Lymphatic Drainage and Facial Rolling: How Do They Work?

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As someone who devotes time into researching ingredients and understanding what goes into your body, you’ve probably come across the term “lymphatic drainage” before. You might have seen a face roller tool claiming to help with the process. But what exactly is the “lymphatic system,” and what does lymphatic drainage do for your body?

Even more specifically—how can it help your skin? And is face rolling a gimmick, or is there real science behind it?

Our friends at female-founded clean beauty brand Paradox shared some information on the subject, which we’ve broken down below. 

What is the lymphatic drainage system?

The lymphatic system is a function in your body that regulates the flow of nutrients, white blood cells, and oxygen. It’s also responsible for the release of toxins via lymph fluid. 

Although the lymphatic system provides excellent toxin-filtration within the body, it cannot release those toxins without external stimulation. The ‘drainage’ aspect of the lymphatic system relies on lymph node activation and lymphatic massages. 

Without stimulating lymphatic drainage, the bacterial buildup remains in your lymphatic system, which can cause skin puffiness, irritation, and congestion.That’s why lymphatic circulation is so imperative to your overall well being - and why it’s especially beneficial for the appearance of your skin.

How does facial rolling and lymphatic circulation work? 

As mentioned, lymphatic massages stimulate lymphatic drainage. Massages can be given by hand, but if you want to massage your face regularly with the perfect amount of pressure, an easy way is to try a face roller tool

Face roller tools make it easy to stimulate the lymph nodes on and around your face, without having to pay for a professional massage.

Quality face rollers are made from authentic stones, and they provide a hand-held way to activate your lymphatic system. You can also choose the amount of pressure that works for you. 

The benefits of face rolling include:

  • Lymphatic circulation: Using face rollers in your daily routine keeps your lymphatic system in motion and decreases bacterial blockage, allowing for holistic healing and refreshed skin. 
  • Headache relief: Face rolling provides tension relief in your face, which can alleviate headaches and symptoms of nasal congestion. The smaller side of the face roller is ideal for relieving congestion, and both sides can help to negate headache pain. 
  • Healing properties: Face rollers are often made with healing stones. Different stones are said to hold different metaphysical properties, which promote peace in both the mind and body. For example, the White Jade stone is said to promote inner harmony, while Black Obsidian encourages clarity and strength. 
  • Calming effects: Put your face rollers in the freezer or beauty fridge overnight, and they’ll be cool upon use. The coolness of the stone calms irritation, which can combat the development of acne and similar skin conditions. 

What's the proper technique?

When using a face roller, start in the center and roll outward towards your ears and chin to get the best results. You can even bring your roller down to your collarbones to reach more lymph nodes and further boost lymphatic stimulation. 

To make the experience even more luxurious, try rolling over a sheet mask, or using the face roller to apply a face serum. There’s not a lot of science behind claims that face-rolling helps with skincare product absorption, but take my word, it feels amazing and is incredibly relaxing. And there is definitely something to be said for the tangible power of letting-go of stress via relaxation.

The lymphatic system isn’t acknowledged as often as it should be, but it’s actually one of the most important systems in your body.

So be it with a face roller, a massage, or another method—remember to pay attention to your lymphatic system and treat your body right.


By Erika Fonseca & Elise Gabriel

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