Everything You Need to Know About Dry Brushing
When I polled you guys on Instagram last week about dry brushing, I was totally hoping you wanted to learn more because the results I've seen thus far have been awesome. I don't know what exactly prompted me to dig in and learn about this practice, but it was one of those things where I intended to read one article, and three hours, countless articles and way more YouTube videos than I'd like to admit later - I felt like I could teach a class on the subject.
Today I'm breaking down essentially everything you need to know and my thoughts after body brushing day and night for 3 weeks.
5 key benefits of dry brushing
1 / Detoxification
Quick science flashback: Your lymphatic system is one of two major circulatory systems in the body, its primary job being to move immune cells and dead cellular debris through the body to where they can be removed or reused.
In short, your body's lymphatic system relies on movement to keep its flow going and move lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Dry brushing helps kick-start this movement, which results in the removal of toxins and therefore, an immune system boost.
Your armpits and inner thighs towards your bikini line are two key areas to keep in mind when dry brushing. These areas contain clusters lymph nodes that help promote lymphatic drainage.
2 / Cellulite Reduction
Um, yes please! Find me a way to naturally reduce cellulite and I'm in.
Dry brushing promotes increased stimulation and circulation (two other key benefits), and one of the results of this is the breakdown of fat deposits, creating a more even distribution and therefore reducing the appearance of cellulite.
3 / Exfoliation
Given the tough nature of a dry brushes bristles, dry brushing helps to exfoliate the skin (also great for pre-self tanner).
There is, however, such a thing as too much exfoliation. Optimally, you should be dry brushing twice a day. Be careful not to over-exfoliate by not pressing too hard when using the brush (aside from the first 1-2 times when it may sting a bit, dry brushing should not be painful). Moisturizing after is also important (although I tend to only do this when I brush at night).
If your skin is extra sensitive, you can dry brush with an oil to help protect your skin.
4 / Stimulation
Dry brushing also increases natural moisture balance of your skin, helping to stimulate sweat and oil glands so they can work their best. As a result, you'll see fewer breakouts and reduced pore sizes (also due in part to the bristles removing excess dirt and oil from your skin).
5 / Circulation
Stimulation from dry brushing initiates a surge of blood flow in your body (increased circulation), bringing in fresh nutrients and oxygen and improving the health and energy of skin.
How to dry brush
When dry brushing, keep in mind to always brush towards your heart.
Start at the soles of your feet and work up to your calves, brushing in upward strokes. I typically do long strokes that span the length of my calves, all the way around my leg, and then move to long upward strokes from my knee to my thigh.
As you move to your stomach, you can brush in a circular clockwise motion to mimic the flow of digestion, or in small upward strokes (I usually do both).
Continue to your arms brushing upwards an inwards towards your heart, and repeat the same with your back.
Keep in mind, if your heart is below the area you're brushing, brush downward; if your heart is above the area you're brushing, brush upward. You can also check out this diagram for a visual reference!
How often should you dry brush?
Once in the morning and once at night! Trust me when I say this takes about 1-2 minutes of your time and is super quick. When you can, brush before showering! Some mornings when I have less time, I'll focus on target areas like my thighs and stomach. If you can't commit to a full-body brush, focus on your problem spots.
My Exact Dry Brush + Some Recommended Body Oils
Now I'll be totally upfront with you that I started dry brushing right around the time that I switched to a regimented, interval training workout routine. SO, the benefits that I've seen have undoubtedly been amplified by the physiological changes happening in my body as a result of consistent exercise.
That being said, my skin and body just feel like they're in an overall healthier state. I see slight cellulite reduction, which I'm super happy with because after all, its only been 3 weeks! My skin feels firmer, smoother and I feel more energized (again, also I'm sure due largely in part to working out).
I'm totally addicted though - I actually look forward to dry brushing each day. It's almost like scratching that itch you can't scratch - but all over your body. It doesn't feel uncomfortable or harsh on my skin (which by the way - it's totally normal to not love the sensation the first few times you do it!). Definitely something I plan to continue doing daily and would love to answer any more questions you might have below!