Dealing with dry skin that lotion can’t even fix? We’ve been there. Fortunately, there’s an ancient beauty technique that can prevent those stubborn dry patches along with providing several other benefits. Dry brushing has been around for thousands of years but only recently came back into the limelight thanks to social media.
Here’s everything you need to know about this ancient, natural, and somewhat controversial beauty hack.
What is dry brushing?
Dry brushing is a daily body massage with a dry, stiff-bristled brush. Many people like to do the massage right before a hot shower, but it can be done at any time of the day as long as you have five or ten minutes to spare.
There are countless claims about its benefits—many are proven to be true, while others we aren’t too sure about.
The act of dry brushing dates back to ancient India, over five millennia ago! A number of other ancient societies also used a similar technique in preparation for baths or cleansing rituals. Ancient India’s healthcare system, called Ayurveda, used the technique to stimulate circulation and blood flow.
Fast forward to 30 years ago—Finnish nutritionist and natural physician, Dr. Paavo Airola, brought dry brushing into the modern world, highlighting its positive effect on our digestion and organ systems. He also added in exfoliants like sand, sticks, and other earthy materials.
Whether you believe the hype or not, it’s stood the test of time thanks to its awesome benefits.
While there are many benefits to this awesome beauty hack, there are also a lot of myths about the practice.
One major myth is that dry brushing can get rid of cellulite. There’s no scientific evidence to support this claim, but some people may think this because it can temporarily plump up the appearance of skin due to increased blood circulation, filling in areas of cellulite.
But the good news is that cellulite is natural and beautiful! So keep rocking your shorts this summer and read on to learn about the real health benefits of dry brushing.
Dry brushing is a gentle way to exfoliate and get rid of dead skin cells, leaving your skin feeling baby smooth.
By exfoliating daily, you’re doing your skin a favor by speeding up the skin renewal process. As a result, your pores won’t get clogged up with dead skin cells, dirt, or body hair. You can say goodbye to breakouts and ingrown hairs!
Feeling stressed? Dry brushing daily can provide stress relief by stimulating your nervous system. Afterward, you’ll feel calm and relaxed as if you just got a professional massage.
Stimulate Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of unwanted materials like toxins or waste. When you’re sick, stressed, or not well-rested, the lymph nodes throughout your body will swell up. Dry brushing daily promotes lymph drainage and helps the body’s natural detoxification process.
The motions of dry brushing can massage the muscles and tendons right below the skin’s surface. This boosts circulation, resulting in glowing, rejuvenated skin.
As you can see, dry brushing is a very simple task that’s hugely effective. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get started.
Before beginning, you’ll want to find a brush that’s right for your skin type. When buying your dry brush, take into consideration the stiffness of the bristles, the length of the handle, and the material the bristles are made of. The best brush for you may be very different from the brushes your friends use.
Most people recommend a boar bristle brush for a medium stiffness level but, if you’re vegan, opt for a synthetic bristle brush. The handle is up to you—some people prefer a long handle for getting hard-to-reach spots, while others prefer a handheld brush.
It’s best to dry brush right before a shower, so make sure you’re prepped to shower and have a towel underneath you to catch the dry skin that will fall off. You’ll want to get totally nude so you can get every spot of your body and then hop right in the shower after you’re done!
Before you begin, make sure you know how much pressure to apply with every stroke. It should be a medium-pressure, long stroke that goes in the direction of your heart. Do each stroke a few times and make sure to overlap strokes so you don’t miss any spots.
You’ll always start at the bottom of your body moving upward towards your heart. When you get to your thighs, continue over your butt like it’s part of your leg and continue up your lower back. When you get to your stomach, many people prefer to do circular motions to help with digestion, but it’s up to you if you want to stick to long, straight strokes.
Once you’ve done everything below your heart, you’ll move up to your arms. Start at your hands and stroke inwards towards your heart. Make sure to be extra careful with your armpits, as this is a spot that has several lymph nodes.
Once you get up to your neck, chest, and jawline, you’ll want to be extra careful because the skin is more delicate. Since you’re above heart level, you should move downwards towards the heart. Start at the jawline, stroking down your neck and collarbone. To finish, go over your heart in a circular motion.
You should feel pretty relaxed after this! Go ahead and hop in the shower to wash off the dead skin cells. Since you just exfoliated, simply let the water rinse over you and use a gentle body wash without scrubbing.
While your skin is still damp from your shower, grab a hydrating moisturizer to seal in the moisture from your shower. Make sure the moisturizer you use is totally natural and has high-quality ingredients. After that, you’re all set to go about your day!
Remember, a beauty routine is nothing without repetition—make sure you’re dry brushing daily or at least a few times a week.
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