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Do you ever wonder if it is worth including dry skin brushing in your hygiene routine? Many people think the primary benefit to dry brushing is just for exfoliating purposes, which is a great reason, but there are many additional health and wellness benefits for this easy and inexpensive skin care practice.
Why Should You Dry Brush?
Often, we neglect or invest little effort into maintaining our largest organ, the skin. Here are 7 benefits to dry brushing your skin.
As mentioned above, many use a dry brush for exfoliating purposes. It works by removing the top layer of dead dry skin cells to smooth, brighten and soften your skin. This leads to healthier skin that is able to “breathe” which improves the overall appearance.
Our skin is the largest organ in our body and one of the primary responsibilities is to detoxify. Dry brushing helps to accelerate the natural detoxifying work of our skin by clearing and preventing clogged pores.
Besides helping to minimize pores by keeping them clear, added benefits of dry brushing are to help prevent ingrown hairs that result in uncomfortable and unsightly razor rash or other bumps that might appear on the skin.
3. Improving circulation
Dry brushing stimulates blood circulation to your skin, which aids in the removal of toxins. Also, by bringing more blood to the skin surface you are promoting cell growth that results in healthier skin. Healthy skin looks better and is able to fight off infection, germs and bacteria it comes in contact with on a daily basis.
4. Increase Energy Level
Many regular dry brush users claim an increase in energy levels throughout the day after dry brushing in the morning. This is due to the nervous system being stimulated by the dry brushing which leaves users rejuvenated. Because of this it is recommended that you dry brush in the morning or during the day time hours, instead of directly before bed.
5. Stimulate Your Lymphatic System
The benefit of stimulating your lymphatic system by dry brushing is well explained by Dr. Mercola on Mercola.com:
In your body, your lymphatic system is the system responsible for eliminating cellular waste products. Hundreds of miles of lymphatic tubules allow waste to be collected from your tissues and transported to your blood for elimination, a process referred to as lymphatic drainage.
When your lymphatic system is not working properly, waste and toxins can build up and make you sick. Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. By stimulating your lymphatic system and helping it release toxins, dry skin brushing is a powerful detoxification aid.
6. Reduce Cellulite
Many brands of dry brushes claim that it helps to reduce cellulite by massaging and softening hard fat deposits below the skin while distributing fat deposits. This helps to smooth the skin and reducing the appearance of cellulite. Dry brush advocates claim that they notice a reduction of cellulite when using dry brushing on a daily basis.
Does it actually work? I am not fully convinced. I am sure there is some improvement to the appearance of cellulite, but it does not seem to completely resolve the issue for me. I find that regular exercise helps to tone my problem areas more effectively.
However, even if there is just a minor benefit to smoothing cellulite from my dry brushing efforts I will take it, especially as we move into swimsuit season!
7. Stress Relieving Light Full Body Massage
Many of us do not take the time or spend the money for a full body massage on a regular basis. Dry brushing is a simple, quick and inexpensive way to provide a stress relieving light full body massage whenever it is convenient for your schedule.
This is a great way to take a moment to relax, release stress and clear the mind. This is one of the easiest habits to adopt to provide self care that will leave you healthier, invigorated and energized.
Many people report sleeping better when adding dry brushing to their daily routine, although it is recommended that it is not done right before bed as it can be too stimulating.
What is a Dry Brush?
Often some sort of wood, like bamboo or birch, is used for a base or head that natural boar bristles are attached. Some have a strap or band for you to slip your hand through. Other dry brushes have a handle, in various lengths, that would be held when using to brush the skin.
Some dry brushes have the benefits of both options. They come with a handle that can be removed from the head of the brush. The brush also has a strap so it can be attached to your hand for dry brushing.
Or you can purchase a dry brushing set that comes with both options. There are many dry brush options available for reasonable prices, here are a few examples.
It is helpful to consider how you are planning to use a dry brush when purchasing to determine which style will best fit your needs. If you are easily able to rub hard to reach places like your back than maybe the handheld brush would be the easiest for you.
If you find it challenging to bend and reach areas on your body, than the dry brush with a longer handle would probably be best. Or one that has the option to add/remove a handle.
I personally prefer a dry brush with a short handle. It gives me the ability to reach my back, but is not too long and awkward when using on other body parts.
There are some dry brush brands who make a vegan alternative to the boar bristles that most dry brushes are made from. Just watch for the listed firmness of the bristles as these can get very firm, especially if this is your first dry brush purchase.
How do You Dry Brush?
It is actually very simple to dry brush. All you have to do is brush your dry skin all over your body with the dry brush for a few minutes. Often 5 minutes is sufficient, some only do for a few minutes and others go as long as 20 minutes or more. I like to do it in the shower before I take a shower so that all the dead skin cells that I brush off are washed down the drain.
You should brush with even strokes or circles with a light pressure. This should not be with hard pressure as if you are trying to scrub your body. Your skin should not be red and irritated at the end of your session, just slightly pink. When getting started go lightly at first so your skin can get used to the process and increase to a firmer pressure as your skin gets accustomed to the dry brushing experience.
When brushing you should start at your extremities and brush in the direction of your heart as this aids in your circulation and lymphatic system. For example, start with the soles of your feet and brush with upward strokes or circles towards your heart. Then work your way up your legs.
Then move to your fingers, hands and arms. Again brushing in strokes or circles towards the heart. I find that raising my hand above my head makes it easier to do the dry brushing on my arms.
Next, brush your buttocks, back, shoulders and neck. Be sure to include your armpits in your brushing as there is a large group of lymph nodes in this area.
When you get to your abdomen brush in a circle pattern starting at the belly button and move the brush from right to left in a clockwise motion. Expand your circle size as you continue to circle the belly button. When you have done this until your entire abdomen has been brushed, reverse your circle path in a counterclockwise motion reducing the size of the circle as you go around your belly button until you are back where you started.
Avoid dry brushing your face, unless you have a specific dry brush that has been designed for use on the face. Using a face dry brush is great for the complexion as it will minamize pores and will remove old, dead skin leaving fresh younger skin that glows.
When you are done your dry brushing session, shower to rinse away any lingering dead skin cells. Then apply a natural body lotion to further nourish your skin, such as my DIY Lavender Whipped Coconut and Shea Body Butter.
Dry brushing is a simple step that can be added to your daily beauty routine. It promotes healthy skin all over your body as well as many additional health benefits, such as improving circulation, lymphatic flow/drainage and overall wellbeing.
It is a way to treat yourself and provide self care. Think of it as a little massage or “me time” that you can get whenever you need or want it!
Do you dry brush? How have you benefited from this routine?
Disclaimer: For informational and educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a health concern, a medical condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking any medication please consult your healthcare provider.