Should You Use A Jade Roller If You Have Acne-Prone Skin?

Illustrated by Chun Seung
Illustrated by Chun Seung
Jade rollers have persisted as a beloved skincare tool, thanks to their gorgeous colour, and also their claims to fame, which include helping skincare products absorb better, promoting blood circulation and bringing down facial puffiness.
However, that doesn't mean they're the best tool for everyone, and people with acne should be wary of hopping on the jade roller bandwagon, as they can actually aggravate skin concerns.
Users on Reddit and TikTok have shared warnings and horror stories against jade rollers and their sister versions, commonly made of amethyst or rose quartz.
"I break out in cystic acne on my neck when I try to roll along my jawline, so I honestly just don’t use it," one Redditor commented.
"I got a jade face roller [last] Christmas and have been using it about three times a week since. But my acne has been really bad during this time," another shared.
Jade has a rich and significant history in Asian cultures — in objects, pendant jewellery, art and of course, in beauty. However, the coopting of jade rollers as a trend removed from its traditional roots is not only insensitive but also sets everyone up for failure. We see this with cheaper jade rollers that may not even be crafted with real jade at all, which raises even more questions about what you're unwittingly putting on your face.
Meanwhile, the material rollers are made from is quite porous, meaning that without proper care, jade can harbour nasty bacteria that you then spread around your face willy-nilly. This can catch you out if you're not cleaning the jade roller frequently enough, or if you're using too harsh a cleaning product that can also aggravate your skin.
Dr Ritu Gupta, a specialist dermatologist from Sydney's Platinum Dermatology, gave Refinery29 Australia the lowdown when it comes to acne and using jade rollers.

"The basic fact is, if you have an appropriate moisturiser, you don't need to help it."

Dr Ritu Gupta
Dr Gupta said jade rollers have the potential to make existing acne deeper, more nodular and inflammatory, or spark a new breakout altogether.
"We all have bacteria that live on our skin, and normally we live happily in harmony together," she said. "But if you've provided a portal of entry [like with a jade roller], in goes the bacteria, and you can get folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles) on top."
Dr Gupta says that despite what skin care gurus maintain online, there isn't enough evidence that jade rollers do anything for your skin at all, and she's wary of people using them in an attempt to help their face oils and serums penetrate deeper into their skin. "The basic fact is, if you have an appropriate moisturiser, you don't need to help it — it penetrates by itself," she said.
While she doesn't recommend the use of jade rollers for people who have acne-prone skin, Dr Gupta does have other suggestions for anyone who wants their moisturisers to penetrate deeper. "Sometimes we recommend 'wet dressing' for people who have eczema, where we get them to put on their moisturiser and lay with a damp face cloth over their face," she says. "What that does is add moisture, and the occlusion (the covering over) increases the penetration of creams by about 30%."
The humble washrag also triumphs over the jade roller for facial puffiness as well, as jade rollers can just push the swelling around rather than get rid of it, according to Dr Gupta.

"When I see someone for acne, 50 to 75% of the consultation is spent dispelling myths — all the nonsense online."

Dr Ritu Gupta
For the people who use jade rollers without any side effects, she said, while it may not be doing you any harm and you're free to do as you will, the benefits are still questionable.
However, if you've broken out from using a jade roller and deduced that the tool is at fault, the first step to getting your skin back to where it was before is to bid it adieu, and simplify your routine without the identified triggers.
But with the rise of skin care videos online, it can be challenging to resist the allure of a new trend that promises perfect skin. "I would say that when I see someone for acne, 50 to 75% of the consultation is spent dispelling myths — all the nonsense online by people who aren't specialists," she said, adding that if you do have skin concerns, seeing a doctor to discuss individual treatment options is always best.
The meditative and relaxing process of rolling a stone over your face, especially if it's been kept in the fridge, might be hard to pass up. If you're in the market for a new jade roller but are worried about any potential side effects, consider taking Dr Gupta's advice and opt for a clean, chilled or warm washcloth instead, which will do the job just as well for a fraction of the price.

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