What Is A Lymphatic Facial And Why Is Everyone Getting One?

Reduced puffiness, a more radiant complexion, and sculpted cheekbones. These are just some of the reasons lymphatic facials are having a major moment.

By Simone Sydel4 min read
shutterstock 1145343842 (1)

Stagnant lymph nodes can lead to a host of problems like headaches, fatigue, and even skin conditions. So it's no wonder that more and more people are turning to lymphatic facials to help them feel better.

But what exactly is a lymphatic facial? And what are the benefits? Here's everything you need to know about this increasingly popular treatment.

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What Is a Lymphatic Drainage Facial?

The lymphatic system is part of our immune system responsible for carrying waste away from our cells and bringing nutrients back to them. However, unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system doesn't have a pump to move the fluid around. Instead, it relies on the contraction of muscles to push the fluid through. Therefore, when there isn't enough movement, it can become stagnant, leading to issues that will manifest on the skin as puffiness, dullness, and acne.

Which is where lymphatic drainage facials come in. A lymphatic drainage facial is a type of massage that helps to stimulate the lymph nodes and encourage the movement of the waste fluid through the system more efficiently. This, in turn, will help to reduce puffiness, brighten the skin, and improve overall complexion.

How Does a Lymphatic Drainage Facial Work?

Lymphatic drainage performed by a certified professional involves very light pressure and strokes specifically directed to the lymph nodes on your neck and face. In order to do this, your esthetician will use their fingertips or a lymphatic drainage tool such as gua sha or cups to increase the activity of the lymph vessels and promote the movement of stagnant fluid.

This is a very simple, gentle, and relaxing facial that takes around 45 minutes to an hour and can be done as often as once a week.

Benefits of a Lymphatic Drainage Facial

Some benefits of getting a lymphatic drainage facial include:

  • Improvement of dull skin: Lymphatic drainage massages help to increase blood flow and bring more oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells, resulting in brighter and healthier looking skin.

  • Decreased puffiness: Lymphatic drainage helps move stagnant fluid out of the tissues and reduces puffiness and bloating, especially in the face.

  • Reduced appearance of acne: Lymphatic drainage helps clear out the bacteria that cause breakouts and feeds oxygen into the cells, resulting in increased cellular turnover and fewer dead skin cells stuck inside the pores.

  • Relaxation: Lymphatic drainage is a very gentle and relaxing facial that can help reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality.

  • Sculpted face: Lymphatic drainage can help sculpt your face by reducing puffiness and water retention, resulting in a slimmer and more chiseled appearance.

  • Reduced sinus tension: Lymphatic drainage can help clear out the sinuses and reduce congestion and pressure, leading to reduced tension and fewer headaches.

Are Lymphatic Drainage Facials Safe?

Lymphatic drainage facials are safe and are commonly advised for people who suffer from lymphatic congestion and inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, sinus issues, or edema (swelling).

However, there are a few instances when you should consult with your general practitioner before getting a lymphatic drainage facial. These include:

  • An active lymphatic infection.

  • Unknown lymphatic condition.

  • You have a high risk of blood clots.

  • Recent surgery, as the lymph nodes may be tender.

  • Cancer.

  • Severe swelling due to allergies.

Can You Do a Lymphatic Drainage Facial at Home?

While the best lymphatic drainage facial will always be done by a certified professional, there are some at-home techniques that can help promote lymphatic drainage.

Your Hands

  1. Start by oiling your skin with a non-comedogenic oil such as squalane and spread it evenly over your face and neck.

  2. Using flat hands, start at the base of the neck, moving upwards along the sides to open up the lymph nodes and get the blood flowing to the face.

  3. Hook your pointer finger and middle finger and work your jawline by pulling up towards the ears.

  4. Hook your pointer finger and use the knuckles to sculpt the cheekbones.

  5. Use the pads of the pointer and middle fingers to gently flick the corners of your mouth upward and work the laugh line area.

  6. Continue to use the pads of the pointer and middle fingers in upward motions to iron out fine lines on the forehead, starting with the center and moving towards the temples and corners of the eyes.

  7. Finally, continue to use the pads of the pointer and middle fingers to bring fluid down and drain it into the sides of the neck.

  8. Repeat every move on both sides of the face and neck up to three times.

Gua Sha

  1. Oil the face and neck with a non-comedogenic oil such as squalane.

  2. Start by holding the gua sha tool flat and working the trapezius muscle from above the collar bone towards the ear.

  3. From there, bring the fluid down the sides of the neck with a gentle but firm motion.

  4. Continue working the jawline by starting at the chin and moving towards the earlobe.

  5. Next, work the cheekbones by starting at the corner of the lip and moving outwards towards the hairline.

  6. Continue to work the forehead by starting in the middle and moving up then out towards the temples.

  7. Finally, bring the fluid down and drain it into the sides of the neck.

  8. Repeat every move on both sides of the face and neck up to three times.

Product To Try: Odacite Crystal Contour Gua Sha Blue Sodalite, $45


  1. Oil your face and neck with a non-comedogenic oil such as squalane.

  2. Start at the base of the neck by the collarbone and glide the cup up and toward the earlobe.

  3. At the jawline, start the cup at the chin and glide it along the jawline and toward the earlobe.

  4. Next, work the cheekbones by starting the cup at the corner of the lip and moving towards the hairline.

  5. Continue to work the forehead, starting in the center and moving up and out towards the temples.

  6. Finish your cupping practice by bringing it all down and draining the fluid into the sides of the neck.

  7. An extra step that you can do to reduce under-eye puffiness is to grab the smallest cup in the set and do pumping motions starting from the inner corner of the eye and moving out.

  8. Repeat every move on both sides of the face and neck up to three times.

Product To Try: Province Apothecary Sculpting + Toning Facial Cupping Set, $32

Closing Thoughts

Whether you opt for the professional route or at-home techniques, incorporating a lymphatic drainage facial into your skincare routine is a great way to show your skin some extra love and care.

Not only will a lymphatic drainage facial help reduce puffiness and promote a healthy complexion, but it can also help release any built-up tension that you may be holding in your face, which will undoubtedly have a positive effect on your general health and wellbeing. So go ahead and give a lymphatic drainage facial a try – your skin will definitely thank you for it!

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