The truth about massage rollers…

Facial massage rollers have won the hearts and dollars of millions of beauty junkies around the world in recent times despite no evidence that they actually “work” – until now.

A new Japanese study reveals that facial massaging using a roller (whether it be made from traditional jade or millennial pink quartz) can increase skin blood flow for more than ten minutes and widen blood vessels in the long-term.

Naoyuki Hayashi from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and colleagues at Tokyo Healthcare University and the Research and Development Centre examined the short – and long-term effects of using a massage roller on facial skin and blood flow.

In the short-term experiment on healthy males and females, they found that “even a five-minute massage can significantly increase facial skin blood flow (up to 25 percent) in the massaged cheek”, and the “duration of the effect” continued after the massage ended.

“The increase in skin blood flow after applying the massage roller persisted much longer than we had expected,” they said.

Imaging using laser-speckle flowgraphy revealed higher skin blood flow in the massaged area (supplied by Naoyuki Hayashi)

“Short-term mechanical stimulation by a facial massage roller increased skin blood flow for more than ten minutes solely in the massaged cheek.”

In the long-term experiment, the researchers examined the effects of daily massage on the right cheek over a five-week period. They also examined the reactivity of facial blood vessels to a heat stimulus (a heating probe set at 40°C) in order to test whether there were any changes in vascular dilation response.

Findings from the long-term study suggested that using a roller improved blood flow response, or the so-called vasodilatory response, to heat stimulation.

Published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, the research suggests that social media influencers are right and that facial rollers (which have been used in China for centuries) is  more than just a pretty accessory on Instagram – they are a simple and effective beauty tool.


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