Dry brushing, or as some aptly call it, body brushing, is a favorite treatment of perpetually glowy-skinned celebrities thanks to its ability to exfoliate dull, dry skin into oblivion. Although this centuries-old beauty ritual is met with equal amounts of skepticism and enthusiasm, chances are you've heard at least a little about it from your wellness-worshipping peers. However, for most, the benefits of this body-smoothing ritual remain enigmatic. Ahead, all the ways you didn't know dry brushing could save your skin.
You'll find plenty of dry brush options on the market made with natural boar bristles, goat hair, sisal, copper bristles — like Prana Brush's Ionic Body Brush — among others. As the name implies, the brush and your skin should be — you guessed it — dry while you do it. To get started, all you really need is a little self-control. You can be a little tougher on your knees, elbows, ankles, and the tops of your feet, where the skin is thicker, but be gentle on the rest of your body, and avoid your face altogether. To do it yourself, brush upward toward the heart. When you start at your feet or your hands work upward in firm, small strokes.
Exfoliates Dead Skin
When it comes to dry brushing, this is the known benefit of all. As with many exfoliating methods, dry brushing rids the skin of the day's dirt and oil, as well as dead skin cells. The result? Increased cell turnover and more radiant, smoother skin.
You'll notice that your skin will boast a pink tint after a good dry-brushing session. The redness isn't a result of irritation, but instead, visual proof of increased blood circulation. Your body is simply pushing more blood to those areas. Why is that good, you ask? As the blood circulates, it delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body's cells and takes away waste products.
Aids with Lymphatic Drainage
Along with increased blood flow comes the encouragement of lymphatic drainage. All blood carries lymph fluid, which filters through the lymph nodes. Dry brushing speeds blood pumping, helping get the lymph through the body, therefore removing toxins and pathogens quicker.
Many swear their cellulite is less noticeable after dry brushing due to the plumping effect on the skin. And while the immediate (and temporary) results of plumping the skin are great, dry brushing stimulates blood flow and helps flush toxins from the top layers of skin, making it look smoother over time.
Not only do armpits collect sweat and bacteria daily, but add in deodorants — especially the ones that contain aluminum and parabens — and you've got yourself a perpetual pit of pollution. Dry brushing gets all that aluminum residue out of your pores. Fun fact: the underarm area contains as many as 40 lymph nodes, which work to drain excess toxins, but you can speed up the natural detoxification process by running a dry brush over the skin.
Since dry brushing can leave your skin feeling a little, shall we say, dry (it is total-body exfoliation, after all), we suggest you try it before hopping in the shower. To rehydrate your skin, cleansing with a mild body wash and follow up with a hydrating body moisturizer, like organic coconut oil or cocoa based body butter .. Just be sure to skip any other means of exfoliation, like a body scrub or anti-acne wash. Finally, it's up to you (and the strength of your skin) to decide how often to do it. As a general rule of thumb, maybe practice restraint and dry brush no more than two times per week.