Spa Hack: Daily Dry Brushing for a Beautiful Body Glow
By: Sherika Tenaya
If you have ever been to a spa, you may have noted with some curiosity “Dry Brushing” listed as a service on the spa’s menu. Effortless to incorporate into your daily routine, and much more effective when done on the daily, this is an easily accomplished, at-home skin therapy treatment for everything from cellulite reduction to full body exfoliation and it comes with a host of unexpected health and beauty benefits!
Dry brushing is a technique best done before entering the shower, in which one uses a somewhat stiff body brush and brushes the limbs, appendages and torso in long sweeping motions towards the heart. This is a technique used primarily for the body and not the more delicate skin of the face.
The most obvious benefit of this unlikely beauty routine is the exfoliation that happens when dead skin cells are dislodged and sloughed away by the stiff bristles of the brush, revealing new cells beneath.
Pores no longer have layers of detritus covering them as your shower routine is now prefaced with a cursory cleaning that removes not only dead skin, but also dirt. This means that any skin soothing treatments you use in the shower, such as your own homemade sugar scrubs, will penetrate far more fully into the deeper layers of the skin as the warm cascade of water and curling steam encourages pores to open. Moisturizing post-shower with any of our delectable body creams will also engender greater emolliency in skin cells that are now more porous and open to receive their silkening qualities.
Dry brushing also encourages the flow of several vital fluids in the body, namely the blood and lymph. I spoke briefly on the lymphatic system of the body in a previous blog, describing it as a passively pumped system of fluid-filled vessels that delivers nutrients to cells, removes cellular waste and destroys pathogens. The vessels of the lymph system lie just below the skin, and as you brush towards the heart, which is where the lymph drains, you speed along the all-important tasks of this bodily system so imperative for proper immune function.
Not only does dry brushing detoxify the lymph, but it also oxygenates the blood and organs, increasing circulation of the veins and arteries in just the same manner as it eases along the flow of lymphatic fluid.
According to Ronel Corbin, a self-proclaimed spa expert and Senior VP of a natural skin care line, “naturopathic doctors use dry brushing to help with bloating because massaging the lymph nodes helps the body shed excess water and toxins….it can also help to improve digestion, kidney function and more.”
Another possible benefit of dry brushing is the diminishing of cellulite over time, although reports on this vary. Krista DeMaio spells it out in her article on dry brushing when she explains, “Because dry brushing helps eliminate toxins, many pros claim it can smooth those unsightly lumps and bumps for good. Annet King, director of global education for Dermalogica and the International Dermal Institute, says the procedure helps remove ‘stagnant toxins’ that break down connective tissue, leading to cellulite. But there’s no conclusive scientific evidence that dry brushing can permanently reduce cottage cheese thighs, which are caused by a combination of fat and connective tissue.”
There is a good deal of anecdotal evidence on the internet that it certainly helps with the appearance of cellulite, if only temporarily. Can’t hurt to try it for yourself and see. And remember, consistency is key.
As stated before, dry brushing should be done before the shower and it is best to aim for doing it twice a day.
It is imperative to use a natural bristle brush that is NOT made from synthetic fibers and has a long handle; generally these can be found at health food stores. Katy of WellnessMama.com offers several options for buying a suitable dry brush online as well as a brush that can be used on the face. Camille Beckman also offers a long natural bristle brush, exfoliating body gloves for on the go, and other similar body tools you can browse by clicking here.
Remember to keep the brush dry and, starting at the bottoms of your feet, use long sweeping upward strokes of the brush along the length of your legs, both front and back, towards your hips and buttocks respectively. Avoid back and forth, scrubbing, and circular motions.
After the legs, move to the hands and stroke up along the length of the arms towards your shoulder sockets and chest. Move the brush to your abdomen and use a counterclockwise motion here. Move to the backbody, continually brushing towards the heart.
Skin may be slightly pinkened, but should not be an angry red, nor should it sting. If it does, use a lighter pressure.
Notice any changes that occur as you continue to dry brush daily for a week or more to see if it is something you would like to keep as part of your beauty ritual, and if it is, do your best to hide your smirk the next time you go to a spa and see how much they charge for this simple, yet effective, skin therapy.