A trendy skincare routine to add to your overall beauty regimen right now is dry brushing. We’ll explore the details of the ancient practice in more depth, but the
basic idea is to slough off dead skin cells with a bristle body brush.
Before we get into the benefits of dry brushing, let’s understand the science behind why it is such a beneficial habit for your overall health. This understanding begins with unveiling the real hero of the body’s circulation – the lymphatic system.
If you’re a bit stumped here because you’ve always thought the blood was responsible for the body’s circulation, you’re not alone. While the blood is responsible for delivering oxygen to your body, the lymphatic system is how the oxygen travels.
The lymphatic system is a network of lymph vessels and capillaries similar to blood vessels and blood capillaries. Rather than coming in direct contact with your cells, blood capillaries transfer oxygen by leaking out the body’s necessary nutrients, immunity cells, and yes, oxygen. Luckily, your cells are surrounded by something called lymph fluid that absorbs all of the things the capillaries leak out.
The lymph nodes contain white blood cells that filter out the waste and toxins from the lymphatic system. Unlike the circulatory system, which has its own pump, the lymphatic system need help in moving the lymph fluid. Exercise acts as the system’s pump. So does dry brushing.
The symptoms of poor flow of the lymph fluids include:
- Frequent colds and flu
- Headaches and migraines
- Menstrual cramps
- Mental fog
- Skin breakouts
What is Dry Brushing?
Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like.
It’s the simple procedure of taking a body brush with firm bristles and gently massaging your skin from head to toe (well, ankle) in an upward direction.
The process of removing dead skin cells with the firm brush is supposed to brighten your skin. Sloughing off skin also makes your moisturizer more effective, leaving you with fresh, glowing skin.
Beauty experts recommend dry skin brushing in the morning to give you an energy boost. Showering is encouraged after the skin care routine to remove the excess skin cells.
After the dry brushing and shower are complete, you can apply moisturizer and continue your beauty regimen for the day.
Benefits of Dry Brushing
The body’s lymphatic system is essential for immunity. However, it also benefits other systems, such as your digestive and respiratory systems. Dry brushing can reduce digestive problems, asthma and other breathing problems.
Other benefits of dry brushing include:
- Exfoliating skin
- Increased circulation
- Removing toxins
- Improving digestion
- Balance hormones
- Reducing cellulite
- Treating keratosis pilaris (chicken skin)
How to Dry Brush
You can go to a massage parlor to have a professional dry brush. However, the steps are simple enough to do at home. The essential items are inexpensive and readily purchased in the beauty section of any department store.
The dry brushing process is best done in the morning as you start your daily ritual. Many people prefer to do it in the shower so that the dead skin is easily washed away. The skin cells are invisible to your eye, but just knowing they are there can gross some people out.
Starting at your ankles, gently but firmly run the brush over your skin. Instead of brushing in any direction, dry brushing is meant to stimulate your circulation and is therefore angled in an upward direction towards the heart.
When you begin on your upper body, start with the hands and work upwards. The stomach area is brushed in a clockwise pattern. When you purchase a brush, you want to make sure the bristles are firm but not too stiff, as hash exfoliation is not the purpose of dry brushing. Medium- soft cactus brushes are a good choice, as they won’t scratch or break the skin.
Dry brushing can be continued for anywhere between three to ten minutes. Many people find it invigorating and relaxing.
Does Dry Brushing Actually Work?
Dry brushing has been shown to boost circulation and promote lymphatic drainage. Both of these are fundamental aspects of maintaining healthy skin and dry brushing can make your skin glow. Some people have noticed a reduction in cellulite, as well and sun damage to their skin, as a result of dry brushing.
How Often Should You Dry Brush?
How often you dry brush depends on your skin type and your schedule. If you have an open schedule, you could potentially dry brush twice per day – one in the morning and once at night. However, it is recommended that you shower after dry brushing, so it might not be feasible.
If you have fair skin, dry brushing can cause the skin to become red or patchy. If that happens, you should only dry brush your skin every other week. This allows your skin time to heal between dry brushes.
If you can’t fit dry brushing into your schedule every day, once or twice a week is enough to reap the benefits of increased circulation and sloughing off dead skin cells.
Showering After Dry Brushing?
Not only is it highly recommended that you shower after dry brushing, some people choose to dry brush in the shower without the water turned on. The entire point of dry brushing is to remove dead skin cells and some find washing the dead skin down the shower drain is preferable to it getting stuck in rugs or carpets.
After you’ve dry brushed and showered, be sure to dry off with a towel and apply moisturizing lotion. The freshly exfoliated skin will absorb the moisturizer better, giving your skin an attractive shine.
Dry Brushing Essentials
You don’t have to go to a specialty store to buy the necessary items for dry brushing. You can easily buy them online or find them in any store that has a beauty section.
The first thing you will need is some sort of brush. It’s important not to buy a brush with hard bristles that can scratch or break the skin.
You want firm bristles that are strong enough to slough off dead skin but not enough to damage the fresh skin.
The body brushes come in different sizes and shapes. The natural bristle body brush with the long handle is perfect for brushing those hard to reach areas, such as the back or shoulders. There is also a body brush without any handle that fit directly into your hand with a strap to hold it in place. Those type of brushes work well on the arms and stomach areas.
When you’re done dry brushing your body, you may want to dry brush your face. You will need a small, round body brush made just for use on the face. Some people put a drop of oil on the brush or their skin to help the sloughing process. Only use oil if you plan to shower immediately after dry brushing.
You will want to use your normal moisturizing lotion after the shower, along with your other routine beauty regimen. Moisturizing after exfoliating gives your skin extra glow, as the fresh skin cells absorb more of the lotion.
Can Dry Brushing Reduce Cellulite?
Some people who routinely dry brush have noticed a reduction of cellulite on their thighs and stomachs. You might wonder how that is possible. Cellulite is caused partly by stagnant blood pooling under the sections of the skin.
Dry brushing increases circulation of the blood, which helps prevent the blood accumulating under the skin of problem areas.
It can also reduce wrinkles in the face by promoting elasticity in the skin. As our body ages, the skin becomes less elastic and drier, which is a main cause of wrinkles. The extra moisturizer being absorbed by the skin after dry brushing can help nourish the drier skin.
What Causes Dead Skin Cells
Skin cells regenerate every 28 days or so. The new skin pushes the old, dead skin to the surface of the body, meaning the top layer of your skin is dead skin cells. Most of the dead skin cells fall off naturally, but exfoliating can help slough off the remaining dead skin, leaving the fresh skin cells that give your skin a brighter, cleaner appearance.
The idea of dead skin cells makes you want to scour your body with a steel pad, right? However, that would do more harm than good, as it would remove the healthy skin and turn your skin into a damaged red, blotchy mess. Dry brushing is meant to be done gently, but the firm bristles of the body brush can you give the satisfactory clean feeling without the damaged skin of steel pads.
Dry brushing can be a great asset to your beauty regimen, whether you are a skin care fanatic or a lackadaisical a one. The process can be completed in an easy three minutes just a few times a week or in longer daily sessions if you find it enjoyable.