The Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing

 Image: The Dreslyn

Image: The Dreslyn

Our skin is a mirror that reflects our overall health. It is not only our largest organ but also the most significant detoxification organ in the human body. The skin is made up of nerves, glands, and layers of cells that, when functioning properly, serve as a protective barrier against the outside world (for example, from chemicals and varying temperatures). Another crucial role the skin plays is in supporting optimal detoxification by helping to eliminate toxins. If toxins, pesticides, chemicals, and other environmental influences are not eliminated through the skin layer, added stress is placed on other detoxification organs, such as the kidneys and liver.

 

The extent of toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis is beyond comprehension. These toxins come from the environment, beauty and personal care products, cleaning products, and some of the food we ingest. When we don’t properly eliminate these toxins, they appear on the skin in the form of eczema, acne, psoriasis, cellulite, and wrinkles.

 

The therapeutic practice of daily dry skin brushing offers a myriad of internal and external health benefits. Mainly, it enhances the body’s natural waste removal systems, which contributes to the proper functioning and health of other organs. Integrating the practice of dry skin brushing into your daily ritual supports the restoration of vital energy and gives your skin a radiant glow.


The Benefits

Increases circulation: The lymphatic system is a significant part of our body’s immune system. Our lymphatic systems clear cellular waste products from our tissues and transport them to our blood for elimination. This process is referred to as lymphatic drainage. When the lymphatic system is congested, this stagnation can lead to inflammation and illness. Dry skin brushing stimulates lymphatic system circulation, allowing toxins to be brought to organs of elimination, which ultimately aids in detoxification.

 

Exfoliates: The process of running a firm, bristled brush over the skin helps loosen and remove dead skin cells, naturally exfoliating the skin. Not only does it exfoliate, but it also clears oil, dirt, and residue from the pores, allowing your skin to breathe. Don’t use this brush on your face, though - it’s a little too rough for that. If you have a delicate, small brush, you can achieve the same desired benefits on your face. The Clarisonic is a wonderful option as it has a rotating brush, or you can try a more affordable dry face brush.

 

Reduces cellulite: Cellulite is stagnant fat deposits that have accumulated just beneath the skin. Dry brushing helps to soften these hard fat deposits by breaking down trapped toxins and eliminating them, naturally diminishing the appearance of cellulite.

 

Supports muscle tone: Another advantage of dry skin brushing is that it stimulates the nervous system. This activates muscle fibers and improves muscle tone. Dry brushing is particularly beneficial to people who have been looking to tighten up sagging skin.

 

Relieves stress: Similar to massage, dry skin brushing is a self-care technique that can decrease stress. When in a state of relaxation, your body can function optimally and heal faster. Chronic stress eventually leads to an imbalance in hormone levels that can increase inflammation and result in poor endocrine system functioning.


Getting Started

 

Purchase a natural bristle brush, like this one or this one.

 

For best results, dry skin brush every day in the morning right before you shower as it’s very stimulating for the body and will help to wake you up.

 

Always brush toward the heart for proper lymph flow and elimination. Brush each section of the skin 5-10 times. The whole process should take at least 5 minutes.

 

Brush your skin in long sweeping strokes starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, and from the hands toward the shoulders.

 

Use larger, circular, and counterclockwise strokes on the abdomen. Then repeat the process on your back and neck, but make sure to brush from the neck down to the lower back. (The back is the only exception to the rule of brushing toward the heart - always brush the entire back downwards, toward the waist.)

 

Lightly brush the breasts, avoiding the nipples. It might feel quite rough at first, but the more you dry brush, the less sensitive your skin will become.

 

Once you’ve brushed your entire body, jump in the shower to rinse off all the dead skin cells. Another way to get your blood flowing is to alternate between hot and cold water temperatures while showering. This is a fantastic way to stimulate blood circulation and to bring more blood to the top layers of the skin.

 

After the shower, pat your skin dry and follow up with a rejuvenating moisturizer or oil to further nourish the skin. Combine a carrier oil with essential oils of your choice for a rejuvenating and beneficial body oil.


Carrier Oils

 

Jojoba oil

Almond oil

Apricot oil

Coconut oil

 

Concentrated Essential Oils

 

Neroli

Sandalwood

Frankincense

Rose

Carrot seed

Sea buckthorn

 

To make a customized body oil, mix 12 drops of your chosen essential oil(s) with 1 oz. of carrier oil and mix together well. Body oils can be stored in the fridge to extend their shelf life.


 

Other Helpful Tools

 

Gua Sha - This is the ancient, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice of scraping the skin with a smooth-edged, blunt instrument like this rose quartz one. Like dry brushing, gua sha helps to promote circulation and stimulate blood flow, promoting cellular repair and regeneration as well as healing and recovery from pain and sore muscles. It can be practiced at home (here’s a DIY how-to guide

 

In addition, for a special treat to moisturize post-dry brushing, we love these blends

 

Nucifera - Nucifera’s coconut-based balm is deliciously-scented and is a multitasking product that does everything from moisturizing the skin to conditioning the hair, removing makeup, and so much more. It’s a great option to apply after dry brushing as it is incredibly nourishing and moisturizing to freshly-exfoliated skin.

Jiva-Apoha- This brand has a wonderful collection of oils, including carrier/base oils, essential oils, and various blends that have all kinds of benefits, from balancing and replenishing to revitalizing and awakening. Their oils are all of the highest quality and smell amazing. Explore the collection here.