Dry skin brushing is an ancient detoxifying technique that has recently swept into the modern mainstream consciousness. In our first article in the series on skin brushing, we went over the basics of the technique, how it is performed and how it can benefit you. Because proponents of dry skin brushing make such lofty and seemingly unrealistic claims about the benefit of it, we examined the truth behind some of these claims in the second article.
As is the case with so many modern trends in natural health treatments, we found that the truth was somewhere in the middle; dry skin brushing can have some real and important benefits for the health and look of your skin, but it cannot perform miracles. Of all the advantages of dry skin brushing that are promised by its supporters, we found that almost all were actually true, and that this time-tested technique can have many realistic, positive impacts on the health of your skin.
The Real Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing
After much research and testing, we found that dry skin brushing can have the following benefits to the looks and health of your skin.
- Stimulating the lymphatic system
- Exfoliating the skin
- Temporarily improving and increasing blood flow
- Reducing stress
- Increasing energy
The one promise made by proponents of dry skin brushing that we found to be not entirely true was the reduction of cellulite. Brushing your skin has many effects that are similar to a massage. One of these is the temporary increase in blood flow in your skin. This causes the skin to plump slightly and will temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. However, this effect will diminish shortly after the process has been completed (usually within one hour), and the cellulite will return. While this one promise may not be entirely true, we found that almost all of the other claims commonly associated with skin brushing were accurate.
Now that we have established the general concept of dry skin brushing and determined how it can truly impact the health of your skin, it is time to go over to the process itself. This will help you understand exactly how to go about dry skin brushing, the different variations and optional treatments with skin brushing and which parts of the process will benefit you most.
How to Get the Most Out of Dry Skin Brushing
The first thing you will need to do is buy a brush. It is important to get one with a handle long enough to reach your feet and back and that is made from natural fibers. Jodie Smith is the director of Bodecare– a company that manufactures and sells body brushes specifically for the purpose of skin brushing– recommends buying a brush made of plant fibers.
“Always use a plant bristle body brush. Plant bristle from coconut husks or from the agave plant, commonly called ‘tampico’ or ‘sisal bristle,’ provides the best exfoliation and stimulation of your skin. They are the highest quality, long-lasting and don’t scratch the skin,” says Smith.
If brushes with coconut or agave bristles are not available, you can get one made of any natural fiber. It is also recommended to purchase a separate brush with softer bristles for the face, genitals and other sensitive regions of the body.
Once you have your brush, the process of dry skin brushing is relatively simple, but there are some things to keep in mind. First, decide whether you will brush before or after you shower. One variation of the process involves showering first and applying lotion with your skin brushing. However, most experts agree that it is best to brush before the shower and apply a natural oil or lotion after the whole process.
Start from the bottom of your feet and brush upward in long, smooth strokes, always brushing towards your heart. You can brush your entire body at once, or take it in sections beginning with your legs. Doing each part of your body individually is best if you are new to skin brushing. Brush each section in firm– but not hard– strokes approximately 10 times, taking special care around sensitive areas. Brush your entire body once or twice a day to get the most out of this wonderful technique.
Tips and Things to Remember
- Take special care around sensitive areas such as the breasts and genitals.
- Do not brush varicose veins, rashes, open wounds, inflamed skin or sunburned areas.
- Brushing in a bathtub or on another tiled surface will keep any dead or dried skin from falling onto your floors.
- Brushing away from the heart will put unnecessary strain upon the lymphatic system, so always brush towards your heart.
- Use softer strokes where the skin is thinner and harder strokes on tough areas like the bottom of your feet.
- Because the process can increase circulation, giving you a burst of energy, it is best to brush in the morning.
- The entire process can take anywhere from five to 20 minutes.
- Your skin should turn a light pink color as you brush. If it turns dark pink or red, you are brushing too hard.
- Make sure to wash your brush with soap and water at least once a month.