No, this isn’t about using dry shampoo on those days you can’t fit in a shower. Dry brushing is a technique of massaging the skin with a stiff, natural bristled brush. Though that may not sound like a relaxing massage, it has a number of benefits. The process of dry brushing has been around for centuries and in many different cultures. Beyond exfoliating the skin, dry brushing can help circulation, detoxify the body, and more. It has increased benefits to those with significant weight loss as well. It’s something you can do for your health that takes only a few minutes each day. In addition to using an infrared sauna, we recommend you dry brush every morning.
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link at the bottom to our favorite dry brush on Amazon.
How Do You Dry Brush?
You need two things, a natural bristled brush and your body. Easy! The brush should be stiff, but soft enough that it still feels gentle on your skin. The point of dry brushing is to feel better, so if your skin is red, irritated or if it hurts, that’s too rough!
As for the pattern or technique of dry brushing, it’s best to start at your feet. Brush in gentle strokes in a repetitive motion towards the heart. Use long strokes on your limbs and back. Use circular strokes on the chest, belly, and joints; this stimulates the lymphatic system. A general understanding of how the lymphatic system flows will help you perfect your dry brushing pattern.
The whole process should take somewhere around 10 minutes. Once you’re done you’ll want to shower or bathe to wash off the dry, dead skin cells you’ve just removed. Hey! That’s the first reason to dry brush right there. Check out all 10 reasons:
1. Removes layers of dead skin
The stiff-bristled brush used when you dry brush sloughs away layers of dead skin. When done correctly, it shouldn’t cause irritation. You can dry brush on a daily basis, ideally before a shower. This allows the dead skin to be washed away afterwards leaving the skin soft and clean.
2. Increases blood flow and energy
When you dry brush you move the brush in a circular motion along the skin. You start on the outward extremities, such as the feet and work towards your heart. Dry brush in long, fluid strokes that go with the natural circulation flow of your body. It stimulates the nervous system and is an overall stimulating experience that can feel invigorating to your body. Many people say they have too much energy if they dry brush before bed, which is why before a morning shower seems to be the preferred time.
3. Reduces or manages stress
I was surprised to learn of this benefit in my research. Some find the routine of daily dry brushing to be effective in managing their stress. It becomes a relaxing habit of self-care. By design it is a massage, and just like any other massage, it feels great. Many practice the technique at the start of their day because they gain increased energy. When you start your day by doing something for your health and wellness you set the tone for the day.
4. Boosts immune system
Your skin is the body’s largest organ, and it’s the first line of defense to for your immune system. Dry brushing helps your skin keep disease out. Removing dry skin cells and increasing blood flow both aid in detoxifying the skin so those impurities stay out. Proper dry brushing will also cleanse the lymphatic system which is an important part of your body’s immunity, more on that later.
5. Tightens the skin and reduces loose skin
I first heard about dry brushing from a friend who had experienced a significant amount of weight loss. She had the trademark loose skin primarily on her arms and stomach. She would dry brush daily to help tighten the skin and saw results. The theory is that using a dry brush removes dead skin and stimulates new healthy skin. It also helps to flush out toxins, which can be a greater problem for those with significant weight loss. So many toxins and chemicals are stored in our fat cells and when those fat cells disappear the toxins are released into the body.
6. Improves skin “glow” and may reduce cellulite
Dry brushing has gained some popularity recently because of the claims it reduces cellulite. Just as with tightening the skin, these claims are mostly supported with personal testimony rather than scientific research. Whether you see your cellulite improve depends on a lot of different factors including diet and genetics. Using a dry brush on your skin regularly will inevitably improve the appearance and feel of your skin. Even temporary plumping of the skin from the removal of dead skin and increased blood flow may reduce the appearance of cellulite or stretch marks.
7. Improves Keratosis Pilaris
I’ve had this skin condition for years and never even knew it was a “thing” until a coworker commented that she had the same thing. Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is characterized by small, hard bumps on the skin. They are usually light colored or red or pink and are otherwise harmless, but can be unsightly. It’s often referred to as “chicken skin” and is commonly on the upper arms and thighs. It’s caused by a buildup of keratin in the hair follicle. The exfoliation of dry brushing can greatly improve KP and some people have seen it disappear completely.
8. Detoxes the lymphatic system
Some of our lymph nodes lie just below the skin and they’re responsible for filtering lymph fluid that flows through them. Here in these lymph glands is where bacteria, viruses, and other unwelcome guests are trapped and then destroyed by white blood cells that travel thought the lymphatic system. Dry brushing helps this process work as it should and clears out the toxins that have built up. Dry brush massage is done with gentle strokes towards the heart to help lymphatic fluid flow. The results are an effective lymphatic system that dumps out the toxins.
9. Stimulates hormone and oil-producing glands
Just as with the lymph glands, dry brushing stimulate the hormone and oil-producing glands. Why is this a good thing? Glands, such as the thyroid, are responsible for producing several hormones and a normal thyroid is essential to good health. It effects nearly every vital bodily activity. Stimulating the oil-producing glands aids in more youthful looking skin. The oil is secreted by the sebaceous glands which coat the skin to prevent a loss of natural moisture.
10. Aids digestion and the kidneys
By correctly engaging the lymphatic system, you help it to move out the toxins and excess water or bloat. There are certain points in the body that are gland watersheds, or dumping sites. Brushing to stimulate these sites helps to dump out the toxins, creating less work for your digestive system and kidneys when they filter out the junk later down the line.
Would you like to start dry brushing? It’s easy. Here is a chart to show you what directions the stroke of your brush needs to have.
This is our favorite dry brush kit made of natural boar bristles that you can purchase on Amazon for just under $20. It comes with a dry brush for your face, a big dry brush for your body, dry brush gloves and a carrying case.
Dry brushing may be the best 10 minute investment you’ll ever see! Have you tried dry brushing yourself? Tell us what you love about it in the comments.