Does Dry Brushing REALLY Work?
Updated: May 18
Dry brushing is a method of brushing your bare, dry skin with a natural brush. More than anything else, dry brushing helps to exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation has been practiced for hundreds of centuries by different cultures, including the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, East Indians, Native Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Turks, and Scandinavians. The fact that this ancient practice is starting to gain popularity again has been enough to catch my attention. I figure that if it didn't have any benefits, why would it still be around?
So, of course, I did more research, purchased my brush, and began dry brushing daily. The main benefits I have experienced are softer skin and increased energy. The increase in energy could be due to a couple of different factors, so let us take a look at the benefits of dry brushing.
Improves Skin Health
We have all heard that it’s not what’s on the outside that matters, but in the case of skin health, the outside is pretty important.
Our skin occupies about 18.5 square feet on our body and accounts for 16% of our total body weight. It is the largest organ in the human body, and it plays the extremely important role of protecting our insides. Our skin also helps us in regulating our body temperature, and can give us multiple signals as to what is going on inside our bodies.
Paying attention to skin health (besides just the skin on your face) is not something most people think about, and yet it is extremely important. Since the skin does a great job of regenerating itself every 28 days, eating whole foods and staying hydrated are two of the best things you can do for your skin. So why do you need to dry brush? You don't NEED to, but dry brushing does help your skin rid itself of the dead cells it sheds on a daily basis, which helps with detoxification and regeneration of the skin.
Personally, I have found that it leaves my skin feeling silky smooth, every day.
Increases Blood flow
Dry brushing stimulates circulation within the body. Specifically, it helps to circulate blood. Since blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, it is essential to ensure you have proper blood flow to all areas of your body in order to keep your whole body healthy. This can be easily seen when dry brushing. It is normal for your skin to get slightly pink or red temporarily. This is fresh blood rushing to the skin. When fresh blood floods an area of the body with nutrients and oxygen, you are more likely to feel energized. It is because of this concept that some people prefer to do it in the morning to help them wake up.
Personally, I do notice an increase in energy.
Improves Lymphatic Health
The lymphatic system helps our bodies maintain homeostasis through its 2 main functions of regulating fluid balance, optimizing the immune system, and eliminating toxins. While there are larger lymphatic vessels that are deeper within the body, the lymphatic system also has capillaries that extend outward throughout the body. It’s through these capillaries that dry brushing can help in enhancing the immune system as well. The thing that is important to note about the lymphatic system is that it does not circulate through the body via a pump (like the heart and blood). It uses a combination of hydrostatic pressure, general movement, and breathing to circulate throughout the body.
Dry brushing is another way we can ensure the lymphatic fluid is getting circulated properly in order to optimize the immune system. When you dry brush properly, it increases blood and fluid to the area which allows the toxins in your body to be easily absorbed by your lymphatic capillaries.
It is said that since dry brushing helps with improving the lymphatic system that it can help with cellulite. I was not able to find any studies to support this theory so take it for what its worth.
Note: Dry brushing is NOT for everyone
People with sensitive skin should always consult their doctor first, and proceed with care.
People with eczema and psoriasis should avoid dry brushing over any inflamed areas.
Never dry brushing over an open wound (ouch).
How to Dry Brush:
Start with purchasing a natural fiber brush with a long handle. Boar’s hair is recommended.
This brush was rated as a top choice for 2020, and it comes with a separate face brush. Always use a more gentle brush on your face than on your body.
Method of brushing:
Make sure your skin, and the brush, are completely dry.
Completely GENTLE circular motions with the brush over your skin that work towards the center of your body, or in the direction of where your lymph nodes are. The gentle part cannot be emphasized enough. If you brush too hard, you will not receive the full benefits. More is NOT better here.
Always start with your feet and legs and slowly work your way up your body, ending with your face.
Always shower, or at least rinse off, afterward to help remove the dead skin. Since dry brushing helps to open your pores, this would also be the best time to moisturize your skin.
Spend at least 5min doing this and practice ujjayi breathing throughout the process to enhance lymphatic flow.
At the end of the day, since there are rarely negative effects from dry brushing, researchers will likely never do studies on it. So we will likely never have solid scientific evidence of it's benefits. There are just a lot of various theories around it, based on how the human body works. Personally, I have noticed an improvement in the overall softness of my skin and in my energy levels. Besides that, it honestly just feels good in general. Like any aspect of health (or life), it is important to do your own research, try things, and gauge the effects for yourself.
If you give it a try, let me know what you think!