Have you ever been handed a stiff-bristle brush at a spa? It arrives nestled atop your robe and slippers, and makes us all wonder: what in the world do I do with this?
The term “dry brushing” is nothing new, but to the common beauty consumer its purpose is still shrouded in mystery. In short: it is a method that involves taking a stiff-bristled brush and running it up the skin to exfoliate dead skin cells, encourage circulation, and promote lymphatic drainage.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of dry brushing face and body, how to achieve maximum results, and how not to do it!
4 Benefits of Dry Brushing Face and Body
#1: It’s a Mild Detox
The lymphatic system is the part of your body that helps to absorb and eliminate toxins expelled by your metabolism. When you dry brush your face and neck, you’re stimulating the lymphatic vessels, which in turn encourages them to flush these toxins out of the body – working as a mild detox.
#2: It Clears Pores and Promotes Nutrient Absorption
Have you ever had instances where no amount of moisturizer seemed to help your dry skin? This is likely because pores are likely clogged by sebum, which is excreted from the skin, broken skin cells, ingrown hairs, or external factors like dirt and pollution.
These forms of blockage are problematic not only because they can cause unwanted breakouts, but because they can interfere with absorption. This renders skin unresponsive to the benefits of moisturizing products that you apply topically. Dry brushing helps to slough off these forms of blockage, allowing your skin to breathe and accept outside support.
#3: It Invigorates the Nervous System
Not unlike the lymphatic system, the nervous system is crucial to keeping our bodies functional, and has a direct relationship with skin through the nerve endings. Dry brushing can stimulate and renew the nervous system, helping your body stay more alert and lively.
#4: It May Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite
Cellulite refers to the slight indentations and dimples that occur when a connective tissue called subcutaneous adipose tissue protrudes through the skin. This tissue is important because it stores fat and insulates the body. However, it also has a tendency to become engorged with toxins, causing the dimples known as cellulite.
As with the lymphatic tissue, continuously dry brushing limbs can help flush out toxins and reduce the appearance of cellulite over time.
The Dos and Don’ts of Dry Brushing
The act of dry brushing is one of the most gentle ways to exfoliate your skin. That being said, there are still some important guidelines to follow:
DO: Dry Brush Toward Your Heart
When dry brushing, the rule of thumb is to go toward your heart, since your chest area is where the lymphatic system drains – promoting an optimal detox. When dry brushing your body, use an upward motion on your legs, moving slightly inward; dry brush down on your arms, always going slightly inward.
DON’T: Dry Brush Your Face Every Day
While it’s safe to dry brush your body on a daily basis, the skin on your face is much more tender and sensitive. The face can suffer forms of skin damage like dermatitis, peeling, and flaking if exposed to daily exfoliation. Instead, opt to dry brush your delicate face one to two times a week.
DO: Opt for a Gentle Brush
When selecting a dry brush tool, it may be tempting to choose one with especially stiff bristles for a deeper exfoliation – but this is not advised! When in doubt, select something on the gentler side; a dry brush tool should be stimulating, but it shouldn’t be able to break or scratch the skin.
Additionally, the tool doesn’t have to necessarily be a brush: it can be a loofa, sponge, or whatever tool that provides gentle exfoliation. Keep an eye out for vegan and synthetic bristles, free of animal fur that can harbor bacteria.
DON’T: Use the Same Brush for Your Body on Your Face
As mentioned before, your facial skin is far more delicate than the skin on your body – so it makes sense that the levels of exfoliation varies for the two areas. Overall, your facial dry brush tool should be significantly more gentle than your body brush – there are also tools specifically made for dry brushing your face!
DO: Moisturize After Dry Brushing
Once you’ve treated your skin with this exfoliation, it’s imperative that you replenish moisture to your freshly-scrubbed skin. For this reason, many people swear by dry brushing after showering, as the warm water stimulates the skin, and then applying moisturizer after bathing.
PRO TIP: Always ensure that the skin of your face and is clean before dry brushing – opt for a gentle and hydrating facial cleanser that won’t strip the skin. Use a nourishing daily moisturizer after dry brushing the face, made with repairative plant oils and detoxifying herbs.>
DON’T: Dry Brush if Your Skin Damaged, Irritated, or Broken
It’s one thing to treat skin that’s dry; it’s another thing entirely to dry brush skin that’s cracked, scaly, or hypersensitive. If you find that your skin has been utterly ravaged by cold weather, apply nourishing salves or body butters regularly, allowing the skin to replenish itself before dry brushing.