We’re told we must do about a million things regularly to keep ourselves healthy. But not everyone has an hour a day to put aside for exercise, and not everyone has access to whole, organic produce (And depending on the time of year, who can afford it?). If you’ve been looking for ways to stay healthy without having to spend a lot of money (Because I mean, let’s face it, Christmas will be here before we know it), we may have exactly the solution for you – Dry skin brushing.
What is Dry Skin Brushing?
It’s exactly what it sounds like – You take a natural (Read: Not synthetic) bristled brush to your skin. The brushes cost next to nothing (You can find a perfectly good one for less than $20 at your pharmacy, health food, or bath and body store; sometimes, you can even find them in your local grocery store).
The benefits of dry brushing are obvious, and the process is super easy, too (and ridiculously simple to work into your morning and/or evening routine) – Get naked; I find it easiest to do it right before showering. However, if you’re not the first person in the shower in the morning, this might not work for you – unless you have a large space to work in – The bristles of the brush need to stay dry. A tile floor will work well too; anywhere, you can easily clean up all of the dead skin that comes from your body. There’s going to be a lot of it. Sounds gross I know, but just trust me when I tell you it’s worth it) and brush all of the dead skin off your body. It doesn’t take very long to do, and aside from the (obvious) exfoliation you get from the process, you can end up reaping many other benefits (but we’ll come back to that later).
How to Do It Properly
You’ll want to remember comfort when you search the store for your brush. I have freakishly long arms so that I can reach all areas of my back without problems. I’m told that that’s not the case for everyone, so If you don’t have super long arms, you’ll want to invest in a brush with a long enough handle to easily reach every area of your body. You’ll want to get a brush that has firm bristles but not bristles that are so hard that they’re going to hurt you. This one is similar to the one I use, and (although I may be a little prejudiced) I highly recommend getting one that’s similar – It’s not too soft or hard. Expect some bristles to fall of the first few times you use your brush, but this is one of those cases where you get what you pay for – If you only pay four dollars for your dry skin brush, it’s not going to last as long as one that cost twenty.
Get in the shower (or wherever you plan to brush) and begin. You will brush from your feet (including the soles) upwards to your abdomen and from your hands inwards toward your chest. When it comes to your stomach, brush counter-clockwise. Lower back, brush up; upper back, brush down. The idea is to always be brushing toward your heart. Avoid scrubbing your skin back and forth or in circular motions – A sweeping motion with just a little bit of pressure is really all you need.
Don’t brush the skin on your face (unless you have a brush with super soft bristles), your genitals, or anywhere that’s irritated (by eczema, psoriasis, or any other skin condition) or has any kind of abrasion (including varicose veins). Be careful around sensitive areas like your breasts, but don’t skip them – The more you brush, the tougher the skin will become – just don’t apply as much pressure as you do to your less sensitive areas.
When you’re finished, your skin might be slightly pink, but it shouldn’t be red or irritated. If you find that your skin is being irritated by the skin brushing even though you’re doing it properly, your skin may be just to sensitive to the bristles you’re using. Switch to a dry brush with softer bristles; you shouldn’t have that issue anymore.
You can dry brush your skin for as little or as long as you want (or you have time for). A two to five-minute session will yield results, but I strongly suggest dragging the process out for 15-20 minutes if possible.
When you’re finished brushing, shower as you normally would. When you get out of the shower, skip over those commercial, chemical-laced moisturizers and opt for a natural fruit oil instead (this is one of my favorite moisturizers and it’s super easy to make).
Ideally, you want to dry brush your skin twice a day (once in the morning and again in the evening), but even if you only do it once a day, you should start seeing results within a month (at the latest – It only took me a week or so to start noticing a difference).
7 Reasons To Start Brushing Today
It Exfoliates Your Skin Naturally
This is probably one of the best benefits of dry brushing, removing those dead skin cells. You know those body scrubs you waste tons of money on that only half work anyway? Throw them out – This handy little brush removes all your dead skin and gives you super silky skin. In fact, throw out all your soaps; most just dry out your skin anyway. Those scaly knees or elbows you have? Gone! The bumps on your legs from shaving with a dull razor? Not anymore. Think of this brush as your all-natural beauty soap from now on – It’ll be all you’ll need.
And Opens Up Your Pores
Your skin is the largest organ in your body – Let it breathe! Dry skin brushing at least once daily can help unclog your pores (which is perfect for someone who gets ingrown hairs or experiences body acne regularly) and allows your skin to absorb more nutrients. Your skin is the largest organ in your body. When it’s functioning properly, it produces antibacterial substances that protect us from infection and allow us to fully absorb and produce Vitamin D when we expose it to the sun. By opening up your skin’s pores, you’ll not only be improving its appearance, but you’ll also be effectively helping protect yourself against your next cold! And it’ll cost you less than a bottle of ‘medicine’ that will only mask your symptoms, anyway.
It Stimulates Your Lymphatic System
Another great benefit of dry brushing. Our bodies are filled with hundreds of miles worth of lymphatic tubes that collect waste from our tissues and send it to our bloodstream to get rid of. However, when those tubes aren’t working properly, random waste and other toxins can build up in your system, causing you to fall ill. Dry skin brushing allows you to detoxify this system, helping it release all kinds of harmful toxins.
Increases Your Circulation
If you’ve been looking for a way to increase the elimination of metabolic waste, you’ve found it with dry skin brushing. I’m not saying you’ll lose twenty pounds within a week, but your metabolism might get a little jumpstart.
And Can Even Help Reduce The Look Of Cellulite!
Because dry brushing helps break down toxins in your body, it can effectively reduce the unsightly appearance of cellulite. All cellulite is is accumulated toxic materials stored in your fat cells, anyway. Some people seem to disagree with this, but I’ll tell you from a firsthand standpoint that my legs look a lot better now than they did before I started dry brushing (although to be fair, it could also be my slight obsession with coconut oil that started around the same time).
It’s A Great Meditative Tool
This might sound a little weird, but trust me when I say something is relaxing and therapeutic about dry skin brushing. Remember when I said you should try to drag the process out for 15-20 minutes if possible? Even if you don’t have that kind of time daily, give it a shot sometime (if only once) – I guarantee that when you’re done, your mind and muscles will be calm and stress-free, and you might even feel energized and/or invigorated. It’s kind of like getting a light whole-body massage, except way better.
And It Can Even Improve Your Digestion And Kidney Function
Many naturopathic doctors recommend dry brushing to help with bloating because it helps the body shed excess water and toxins. Taking a dry brush to your skin (at least) once every day can help improve your kidney function as well as digestion. To further aid with this, conclude your brushing routine with a glass of lemon water (with a pinch of cayenne in it if you can stand it) to help jumpstart your digestive system.
Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of dry skin brushing, there’s absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t want to go out and buy one immediately. Seriously, I can’t even explain how much softer my skin is or how much better I feel as a whole.