The Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing + How to Do it the Right Way

Dry skin brushing is one of the simplest and least expensive overall health and beauty treatments you can add to your daily routine. Here you’ll learn the benefits of dry brushing and how to do it properly.

dry skin brushing

Who knew that such an invigorating way to stay healthy could also be a shortcut to naturally gorgeous, glowing skin?

Your skin is a complex system made up of nerves, glands, and cell layers that, when healthy, serves as a buffer that helps protect your body from extreme temperatures and chemicals. It also produces antibacterial substances to protect you from infection and enables your body to produce vitamin D when exposed to the sun.

Related: How to Reduce Your Chemical Body Burden

Another crucial role your skin plays is detoxification. But if your skin is overrun with toxins or dead skin cells, it will not be able to eliminate wastes from your body efficiently. “When your lymphatic system is congested, you experience toxic accumulation,” explains Sahara Rose Ketabi in Ayurveda. “Seasonal shifts, pesticides in foods, sugar, GMOs (bioengineered food), and other factors increase toxins in your body, so it’s recommended that you detoxify regularly.”

What is Skin Brushing?

Dry brushing your skin is as simple as it sounds — you sweep a firm, bristled brush across your dry skin, from toe to head. It’s called “dry” brushing because you aren’t scrubbing up while bathing or showering.

It’s more of a self-care practice than a medical procedure. However, dermatologists agree that gently brushing the skin helps with exfoliation. The profession says it may also stimulate the body similarly to massage.

The Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing

“Dry brushing skin unclogs pores in the exfoliation process. It also helps detoxify your skin by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph flow/drainage,” says dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, MD. Also, by unclogging pores, it’s easier for the body to sweat and eliminate toxins in your system.

  • Exfoliates skin and promotes a healthy glow
  • Stimulates the lymphatic system to help release toxins
  • Increases and regulates circulation
  • May help improve kidney function and overall digestion
  • May help reduce the appearance of cellulite
  • Helps reduce stretch marks and tighten skin after pregnancy
  • Relieves stress

The liver filters toxins from the body, produces bile to help digest fats, and removes toxic bilirubin from the blood. By helping your body detox, you make the liver’s important job more efficient.

Why Draining the Lymphatic System is Important

The lymphatic system is twice as large as the circulatory system. While the heart is responsible for pumping and cleaning the circulatory system, your lymph has no built-in pump or cleaning mechanism.

Lymph only moves through exercise, massage, and diet. Our modern lifestyle is the reason it easily gets backlogged. When waste particles from the blood are too large to be eliminated by your liver, kidneys, or skin, they go into your lymphatic vessels. And when they can’t drain away the toxins, stagnation and illness can occur.

Dry brushing boosts lymphatic drainage by stimulating the vessels carrying lymph fluid underneath the skin, improving overall flow.

Jeanine Downie, MD is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in cosmetic dermatology, laser, and dermatologic surgery. She recommends dry brushing no more than one to two times per week to receive the benefits. 

Dry Skin Brushing Steps

This diagram from Wilding explains the direction you should follow when you dry brush. As a general rule, sweep towards the lymph nodes at the armpit and groin. 

dry skin brushing motion

Here’s how to brush your body to optimal health:

  1. Starting at your feet, perform several long strokes upward using firm yet gentle strokes. Then dry brush all sides of your legs, paying special attention to the backs of your thighs.
  2. Next brush your arms upward. Brush in long strokes, making sure not to press too hard. If you have rough, raised bumps on the backs of your arms, you can gently focus on those spots.
  3. Next move to your chest area and stomach. Most experts advise to avoid brushing the breasts or nipples. Use a lighter touch, as the torso areas are more sensitive. Practice several long strokes, always toward your heart.
  4. Work toward your back in a gentle circular motion. If you have a lot of accumulated dead skin cells on your lower back (as many of us do) this is another area to target.
  5. Extra tips:
    • Brush dry skin once a day (best before showering)
    • Avoid harsh exfoliation
    • Never brush areas of irritation or inflammation
    • Avoid dry brushing over an open wound (this can introduce bacteria or lead to infection)
    • Use a gentle body brush like this one from Wilding or skin brushing set with natural bristles
    • Shower after brushing
    • Moisturize with coconut oil or a gentle paraben free moisturizer after showering

Your lymph system drains via the chest area. To reduce cellulite and water retention, dedicate at least five minutes to brushing daily.

If you need a visual on how to brush your skin, check out this quick video.

Sensitive Skin Precautions

If you have sensitive skin or prior skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, etc., avoid this practice or proceed with caution. Aggressive skin brushing isn’t recommended for anyone, but sensitive skin should be treated even more carefully. And be watchful for any redness, itchiness, or discomfort.

Some women report needing to stop skin brushing during pregnancy or during the postpartum period. Detox baths can be a gentler option that offers many of the same benefits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *