oil, have a look at their comedogenic scores and benefits one by one before deciding to try it out. This way you are far less likely to purchase a new product that your skin doesn’t like.

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.