Detox Rituals: Dry Brushing 101
If you’re wanting smoother, softer and healthier skin – I’m here to introduce you to dry body brushing! Dry brushing is a great way to exfoliate and condition the skin, while supporting the body’s lymphatic system and overall wellbeing. The list of benefits of dry brushing is long – from helping to reduce cellulite, to clearing up body acne and dry skin.
If you haven’t heard of dry brushing yet, it basically involves brushing your dry skin (yes – dry skin!) in the direction of your lymphatic flow. Dry brushing can be added as a sort of pre-shower ritual and takes 5 to 10 minutes at most.
I love dry brushing because it forces my attention to all those far reaching spots that I often neglect (seriously, how often do we show our ankles some love?!). It really is amazing the results we can achieve by dedicating a small amount of time to our bodies daily! For me, dry brushing has transformed the texture and health of my skin – the key is consistency!
Dry Body Brushing Benefits
Dry body brushing (in the right directions!) is said to improve the efficiency of the lymphatic system. This is important because, unlike the circulatory system that relies on the heart to move blood, the lymphatic system relies solely on muscle movement to circulate lymph (fluid from your tissues).
Hence, lack of movement slows lymph flow and can lead to fluid buildup. Ever noticed how your ankles swell when you sit or stand for long periods? Dry body brushing works to eliminate this buildup of fluid by manually stimulating lymphatic flow – particularly beneficial if you work a desk job!
Many people also report success with dry body brushing in the treatment of cellulite. One theory is that cellulite is caused by a collection and congestion of fluids destined to the lymphatic system. Hence, by improving the efficiency of the lymphatic system (à la dry body brushing!), the appearance of cellulite is also reduced. Though I’m generally wary of anything that claims to reduce cellulite (there are a lot of bogus remedies out there), this theory does sound plausible to me!
One of the most obvious benefits of dry body brushing is the intense exfoliation. These days, I no longer bother with exfoliating shower mitts and scrubs – dry brushing is just so much more effective! Dry brushing essentially removes the outer layer of dead skin cells and accelerates skin cell turnover to reveal newer, smoother skin. This helps with a number of issues, namely dry skin, scarring and hyper pigmentation. For me, regular dry brushing has faded a number of stubborn scars that I accumulated during my childhood, and completely evened out my skin tone.
In this way, dry brushing can also benefit conditions where there is a buildup of dead skin cells, such as body acne and keratosis pilaris (aka chicken skin, or the bumps on the back of your arms). If you suffer from acne breakouts on your back I would highly recommend trying some gentle body brushing, as sloughing away dead skin cells will naturally lead to clearer pores!
I also find that, when used together with dry body brushing, my moisturisers and body oils absorb much better as they no longer need to penetrate through a layer of gunky dead skin cells.
How to Dry Body Brush
- Brush on dry skin: Dry body brushing is performed on dry skin, just before a shower or bath. It can get a little messy (expect a cloud of dead skin cells as you buff away), so following with a shower is always best!
- Direction: It’s also important to pay attention to the direction of your brush strokes. Dry brushing aims to work with the lymphatic system, not against it. Brushing in the wrong direction can cause a back flow of lymph, and we don’t want that! Strokes should always be in the direction of the heart, working from the left to the right side of your body. Start from your feet and work upwards. If you’re a little confused, there are heaps of diagrams on the web – here’s a handy link with some more info on brushing direction.
- Light, long strokes: Work in long, sweeping motions along your legs and arms. Be sure not to apply too much pressure in your strokes. It’s normal to see some redness, but you don’t want to overdo it.
- Bristle strength: When you buy a brush it’s important to consider bristle strength. For legs, I prefer a brush with firmer bristles (I use this one!). For more sensitive areas like the tummy, I would recommend a softer bristle brush (like this).
- 5-10 Minutes: It should only take 5-10 minutes to cover your whole body, though you can certainly be more thorough if you wish!
Have you ever tried dry body brushing?