Dry brushing: It couldn’t be more affordable, requires minimal skill and offers an instant glow, but is it for everyone? Now that summer's in full swing, discover the benefits of dry brushing and why it's one of our favorite at-home body treatments for healthy, glowing skin.
If you're prepping your body for summer, dry brushing is for you. Essentially, it involves gently "brushing" skin on the body with a coarse, natural fiber brush to stimulate blood flow and exfoliate the skin. This pre-shower ritual leaves the skin glowing and provides a relaxing self care experience.
Variations of dry brushing have existed for thousands of years. Ancient Ayurvedic, Greek and Japanese cultures all used dry brushing techniques, believing that the practice increased circulation and stimulated the lymphatic system, helped digestion and even increased energy levels. The Ayurvedics believed dry brushing helped the body rid itself of toxins by removing dead skin and debris that blocked the pores.
There is a major benefit to gentle exfoliation that physically removes dead skin and build up. Unclogging pores, and removing dry, flaky skin, leads to buffed, glowy skin that can feel softer and appear smoother and more firm.
Fans of the practice also believe dry brushing encourages a temporary circulation boost that plumps the skin, and provides some lymphatic stimulation, allowing for easier flow and drainage. Plus, the ritual of spending a few minutes brushing the skin is an extremely relaxing way to unwind and re-energize.
Dry brushing should be done on healthy body skin only, and never on healing, broken or irritated skin. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "Avoid using a dry brush on your face since the skin is more sensitive than on the rest of your body." Large patches of healthy body skin on the back, stomach, chest, arms or legs are perfect areas to try dry brushing. However, areas affected by psoriasis, eczema, rashes, wounds or sunburn should be avoided.
Take a quick scan of your body before starting any dry brushing. Take note of any warts, moles and bumps, as you don’t want to spread any potential bacteria, irritate or break the skin of any vulnerable areas. If you do notice any flare ups, redness, or painful spots, hold off on dry brushing until the skin calms down in that area.
Otherwise, dry brushing is very much a "choose your own adventure." Each step of the practice — from the pressure you apply, to the frequency of brushing and the brush itself — should be chosen according to your preference. The only advice we’d share is to use a lighter touch. A vigorous, hard exfoliation leaves your skin red and scratched.
It's best to avoid dry brushing if you have sensitive skin because you are likely to notice irritation and redness. It’s worth asking a dermatologist for advice if you wish to use this technique and have senstive skin.
Choose a long-handled coarse brush with bristles made of natural fiber. The aim is to perform a soft exfoliation that sends you into a relaxed state. Don’t select a brush that is too stiff and could be painful to the skin and instead, opt for a medium to firm brush. A brush with a long handle will help you get to awkward spots like your back or the backs of your thighs, but a brush that can be attached to the hand will give you a little more control over the pressure you apply to the skin.
As with all skin care, hygiene is key to a successful treatment and keeping your brush sanitary to reduce the risk of infection is important. Very Well Health recommends washing your bristles with gentle soap, rinsing well and setting it somewhere to dry out. Alternatively, you could clean the bristles with rubbing alcohol. Because of the skin that your brush will enviably collect over time, it’s best not to share your dry brush with another person.
The best time to dry brush is just before a shower, and the process should take you around five minutes. Don’t be overzealous with your application. One or two light brushes on each area is enough to stimulate without risking irritation or worse, scratches. Watch our Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar demonstrate a dry brushing routine in this In The Mix video. Otherwise, you can follow the steps below.
- Before you begin, make sure both your body and your brush are dry. Scan your body in a mirror to check for any vulnerable patches of skin. If you like, add a little body oil to your brush before starting, to soften the bristles. We love the Stone Crop Body Oil. Take your brush and start by using soft strokes on the neck and shoulders. With your dry brush, swipe downward from the shoulders five times. Then move to the neck area. Sweep the entire neck area by taking the brush from under your chin and swiping dowards. You can do this five times.
- Then, start work on the arms and hands, exfoliating around five times for each section. Begin exfoliating from the underarm and move towards the heart. Then take the brush to the back of the arm and swipe towards the chest. Lastly, exfoliate the lower arms and hands.
- Next, its time to work the abdomen. Divide the area into the left and right abdomen. Start with one side of the lower abdomen, swiping for five times. Repeat the same motion on the other side of the abdomen.
- Dry brush your feet by using an upwards sweeping motion for five times on each foot.
- Move to the leg, thigh and hip, using the same motion for five times on each side.
- Shower to wash off any dislodged skin.
- Follow up with a rich body lotion to replenish moisture to the skin such as the Monoi Age Corrective Night Body Cream or the Stone Crop Contouring Body Cream.
Book an appointment at your nearest Eminence Organics Spa Partner to consult a trained esthetician and explore our products. What results have you seen with dry brushing? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.