Ever heard of dry brushing? Never heard of dry brushing? Ever wondered what dry brushing is? Here are all the answers.
Dry brushing is a relatively simple process that uses, you guessed it, a dry brush on dry skin.
First lets begin with the benefits of dry brushing. If you dry brush you’ll have:
- Skin that is healthier and smoother: removing dead skin cells and opening pores to allow them to “breath” and absorb nutrients.
- Stimulated lymphatic and circulatory systems: boosting your immune system and increasing circulation to help detoxify.
- Stress relief: increasing your blood flow reduces stressed areas of the body and stimulates nerve endings in your skin which in turn rejuvenates your nervous system.
- Reduced cellulite: increasing blood circulation to the skin helps break down and releases toxins that cause cellulite in legs and hips.
I must address the issue of cellulite and dry brushing since almost any time you read about dry brushing you’ll find that supposedly dry brushing reduces cellulite. Please don’t rush out to buy a brush and start dry brushing like mad in order to reduce your cellulite because, sorry to say, I really don’t think that dry brushing will reduce cellulite. If your skin is smoother from dry brushing than the appearance of your cellulite might be reduced but nothing more. Most people have some cellulite and there is no cure* for it so dry brush in order to exfoliate but not to reduce cellulite. (For more information about cellulite see my previous post Can You Get Rid of Cellulite?)
The notion that dry brushing can reduce or eliminate cellulite make no sense. Fat is arranged in large chambers separated from each other by columns of connective tissue. If fat overflows these chambers as a result of being overweight, or if the connective tissue slackens with age (as it invariably does), the result is the classic pitting and bulging we have come to know as cellulite. I have never seen any treatment that can effectively eliminate it. An improvement in the “appearance” of cellulite may be in the eye of the beholder, but I doubt that any objective change takes place with dry brushing.
The idea that the method can eliminate “up to a pound of toxins a day,” as some proponents claim, is ridiculous. First of all, the body does a pretty good job of cleansing and purifying itself. If you feel the need, you can help speed the removal of unwanted materials by drinking more water to increase urinary output, taking steam baths or saunas to promote sweating, adjusting diet and fiber intake to ensure regular eliminations, and getting enough aerobic activity to stimulate breathing. In addition, taking the herbal remedymilk thistle supports normal, healthy liver metabolism, aiding its important role in detoxification.
I would take the health claims for dry brushing with a big grain of salt. If you enjoy it and believe it benefits you, there’s no reason not to do it. But if you find that it irritates or inflames your skin, you might want to opt for a less abrasive spa treatment.
Just how often should you dry brush and how do you do it?:
How often: Dry skin brushing effectively opens up the pores on your skin. This is something you can — and should — be doing daily, even twice a day. Your skin should be dry, so the ideal time is in the shower before you turn on the water. Just a reminder, don’t get the brush wet.
Direction: You should only brush towards the heart. Making long sweeps, avoid back and forth, scrubbing and circular motions. Start at your feet, moving up the legs on both sides, then work from the arms toward your chest. On your stomach, direct the brush counterclockwise. And, don’t brush too hard: Skin should be stimulated and invigorated but not irritated or red.
Type of brush: The bristles should be natural, not synthetic, and preferably vegetable-derived. The bristles themselves should be somewhat stiff, though not too hard. Look for one that has an attachable handle for hard-to-reach spots, if necessary.
If you have a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, have inflamed skin, or sunburned skin stay away from dry brushing. I would also advise against dry brushing your face. There are many more effective ways to exfoliate the face.
I started dry brushing a few weeks ago before my evening shower. I have to admit that I do forget to dry brush before some showers, but I have been pretty consistent over all. I find the process quick and invigorating; it definitely wakes you up. The one benefit I’ve noticed since beginning dry brushing is that my skin is super soft. Yes, I moisturize after the shower but this is a level of softness that I can’t remember ever experiencing. Otherwise, I have to admit, I haven’t seen any other benefits from dry brushing just yet.
Bottom Line: I would definitely recommend dry brushing as an effective way to exfoliate the skin on your body. Forget the claims about reducing cellulite and detoxifying the body. Just dry brush away if it feels good!
*Though there is no cure for cellulite there is a promising new treatment for reducing the appearance of cellulite. It is called Cellulaze.
- Dry Brushing! – Kris Carr
- Skincare 101: Dry Brushing – Michelle Phan
- Dry Brushing: What It Is and How To Do It Right – Refinery 29
Image from healinglifestyles.com