What is it?
Dry brushing is an exfoliating technique that involves massaging a firm-bristled brush along dry skin.
Young skin has a speedy cell turnover rate, needing little help regenerating. It is in our thirties, when our cells begin to slow, that we begin to benefit most from regenerative exfoliating treatments.
Anyone with keratosis pilaris may also benefit. If you notice a formation of rough bumps on your skin, most commonly found on the backs of arms and thighs, focus on those areas by applying gentle pressure in order to smoothen them out.
Where did it originate?
Called “Garshana” by practitioners of traditional Ayurvedic medicine, a form of Hindu medicine that has been around for 5,000 years, the practice of dry brushing is considered a dry massage that involves the use of natural silk gloves, a soft sponge, or a dry brush to encourage the release of accumulated toxins by stimulating the skin and lymphatic system and enhancing blood circulation.
Where is it practiced today?
“In Europe, dry brushing has long been a beneficial anti-aging treatment in spas because it keeps your skin firm and nourished, therefore looking younger. As we head into the summer, it should be an even more important step in your beauty routine.”
How is it done?
To start you need a natural bristled brush or a loofah. If it’s your first time dry brushing try a brush with soft bristles to avoid any irritation. Make sure the brush has natural bristles as synthetic bristles can scratch and cut the skin.
-Using firm but gentle pressure massage your skin in a circular motion always working towards the heart.
– Start from the soles of your feet, then ankles, and work your way up your legs starting from the outer leg moving upwards followed by the inner leg upwards. Make sure to focus on the back of the knees and inner thighs for increased stimulation of lymph nodes.
– Continue in a circular motion on the stomach, alternating from circular motions towards the heart and from the navel outwards. Brush your chest and neck upwards (avoiding sensitive areas).
– Brush your buttocks in a circular motion.
– Brush the ribs and the back starting from the waist upwards.
– Brush the arms in the same way as the legs, starting from the outside then inwards always working from the hands to the shoulders.
When should you do it?
Like Molly Simms, who shared her dry brushing routine in her blog, most people who dry brush recommend doing it in the tub, just before you shower.
“My favorite time to dry brush is in the morning, right before I shower. Your skin needs to be dry. I know it is hard to accept that there’s no splish splashing while wielding a brush that looks like it was created for bath time, but I promise you, it is worth the effort.”
The dry method of exfoliation stimulates the regeneration of skin cells with a higher level of friction than it would using a loofah or scrub in the shower, allowing for a more effective form of exfoliation.
Dry brushing should be incorporated into your beauty routine all year round, but is particularly effective during winter months, or after spending too much time in the sun, since it helps to slough off dry, flaky skin. Avoid dry brushing more than once a week, since overstimulation can cause “micro-cuts” which may lead to infection.
Beauty Tip: Try dry brushing before applying self-tanner; it will slough off dry, flaky skin, allowing for a much more even application.
When to avoid it?
Do not dry brush over cuts, sunburns, or skin conditions such as acne, eczema, open cuts, sores or rashes, as this can lead to irritation. Do not dry brush your face.
Once you are finished dry brushing you can relax and soak in a salt bath; this will release toxins from the body as well as soften and sooth the skin. If you’re in a hurry you can rinse off in the shower, alternating between warm and cold water to boost circulation. Once you are done pat the skin with a towel (make sure to leave the skin damp in order to retain moisture better) and apply a nourishing massage oil or body lotion.