As of recent, the Ayurvedic medicine practice of dry brushing has been touted by celebrities (I’m looking at you, Gwyneth Paltrow) and other figures in the wellness community as a practice that, with regular use, can fix a host of issues including the slight ripples in our skin referred to as cellulite. This is most likely a temporary and minimal result from the skin tissue being stretched out and supple after manual massage. We do not believe that dry brushing will solve all your problems. However, if you have some extra time on your hands before taking your shower, you may choose to incorporate dry brushing into your routine for a few different reasons!
What it can do
Exfoliation: Dry brushing is without a doubt a very effective physical exfoliator. By brushing your skin with the stiff, natural bristles, you are manually removing dead skin cells that are sitting on the top layer of your skin. One noticeable benefit that some people have experienced with exfoliating their legs is fewer ingrown hairs. Exfoliating is something that many of us take the time to do on our faces, but the skin on our body can benefit just as much from a weekly slough.
Encourages circulation: Dry brushing may be a good way to support your lymphatic system. By using gentle pressure on the skin, the idea is that we are stimulating the lymph nodes and encouraging drainage. This can help prevent or manage symptoms of lymphedema, which is a condition where excess fluid collects in the tissues, causing swelling, which can become very painful. By encouraging blood circulation with dry brushing, we are contributing to our body’s function of maintaining healthy blood and oxygen flow throughout the body.
Self care: Dry brushing is an extra step in our day that forces us to take a few minutes alone to focus on ourselves. Like yoga, meditation, or a hot bath, this practice can be a very soothing and relaxing moment amidst the oftentimes chaotic nature of day to day life.
How to dry brush
You will want to buy a dry brush with natural bristles. A long handled brush will allow you to get to harder to reach places on your body.
You should start at your feet, brushing up slowly and gently up your thigh. Some sources say that when you reach your belly, you should be brushing in a circular, counter-clockwise motion. The general idea is to brush upwards, towards your heart. We do not recommend dry brushing your face unless you are using a brush that is meant for the face. The bristles on body brushes are much too harsh for the more sensitive skin on our faces.
Afterward, you may wish to take a shower, although this is optional. Taking a shower that is cool or at least not too hot will not rob your skin of moisture. Many of us appreciate the comfort of a steaming hot shower once in a while, but it is not the best for our skin. After dry brushing and showering, it is a good idea to moisturize the skin with some cream or oil. Exfoliated skin absorbs moisture better (who doesn’t appreciate supple, glowing skin?!).
If you have very sensitive or inflamed skin (psoriasis or eczema) you may want to skip this ritual. Natural bristles tend to be stiff. This is great for exfoliating harder areas of the body such as the bottoms of the feet, but for people with sensitive skin, a gentler exfoliator such as a cream formula applied with the fingers would be a safer option. It is also not recommended to dry brush too often. Doing so can result in raw skin and micro-tears that can invite infection. We recommend dry brushing 1-2 times a week.
Although there have not been any scientific studies on the efficacy of dry brushing that we could find, it is a relatively new trend with lots of anecdotal evidence supporting its benefits. Dry brushing most likely won’t drastically change your life. But if you are willing to put a little bit of time towards smooth skin, it may be worth a shot!
Sources: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12675/a-stepbystep-guide-to-dry-skin-brushing.html https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-perform-lymphatic-drainage-massage#treatment https://www.thelymphaticmessage.com/blog/2018/1/21/dry-brushing https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/anti-aging/a28554926/what-is-dry-body-brushing/