Lymphatic drainage face massages are trending on TikTok—yielding some curiously dramatic earlier than and afters—and popping up on spa menus from coast to coast. Like most wellness traits, their purported advantages sound nice on paper (er, display screen): Decreased puffiness, glowier pores and skin…offered! However are these fresh-faced results legit or over-blown? (Is the sculpted jawline in that TikToker’s video actually a results of therapeutic massage?) And is there even a distinction between a lymphatic facial therapeutic massage and an everyday one?
We tapped three consultants (all of whom, spoiler alert, had a barely totally different tackle the subject) to weigh in. Right here’s what they needed to say re: what a facial lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage can and may’t do to your pores and skin, and the right way to attempt it on your self, when you’re so inclined.
First, let’s speak in regards to the lymphatic system.
Earlier than we are able to get to the “drainage therapeutic massage” a part of issues, it’s useful to grasp what the lymphatic system is and the aim it serves. Per the Mayo Clinic, the lymphatic system consists of a community of tissues and organs together with lymph nodes and channels. Lymph—extra fluid that’s current in bodily tissue—strikes via these channels and in the end drains into the bloodstream, which helps keep balanced fluid ranges within the physique, Jennifer Levine, MD, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York Metropolis, tells SELF.
The lymphatic system additionally performs a serious position in your immune system. Lymph nodes are bean-shaped glands—discovered within the armpits, groin, stomach, and yep, the face and neck—that act as guards, stopping international substances from getting into the physique, Dr. Levine explains. Once they lure these molecular intruders they’ll turn out to be enlarged, therefore why swollen lymph nodes are generally a symptom of an infection. Lymph nodes additionally produce disease-fighting white blood cells, that are then transported all through the physique by way of these lymphatic channels.
What’s a lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage?
There are totally different methods, however the general purpose of any lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage is to assist enhance the stream of the lymph with a really focused kind of movement, utilizing both a instrument or the fingers, Kseniya Kobests, MD, board-certified dermatologist and director of beauty dermatology at Montefiore Einstein Superior Care in New York Metropolis, tells SELF. Proponents declare that the lymphatic system generally wants this encouragement as a result of—not like the circulatory system, which is pushed by the guts—it doesn’t have an organ serving to it pump and transfer fluid.
Nevertheless, in response to Dr. Levine, your lymphatic system is remarkably good at working by itself, with none kind of guide help. “A lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage isn’t going to make your lymphatic system do one thing it wouldn’t do in any other case. What it may well do is assist it work a bit quicker,” she explains. To that time…
What are the potential advantages of a facial lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage?
The entire consultants we spoke to agree that the first profit is transferring extra fluid out of the facial space, and that interprets to a de-puffing impact. It’s often instantaneous, though Dr. Levine is fast to notice that any kind of lowered swelling or puffiness is simply momentary. “There’s anecdotal proof that this sort of therapeutic massage will transfer the fluid, however that doesn’t imply it’s not going to come back again,” she says. These de-puffing, swelling-reduction advantages are why lymphatic drainage massages are generally advisable after cosmetic surgery, be it on the face or physique. (Dr. Levine says that she doesn’t recommend it to her sufferers as a result of she doesn’t assume it’s mandatory, however notes that it’s actually not dangerous so long as you’re cautious round areas which are therapeutic.)