Personally, I don’t tend to buy into “quick fix” beauty routines, “overnight results” wrinkle remedies or anything of the sort. As far as I’m concerned, any kind of skin care or wellness regimen takes time, discipline and the right formula for you in order to yield results. But, OK, I’ll admit: TikTok made me do it.
I saw a video in which the creator was teaching viewers how to give themselves a pseudo lymphatic drainage massage. All you have to do, she claimed, is use your knuckles to swipe around on your face in upward motions every morning when applying your moisturizer. I figure that applying moisturizer is already part of my routine, so what could it hurt?
Because, for real, lymphatic massages seem like a bunch of hullabaloo. As a woman, I’ve been told since, I don’t know, birth, probably, to not do things to my skin that will prematurely wrinkle it. Don't go outside without SPF, use gentle makeup applicators, no tugging at the corners of my eyes when wiping off my eyeliner (and I say “as a woman” because really, dudes, when was the last time you thought about sunscreen on a daily basis?). So, of course, if there’s something this easy I could be doing to reduce the chances of early wrinkles, why shouldn’t I try it?
But as I continue rubbing at my face in unnatural sequences every morning, I do have to ask myself: Am I just gullible?
First of all, there’s nothing crazy about lymphatic drainage massages. Usually when you hear about a new fad treatment, it seems a little out of left field, something that a friend needs to convince you is “totally worth it.” But lymphatic treatments are simply about stimulating the lymphatic system, the part of the immune system responsible for ridding our bodies of waste, for a bit of natural detoxification. The practice promises to decrease swelling and circulate fluids around your lymph nodes more efficiently, so that any toxins hanging out between your cells are removed.
The more on-the-nose results are what makes these massages so popular: They’re said to decrease the appearance of water weight and bloating (note: not actually removing fat). It’s basically about moving liquid throughout your body in a more effective, healthy way. Don't think that not getting lymphatic drainage massages is unhealthy (unless you start to experience a damaged lymphatic system, which can lead to chronic swelling), but just like Pelotons and hair extensions, if you can shell out for ‘em, why not?
But back to the face thing. Since we’ve established that, sure, this process does actually make a difference to the look and feel of your body, I’m comfortable with my newfound interest in rolling my fingers around my face. The idea is to stretch your skin outwards from the center of your face, moving in the direction of the lymph nodes toward your jaw and up around your forehead. Between de-puffing and hydrating, simply massaging your face in upward, circular motions is going stimulate the skin into flushing toxins and improving circulation. You’re boosting oxygen flow, too, so it all comes together for glowy skin.
So, lymphatic drainage massages, while made popular by expensive treatments and A-list clients, don’t have to be regarded as some too-good-to-be-true fix-all. The treatment is based in common sense and biology, and you can do it in under a minute from your own home.
You win again, TikTok.