A Soothing Body Balm Rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Like many, I’ve felt a sense of stagnancy after more than a year spent mostly inside, and have turned to routines to keep myself grounded. I’ve also been plagued with dry, itchy skin for most of my life, so I am constantly on the lookout for better ways to soothe my irritation, especially as this spring’s allergy season reared its ugly head.

A few months ago, I was introduced to Yina, a skincare line rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. Founded by Dr. Ervina Wu, a registered TCM dermatologist, and Angela Chau Gray, who first started pursuing TCM with a class in Medical Ethnobotany at UC Berkeley, Yina offers a selective range of luxury products inspired by these centuries-old practices and ingredients. Since I started incorporating their Recovery Body Treatment and Bian Stone Gua Sha into my routine for over a month, I have the summer skin I’ve always dreamed of.

In addition to its key ingredients of horsetail and buddha citrus, the balm is composed of a blend of medicinal plants to “help boost circulation, improve tissue laxity, and balance the mind.” It smells pleasantly warm and spicy from a mix of hinoki, ginger, fir balsam and spruce, and is a very pretty marigold color that vanishes as you begin to rub it in. A little bit goes a long way—I’m talking, like, a pea-sized amount to cover most of my body—and it glides on easily, especially with the help of the gua sha, which has ripples, notches and grooves that help get into tight muscles. (Beginners can watch a quick tutorial here, and Yina offers additional tips, videos and workshops on their Instagram.) Within a few hours, my skin was smooth and velvety, as promised, but it was also a lot less inflamed than it had been earlier that day.

After consistent use for a few weeks, I noticed my tone and texture improved, not to mention I felt less bloated overall thanks to the massaging, which some say can help with lymphatic drainage. The usual patches of redness on my arms had vanished, replaced with hydrated, glowy skin worthy of an early 2000s music video.

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