There’s something very therapeutic about dry brushing your body before your bath or shower. I heard about the benefits a while ago and tried it because of that but it’s the great feeling that comes from brushing my skin that makes me continue.
It sounds painful (or at least not much fun) before you try it. And it’s true, the first few times are a bit awkward while you get used to the process and how much pressure to use, but after a while if you carry on every day you won’t want to give it up.
Benefits of Dry Brushing
Dry brushing is like a fitness regime for your skin – one of the biggest organs in the body and often the most neglected. If you brush skin regularly with the proper technique (see below) you will
Improve Skin Texture
Sometimes our skin can become quite blotchy, rough and gray looking especially after being hidden away all winter. The intensive exfoliating action of dry brushing can quickly pep up your skin and give it a much needed boost. Your skin will look great winter and summer. Dry brushing achieves this through exfoliation of dead skin cells which encourages the growth of new healthy cells. It also unblocks pores to give you clearer skin.
Get Rid of Toxins
Over a third of the body’s waste products are eliminated through the skin. In fact every day you lose about two pounds of waste through the pores. That’s an enormous amount of toxins that your body tries to get rid of via your skin. You improve the efficiency of elimination by skin brushing allowing the body to get rid of as much waste as possible as quickly as possible. The toxins are not hanging around in your body creating skin and other problems as a result.
Nourish the Skin
Dry brushing stimulates circulation in the skin and brings blood to the surface to nourish it. The increased blood flow helps make the skin more supple and strengthens it in a very natural way.
Pep Up Your Immune System
Dry skin brushing has a positive effect on the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is at the center of the body’s waste removal system. It picks up toxins and other nasties and deposits them in the lymph glands for removal. Although the lymphatic system relies on lymph moving throughout the body it has no pump to help unlike the circulatory system where the heart acts like a pump moving blood through the body.
The lymphatic system relies on the action of muscles or gravity to get it moving and because many of us don’t get much exercise (and we don’t spend a lot of time hanging upside down like bats for that matter) then the whole system can be very sluggish.
Regular skin brushing encourages the movement of lymph through the system so that efficient lymphatic drainage can take place cleansing the body and helping to protect your immune system.
Help Prevent Puffiness
Body brushing encourages the drainage of excess fluid which might gather in certain areas of the body if your system is sluggish.
Improve the Appearance of Cellulite
Despite what others may tell you, any reduction in cellulite is just an effect of the tissues swelling slightly as you improve circulation in the area. Although it offers only a temporary improvement, it’s as good if not better than a number of expensive treatments you may be tempted to go for.
What to Do – Dry Brushing Technique
The techniques and strategies you use to brush your skin make all the difference between getting the maximum benefit from it by keeping up your dry brushing or hating the whole idea.
Spend about 5 minutes every day before your bath or shower dry brushing your skin. Any less than 2 minutes or so and it won’t have much effect, any more and you might irritate your skin.
If your skin is particularly sensitive when you begin the practice just do a couple of minutes instead of 5 and your skin will get used to the process so that you can work up to the full amount.
Also vary the pressure depending on how toned your skin is. Start with very light pressure and you can start to use firmer pressure as your skin acclimatizes but never treat your skin too roughly. You risk damaging small capillaries if you do. Also avoid any areas with skin problems or wounds. Punishing your skin with a brush is not the right idea and won’t encourage you to continue. All the benefits come with regular practice.
Use a natural fiber brush. Many recommend that you use a long handled brush with natural bristles but I actually find a long handled brush to be a bit unwieldy for most areas of the body and I prefer a brush with a handle about 4 to 6 inches long. This allows me to reach my back but the handle doesn’t get in the way when I’m working on other areas.
When choosing a brush, avoid any with scratchy bristles as they will scratch rather than brush the skin effectively and you won’t want to apply enough pressure.
Start at your feet and work your way upwards brushing towards your heart in long sweeping strokes applying as much pressure as your skin is ready for. Brush your feet (including the soles), legs, hips, bottom, lower back and stomach, Once you reach the heart area, avoid the breasts which are too sensitive for the technique. At that point brush from the hands up the arms and shoulders, plus the upper back brushing again towards the heart.
Get washed straight after you finish body brushing to get rid of any debris and toxins on the skin. Wash your brush and leave it to dry naturally ready for use the next day.
After your bath or shower give your skin a gentle soothing massage by carefully rubbing in some body lotion or essential oil diluted in a neutral carrier oil. Always buy essential oil from a health shop where you can get professional advice about the right level of dilution and the right oil for any conditions you have. (for example, some essential oils are not suitable when you are pregnant).
Try and carry out this dry brushing technique on your skin every day to get the most benefit. If at any point your skin becomes sore however, ease off for a few days and go back to it, making sure you reduce the pressure so that you are less tough on your skin.
If You Decide Dry Brushing Is Not For You
Don’t give up on your skin altogether. You can get some of the exfoliating benefits of dry brushing using other methods. See How to Exfoliate For Clear Beautiful Skin