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A Guide to Dry Brushing Techniques for Skin Health

Jun 23, 2021

By now, you’ve probably heard about the centuries-old Ayurvedic ritual of dry brushing — literally brushing your full body with a dry bristled tool.

In the last couple of years, dry brushing popularity among celebrities and influencers has been growing steadily. Some swear it’s the best tool to remove dead skin cells, stimulate circulation and decrease the appearance of cellulite. All it seemingly takes is you brushing your skin at home once a day.

Since it’s so easy to incorporate this ritual into your routine, it’s worth exploring what dry brushing is, how to dry brush skin and the exact benefits of dry brushing.

What Is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like. You use a natural-bristled, firm body brush to massage your body. As the name implies, your body and the brush should be dry while you do it.

The idea behind dry brushing is that it helps remove dead skin and improve your skin’s ability to rejuvenate and eliminate toxins. This leads to a variety of benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Dry Brushing?

It’s important to note that dry brushing is based on traditional Ayurvedic medicine, and as such there’s more anecdotal rather than scientific evidence to support its benefits.

That said, you can find plenty of benefits online claimed by people who practice dry brushing regularly.

Supporting circulation. Dry brushing is meant to help your lymphatic drainage, removing waste from your body, or detoxifying it. We know that having improved circulation is better for our bodies — manually assisting this process by opening up your pores might help unclog your system.

Exfoliation. Rubbing dry coarse bristles against your dry skin will naturally remove dead cells from the top layer of your skin. This can improve your skin’s appearance, making it more smooth and soft, and also increasing the efficacy of other topical treatments, such as your moisturizer.

Relaxation. Dry brushing is essentially a massage and a self-care routine for your skin, helping you feel more relaxed. It’s a moment of focus on you and your body.

Getting rid of cellulite. Dry brushing cellulite is one of the most popular claims online. In some cases, massage has been shown to temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite, so it’s possible for dry brushing to achieve a similar result — but this is not a recognized or recommended treatment by most doctors. So definitely consult with your physician in advance.

What Are the Risks of Dry Brushing?

The good news is that dry brushing has very little risk so almost anyone can try it and see how it works.

There are, however, some definite no-no’s. Don’t attempt dry brushing if you have eczema or psoriasis, inflamed skin, open wounds, infections, cuts, or rashes. You will only introduce bacteria and make these conditions worse.

Avoid sensitive areas in general, such as your face, unless you’re using a softer brush made specifically for that purpose.

How to Dry Brush Skin Easily

The key idea to remember with dry brushing is that you always try to brush towards your heart. Here are a few guiding steps to follow:

1. Start with your feet
2. Brush using circular motions and slowly move up your body
3. Make sure to adjust the pressure depending on the thickness of skin in a particular area
4. After your feet and legs, brush your arms, and then move to the mid-section.
5. Take a cool shower after you’re done to remove dead skin
6. After the shower, moisturize your body with natural skin products

How often should you dry brush? Since this is body exfoliation, you don’t want to do it too often. Try to repeat the process once or twice a week for best results.

What Do You Need to Start?

Another good thing about dry brushing is that you basically don’t need anything to try it. A body brush with firm natural bristles and a long handle (so you can reach all around your body) will do just fine, and you can add a shorter, softer brush later for more sensitive areas. Keeping a moisturizer on hand will also be beneficial.

So if you enjoy testing out new self-care routines, you should give dry brushing a go. Just remember that it’s not likely to show outstanding results right away. And if you have any concerns, make sure to consult with your doctor beforehand.


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