It’s rare to find a holistic health practice that delivers both aesthetic and preventative benefits. Dry brushing is just such a technique. This is a simple daily routine of stroking the skin on your body with a stiff bristle brush. Proponents often point to the healthier “glow” the skin has after dry brushing, but it can also provide less obvious upsides.
The (Proven) Benefits
As with many dermatological treatments that bridge the gap between health concerns and the pursuit of beauty, some claims about dry brushing are overblown or unsupported by available evidence. However, there are several dry brushing benefits that have been scientifically supported.
- Skin stimulation. The most obvious benefit of dry brushing is skin health. The practice aids your body’s largest organ in several different ways. The physical action of dry brushing exfoliates dead skin cells and opens clogged pores. That temporarily gives the skin a smoother and softer texture and a noticeably more luminescent appearance. It also increases blood circulation to skin, helping flush out toxins and oxygenate the dermis.
- System boost. A full-body dry brush session promotes lymph node drainage, helping detoxify the body. It also stimulates the nervous system, leaving you with the dopamine rush of a professional massage.
Although dry brushing is commonly touted as an aid to digestion and kidney function, and a treatment for cellulite, there does not appear to be scientific evidence to back up those claims.
Dry brushing is a simple and pleasant technique. All you’ll need is a large, stiff-bristled bath or shower brush. Although you can use one with a strap, it’s wiser to purchase one with a long handle for hard-to-reach areas. Avoid large warts, moles, abrasions, wounds, or irregular patches of skin when dry brushing.
- Start at your feet and ankles, brushing up in long, steady, firm strokes. You should definitely feel the bristles, but you shouldn’t experience any pain (if you do, stop).
- When you get to your torso, use a circular motion. Repeat that action over your entire back.
- Ease the pressure brushing over sensitive areas of thinner skin, like parts of your neck.
- Try to cover the entire surface of your skin, but do not spend too much time on any one area or you risk irritating the skin.
It’s best to dry brush right before a warm shower or bath (avoid extremely hot water). If you have a skin condition such as eczema or any disease that shows symptoms on the skin, consult your dermatologist or physician before dry brushing.