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Is your skin dull and lifeless? How a lymphatic drainage massage can get your skin glowing again

The benefits of lymphatic drainage massages and easy ways to incorporate them into your routine.

Is your skin dull and lifeless? How a lymphatic drainage massage can get your skin glowing again

Lymphatic drainage promotes the movement of waste to the lymph nodes found throughout the body. (Photo: iStock)

It’s been said that lymphatic drainage massages are key to a glowing complexion and smoother silhouette. Though they aren’t new, they have been going from strength to strength. So what makes them so sought after?

Think of your lymphatic system as your body’s clean-up crew, explained Dr Lina Yow, aesthetic doctor at IDS Clinic. “It is part of the body’s immune system, comprising a network of organs, vessels and tissue.”

It helps maintain the body’s fluid balance, removing waste, water and unwanted toxins – caused by too much alcohol, coffee, sugar, stress or even infection, that build up into lymph fluid, shared Inge Theron, founder of FaceGym.


Benefits of a lymphatic drainage massage. (Photo: iStock)

A lymphatic drainage massage is a manual technique that stimulates the lymphatic system to promote the movement of waste to the lymph nodes found throughout the body at the base of the neck, armpits and groin.

According to Dr Yow, it can improve waste removal, reduce swelling and enhance circulation by improving the lymphatic system function. It’s also “beneficial after surgeries or for managing conditions like lymphedema (swelling due to build-up of lymph fluid in the body).”

But that’s not all. Facially, it can offer a natural and non-invasive way to enhance your appearance, such as reducing puffiness and contouring the features, said Dr Yow.

It can also boost the benefits of your skincare products, shared Dr Christine Werron Schulz, head of clinic and spa at Augustinus Bader. As well as help improve blood flow and boost skin’s glow by bringing oxygen to the skin, added Theron.

However, if you’re looking for a snatched jawline, Dr Schulz emphasised that a lymphatic massage is not the same as a lifting or sculpting massage as the objectives are different. With a lymphatic massage, it works on the very fine structures of the lymphatic system, whereas a sculpting or lifting massage targets the muscle structure and fat tissues that droop due to gravity and elasticity loss, she explained.?


Lymphatic drainage gives you glowing skin. (Photo: iStock)

While DIY lymphatic drainage massages are generally safe, there can still be potential risks. “Applying too much pressure during the massage can cause bruising, discomfort or damage to the delicate lymphatic vessels,” said Dr Yow. As well as swelling, shared Joanna Czech, founder of Joanna Czech Skin Care.

Instead, Dr Yow advised using gentle pressure and rhythmic, subtle movements to create a pump-like action to encourage the movement of lymph fluid through the vessels and nodes.

Excessive sessions could also strain your lymphatic system too. “Too many sessions over a short period of time might overwhelm the body’s natural processes and hinder lymphatic flow,” said Dr Yow

In addition, both Dr Yow and Czech shared that lymphatic drainage massages aren’t suitable for everyone. If you’ve had your lymph nodes removed or have other health conditions like congestive heart failure or kidney problems, do consult a medical professional.


Easy everyday facial lymphatic drainage?

DIY facial massage. (Photo: iStock)

This is easy enough to do during cleansing or even when applying your favourite moisturiser daily.?


  1. Place your hands on either side of your nose. Starting from the centre of the face, sweep your hands towards the ears and down the neck.
  2. Sweep your hands across the forehead, again moving outwards and downwards to the neck. Repeat this 3 times.
  3. Always use light to medium pressure and don’t forget to focus on specific areas like under the eyes where it can get puffy due to poor circulation.

Jawline hooks

Jawline hooks. (Photo: iStock)

To enhance the jawline and boost the lymphatic system.


  1. Create a V-shape hook with your thumb and index finger. Place this at the centre of the chin, with the thumb underneath.
  2. Move the V from the centre of the chin towards the earlobe along each side of the jaw, working slowly to contour and ease any tension.
  3. Using medium pressure, repeat this move eight times for each side.

Dry brushing

Dry brushing. (Photo: iStock)

Stimulates lymphatic flow and exfoliates to reveal smooth skin. For newbies, Czech advised doing this in the morning, twice a week and slowly building up to every day.


  1. On clean and dry skin, use a soft natural-bristle brush and sweep the skin in long, gentle strokes in an upward motion, starting from your feet.
  2. Brush each area a few times while avoiding using too hard pressure to prevent skin irritation.
  3. Finish with your regular shower routine.


Use light, gentle strokes. (Photo: iStock)
  • Use gentle, light pressure. “The goal is to encourage lymphatic flow without causing discomfort or damage,” reminded Dr Yow.
  • Work towards the heart. The repetitive strokes should be done slowly as lymph fluid sits very close to the skin; press too hard and you’ll be working on your muscles instead, said Theron. Work the movements towards the heart and in circular motions around the joints, added Czech.
  • Drink lots of water. This supports your body’s natural detoxification processes.
  • Start with clean hands and tools. This ensures that you don’t introduce dirt or bacteria into the skin.
  • Always finish at a lymphatic duct – the collarbone, behind the ears or under the arms. These process the lymph, clean it up and help expel the waste and toxins, said Theron.


Joanna Czech I Love Grain Dry Massage Body Brush, US$41/S$56

Joanna Czech I Love Grain Dry Massage Body Brush. (Photo: Net-a-porter)

Made with vegetable derived bristles, this gently and effectively sloughs away dead skin cells while promoting circulation for smoother and dimple-free skin.

Available at

IDS Recovery Serum, S$86.40

IDS Recovery Serum. (Photo: IDS)

Not only soothes the skin but also works to minimise the appearance of wrinkles while improving skin tone at the same time.

Available at IDS Aesthetics and

Augustinus Bader The Face Oil, S$375

Augustinus Bader The Face Oil. (Photo: Augustinus Bader)

Used with your fave gua sha tool to nourish the skin. Thanks to its proprietary TFC8 complex, skin looks firmer, smoother and more radiant.

Available at

FaceGym Multi-Sculpt High-Performance Gua Sha, US$66/S$90

FaceGym Multi-Sculpt High-Performance Gua Sha. (Photo: Net-a-porter)

Made from a medical-grade, hypoallergenic stainless steel, this depuffs the skin, releases tension and boosts lymphatic drainage. Tip: Store it in the fridge for an instant cooling effect.

Available at

Clarins Body Masvelt Advanced Body Shaping Cream, S$115

Clarins Body Masvelt Advanced Body Shaping Cream. (Photo: Clarins)

A nourishing cream that slims, firms and sculpts with its 96 per cent natural origin formula. Massage in circular strokes to promote its effects for a smoother silhouette.

Available at

Source: CNA/yy




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