Dry skin brushing has been a part of my daily routine for a few years now and is one of my favourite self-care practices. You’ve probably heard of it before, but maybe you’re not sure if it’s worth the effort or you simply don’t know why or how you should do it.
I’ve put together a little how-to guide to demystify this little ritual, so that you can incorporate it into your own routine and start enjoying its benefits too.
First, why should we dry brush?
Skin is our largest organ and one of the main ways our body gets rid of toxins (along with the liver, kidneys, digestive system and lungs). If our skin is clogged and blocked, we’re missing out on the opportunity to detoxify properly. Covering our skin with creams, oils, and other pharmaceutical products – which, if you’re not using natural skincare products, is the equivalent of spreading dozens of chemicals over your skin daily! – contributes to blocking our pores even more.
This is where dry brushing comes handy, as it helps to get things moving. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to naturally stimulate the lymphatic system, improve blood circulation, and help the body eliminate accumulated impurities, while supporting a healthier skin, stronger immune system and overall vitality.
The Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing
1. Supports the body’s detoxification process
Our lymph – the liquid located just under the skin that circulates trough the lymphatic system – is like water in a swimming pool. If we neglect it, it will become stagnant and impurities and waste will start to accumulate.
When we brush the surface of the skin, we stimulate the circulation of the lymph that’s just underneath. This helps it move all the way to the lymph nodes, those small filtration organs whose main function is to eliminate bacteria and impurities. Dry brushing basically speeds up the elimination process and makes it easier for your body to do its job.
2. Increases circulation and blood flow
Dry brushing naturally improves circulation and increases blood flow. This means a better supply of oxygen to the organs and muscles, and a better distribution of nutrients to the cells. It also stimulates the transport of fatty acids from the digestive system. As a result, we have more energy and a healthier body.
3. Strengthens the immune system
The lymphatic system is one of the most important components of the immune system – the two are closely related. When it is clogged, our defences are weakened and the risk of infection increases.
On the opposite, a healthy lymphatic system helps to protect us from infections and allows us to better get rid of pathogens that may have entered the body. Brushing is an easy way to maintain a strong immune system and prevent and fight disease.
4. Exfoliates, tones and clears the skin
Forget those expensive scrubs and exfoliants; dry brushing is the best natural exfoliant you will find. It quickly removes dead skin and impurities from the surface of the skin, and makes hydration more effective when a moisturizer or oil is applied afterwards.
Brushing clears the pores, lets the skin breathe and stimulates the natural production of sebum, which results in a smoother, tighter, more glowing skin.
5. Reduces the appearance of cellulite
Some will claim that regular dry brushing can even help to reduce the appearance of cellulite. By stimulating circulation, brushing is said to help distribute fatty deposits evenly throughout the body and remove stagnant toxins, resulting in a more even skin.
Now, how do we do it?
1. Choose the right brush
First, make sure you choose a brush with natural fibres. Avoid synthetic fibres as they can be too harsh on your skin, and avoid brushes with leather handle or animal hair for a more ethical, sustainable and cruel-free purchase. The bristles should be stiff; this is normal. I personally use this gorgeous vegan brush (pictured).
2. Brush in the morning
Because dry brushing increases blood flow and is energizing and invigorating, it is recommended to do it in the morning before you shower. It will help to kick-start your day and will give you a little energy boost. If this period doesn’t suit you, choose a moment that works for you. You can do it any other time of the day, but just know that doing it before bed might not be the best idea.
3. Always Brush Towards the Heart
First, always brush on a dry skin. Start with the bottom of your feet and make small circular movements with the brush. Gradually work your way up your legs, one at a time. Then do the mid-section of your body, front and back, always brushing upwards. Brush your hands towards your shoulders.
It’s important that you always stroke the brush in the direction of your heart to follow the natural movement of the lymph. Never brush back and forth. Spend time on each part of your body, brushing about 7-8 times on each section. Avoid sensitive areas like your face and nipples. Make sure to brush the armpits, groin, neck and behind the knees; those are important sites of the lymphatic system.
4. Apply the right amount of pressure
Apply enough pressure to properly stimulate your lymph nodes, but be gentle enough not to scratch your skin. Brushing can be uncomfortable the first time you do it, and can feel a bit weird or itchy, this is normal. Your body will get used to it very quickly and it will actually become enjoyable.
5. Enjoy It!
Brushing can take as little as 2 or 3 minutes, but it can take up to 10 minutes if you take your time. There’s no wrong or right way to do it. Just do what feels right to you. Take this opportunity to relax. Enjoy this little moment of self-care and even turn it into a meditative session if you feel like it. Rather than seeing brushing as a chore, turn it into a special “me” time.
After your first session, you should feel energized and invigorated. After a few times, your skin should feel softer and smoother. Gradually, your body will become stronger and healthier.
Is dry brushing part of your daily routine? Have you noticed any benefits? If so, leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”